Book Review for…
Becoming A Coaching Leader by Daniel Harkavy
(This is actually an older post, but in the spirit of my new feature on book reviews, I’m “reprinting” it.)
Title: The Fuel of Great Leaders
For Harkavy, the fuel of great leaders is the combination of convictions and courage.
Harkavy points out that the desire to help other people is a fundamental conviction that energizes coaching leaders. He asks, “…do you believe that you have something of significant value to offer your key team members?” He assumes that someone reading his book will answer yes. Thus, he says, “This primary conviction, the commitment to help others improve, usually gets strengthened by a few other important convictions.”
He then briefly hits on what these important convictions are. A coaching leader will…
- Tell the truth
- Serve others
- Be aware of time
- Appreciate talent (side note – Harkavy says that “One of the greatest benefits of being a coaching leader is that if forces [him] to improve [his] own disciplines and actions)
Here are a few questions that some coaching leaders he knows ask their employees…
- If you were to die today, what would be said about you?
- What accounts in your life are most important to you?
- What vision do you have for each one of those accounts?
- Who do you want to become?
- What do you want to experience?
- What are the three to five things you need to do in each of those areas so that you can accumulate net worth in all areas of your life?
The point is this: a coaching leader cares for more than just the business-side of the clock. A coaching leader cares about the people in his or her life –whether at work, home, etc. Therefore, “They want to help their team members succeed in all of life, including after 5:00p.m.”
I preached a sermon last year that highlighted some of my spiritual mentors and how important they were in my life. Harkavy helpfully makes a similar point to his readers by asking…
- Who has made the most significant impact in your life? Why?
- What did this person teach you or share with you?
He follows up by saying that, “Chances are, you are thinking of an individual who really cared for you, someone willing to take a risk and invest in you.”
He then makes this important point as a way of summing up the chapter…
“Do you want to know something? Your offices are filled with people who would love for you to be just that person.”
I was speaking with Len Sykes (who works with Ken Boa) a couple of years ago and he mentioned to me almost the very same thing and it has really stuck with me. He said that men don’t have other men who will really listen to them, without an agenda. He also said that men just don’t have another man who will come along and speak honestly into their lives. That’s really true. I’ve experienced that.
I think what is easy to miss in our culture is the veneer that people hide behind so that others won’t know how badly they’re hurting. Building relationships and trust with others is such an essential step in the process of investing your life into the life of another. It requires keen listening (a point that Harkavy will make in a later chapter). It also involves asking good questions. I’ll deal later with those two points in the order that Harkavy unpacks them.
Another good chapter. I enjoyed it because I resonated with his description of what undergirds and motivates a coaching leader. While I fall short of the qualities he outlines, it’s still a goal that I strive for.