Book Review for…
Becoming A Coaching Leader by Daniel Harkavy
Introduction and Chapter One
(This is actually an older post, but in the spirit of my new feature on book reviews, I’m “reprinting” it.)
A few years ago I became interested in the discipline or ministry of “Coaching,” probably because I felt it was something I had been doing (or trying to do) throughout my ministry. I figured that educating and equipping myself in another aspect (or from another angle) of something I was already doing could only add value to my life and ministry… and by extension… to the lives of those entrusted to my care.
The very first line in the Introduction to Becoming A Coaching Leader by Daniel Harkavy confirmed that I had chosen wisely regarding my most recent read on the subject. (Or… that God was very gracious in directing my hand in the choosing of it. Don’t want to steal his glory.)
Harkavy’s first words are these…
“You want to make a greater difference in the lives of those you lead and experience more success and significance as you do so.”
To that I can only give a hearty, “Amen.”
Chapter One begins by asking, “What is your vocational purpose?”.
That’s a question that I think about often. Yet I can’t sever it from my deepest purpose in life, which is to please, honor, and glorify God and to grow in the grace and knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ. My other sub-purposes in life flow out of that over-arching purpose.
While the book seems primarily addressed to leaders in the business field, many of the principles that Harkavy deals with apply to my life as a minister of discipleship. Throughout the book I sought to (and sometimes really labored to) make connections between what Harkavy was describing about an office setting and what I’m attempting to do in a church setting with folks who don’t work for me.
I really resonated with a couple of quotes on pages 4 and 5…
“Your purpose as a coaching leader is to add the most value to the people you lead and to help them improve.”
“Leaders are called to develop people. Their passion for people drives everything – and few things in life feel sweeter than investing in the lives of others and then watching them grow and succeed as a result of your efforts.” Greg Harkavy
Amen to both statements.
I first heard the phrase, “add value to,” in the context of pouring your life into another person (or persons) from John Maxwell. It has always stuck with me because, at the end of the day, I want to add value to the lives of others for the sake of Christ and his Kingdom. I want others to experience the abundant and eternal life of those who know Christ and who are seeking to please him, honor him, glorify him, love him more, know him better, and become more like him in every sphere of their lives. This book offered some great ways to help me grow in my ability to add that value in the lives of others (as well as my own life).
One of the penetrating questions Harkavy asks on page 11 is one that I’m wrestling to answer: “What is your plan to develop your team?”
For me, the paraphrase of that question is this: What is my plan to disciple, shepherd, educate, equip, encourage, enrich, nurture, lead, coach, mentor, etc., the folks of my church family (and perhaps beyond)? Do I have a plan? How intentional am I being? How strategic am I? Are minds being renewed, hearts changed, and lives transformed as I minister to those entrusted to my care? That’s my great calling and passion. Is it happening? How can I do better? Tough questions… but ones that need answers.
In that respect, Harkavy and I are on the same page. He writes,
“…coaching is not merely ‘another thing’ for me; it’s the chosen focus of my life. I love adding value to leaders and showing them how they can do the same for the members of their own teams.” (p. 15)
I’ll try to draw more from this book by taking a look at Chapter Two on another day.
UPDATE – Michael Hyatt just resposted (8-25-09) his article on developing a Life Plan, which is an idea based on the book, Becoming A Coaching Leader. A very fine article and well worth your time.
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