Book Review: Becoming A Coaching Leader, Part 3

Book Review for
Becoming A Coaching Leader by Daniel Harkavy
Chapter Three

(This is actually an older post, but in the spirit of my new feature on book reviews, I’m “reprinting” it.)

Title: What Is a Coach?

Here’s a description of what a coach is and does…

A coach helps others win by helping them to discover the knowledge, strategies, Action Plans, inspiration, and accountability they need to excel and to reach even greater levels of success.”

Harkavy then provides these bullet points of a good coaching leader. A good coaching leader…

  • Is always improving,
  • Sees who his people can become,
  • Is an improver,
  • Helps his players move from point A to point B,
  • Never accepts the status quo,
  • Is succinct, and truthful,
  • Identifies gaps and gifts, inspires, and
  • Sees the big picture and clarifies the steps necessary for success.

I really love page 36. It was loaded with key ideas, such as…

The mission of a coaching leader is to meet his teammates where they are in order to move them forward by helping them to improve the skills, disciplines, and knowledge they need to succeed. He does this by helping his teammates to clearly see the right action steps to take, and then by holding them accountable as they complete each step.”

A good coach becomes skillful in asking questions that will enable the teammate to gain more clarity on how he or she wants to improve the various aspects of his or her professional and personal life. Your purpose is to help your people improve.”

Help them to figure out how to win both in their career and in life, and you will enjoy both success and significance.”

After briefly (very briefly) describing what a counselor, teacher, trainer, consultant, and mentor are, he offers the following definition of a coach…

A coach helps others to assess their situation and then improve their skills, disciplines, and knowledge so that they can make the necessary big picture changes (usually head and heart changes). This enables the teammates to align their steps and behaviors in order to accomplish and be more.

A coach helps them make additional changes that will enable them to benefit even more from they have learned already. And then, through a one-on-one relationship, the coach will ask the right questions and clarify and recall their convictions. This, in turn, will assist them to change their habits so that they can become even more successful and purposeful.”

I love this stuff. It really does get me up in the morning. One of the things that I’ve been trying to think through is what exactly do you call someone who disciples, teaches, mentors, coaches, develops leadership, counsels, and spiritually directs others?

Harkavy mentions at the end of this section that, “Each of these roles – counselor, teacher, trainer, consultant, mentor, coach – is unique, and good coach needs to have some skill in each area.” And I think that’s exactly right. I’ve seen the importance of that in my own ministry. In fact, I think a good teacher needs to have skills in the other areas… as does each area of ministry need to have skills in each of the other areas.

What are the core competencies of a good coach? Harkavy lists eight of them. I won’t go into detail, but here’s his list…

  1. Discernment
  2. Conviction-Driven
  3. Accountability
  4. Uses Systems Effectively
  5. Communication
  6. Self-Discipline
  7. Vision-Oriented
  8. Leadership

This was a great chapter and I wish I could go into detail regarding each one of the competencies. But instead, I encourage you go buy the book and learn about them yourself.

What’s humbling, and a bit overwhelming, about learning a new discipline or skill is the realization of how little I know about it. I feel as though I’m at the bottom of a large mountain looking straight up. And it’s intimidating to be sure. But it’s really, really exciting. As the old saying goes, (to change metaphors) “How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.”

Onward and Upward,


One thought on “Book Review: Becoming A Coaching Leader, Part 3

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