Date of Award

Spring 11-2015

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)



First Advisor

Dr. Graham Weir

Second Advisor

Dr. Lynda Leavitt

Third Advisor

Dr. John Long


The purpose of this study was to investigate the similarities and dissimilarities of leadership traits that create leader buy-in for an educational leader and a football coach; specifically, emotional intelligence, communication style, job competency, vision, and ethics, between an educational leader and a sports coach. The rationale of this study was to create recent literature that provided insight for leaders in multiple areas on how to transfer leadership skills to establish common goals and missions within their organizations. Data was collected using a survey completed by 154 volunteer participants, along with interviews of 12 volunteer participants. A focus group of four volunteer participants was completed as well. The researcher also interviewed the leaders themselves to gain their own perspective of their leadership characteristics and ability to achieve constituent buy-in. The survey results indicated at least 87%, and in many cases, over 90%, of constituents either strongly agree or mildly agree that his or her leader maintained control of his emotions (emotional intelligence), had an accurate understanding of his own strengths and weaknesses (emotional intelligence), communicated effectively (communication style), understood the skills and responsibilities needed to do his job effectively (job competency), understood the follower’s responsibilities and role within the organization (job competency), successfully communicated the vision of the organization (vision), and displayed ethical behavior (ethics) throughout the course of his job. The interviews and focus group provided anecdotes and personal testimony to support the results of the survey. ii The most prevailing themes that emerged from the data related to creating constituent buy-in fell under Emotional Intelligence; specifically, relationship building and making a personal connection. To that end, participants in both groups stated that the leader made them feel ‘valuable,’ ‘important,’’ ‘truly knew’ them and ‘cared about them’ as much in a personal way, if not more than in a professional way. Participants indicated the leaders were also good in the other four areas as well. Statements made regarding their communication style were ‘inspiring’ and ‘clear’ while data from participant responses about job competency were ‘a good coach’ and an ‘ability to make tough decisions.’ Responses about vision were consistent in both groups in that a larger percentage of participants noted they could ‘see” the direction the organization was going because of how the leader described it and they wanted to be a part of fulfilling it. Both leaders rated high in ethics as well.


Copyright 2015