The Coach Approach: How to Be an Inspiring Leader

The Coach Approach“People cannot be managed. Inventories can be managed, but people must be led.” This quote is attributed to H. Ross Perot, founder of Electronic Data Systems and Perot Systems. Successful organizations and companies require inspiring leadership. Let’s take a look at the “coach approach” to leadership.

Leadership is a relationship between leaders and their employees. In a research survey conducted by James M. Kouzes and Barry Z. Posner for their book, “The Leadership Challenge,” the authors identified the characteristics that employees wanted in their leaders most often. Employees wanted leaders who are:

  1. Honest
  2. Competent
  3. Forward-looking
  4. Inspiring
  5. Intelligent

Did these make your list?

Successful companies need good management and leadership. One is not usually a substitute for the other. A coaching leader is a skilled people manager because he or she realizes that people are the most important asset a company can have. Walt Disney is quoted as saying, “Disney’s most important asset goes home every night.”

If you are a manager, consider these suggestions to increase your leadership quotient:

  • Surround yourself with people different from yourself. If you only see the big picture, you will need some detail people on your team to ensure that important tasks don’t fall through the cracks. There is strength in diversity of skills and experiences.
  • Create an environment that makes it easy for people to tell you the truth. When you are the leader, ignorance is not bliss! Your employees are closer to the front line with your customers and usually know what is and isn’t working. Ask them for their suggestions and listen to what they have to say.

Striving to be a coaching leader is critical to your leadership success. Don’t be afraid to challenge the status quo of top-down management. Make the choice to be a leader.

The pace of the business world has increased, and we often think we don’t have the time to focus on the people instead of the many urgent situations that demand our attention. That is the perfect time to realize that people are the reason that they call us leaders. No successful leader becomes successful alone. Those who use the “coach approach” to leadership reap the benefits of creating a legacy of leaders who keep the company strong for now and the future.


Change: Same Song, Second Verse

“One of the great liabilities of history is that all too many people fail to remain awake through great periods of social change.  Every society has its protectors of status quo and its fraternities of the indifferent who are notorious for sleeping through revolutions.  Today, our very survival depends on our ability to stay awake, to adjust to new ideas, to remain vigilant and to face the challenge of change.”  Martin Luther King Jr.



Change your thinking, change your choices, change your life. There is that word again – CHANGE. It is always there or just around the corner.  I am returning to the topic of change because it is ever present. It is a consistent topic of conversation with friends, colleagues, clients and even casual acquaintances.


Deciding what needs to change may be the first order of business. Everything starts with the way we think.

I have two questions for you:

  1. How has the way you think impacted your life?

  2. Do you make time to think?

George Bernard Shaw said, “Few people think more than two or three times a year. I have made an international reputation for myself by thinking once or twice a week.” Thomas Watson Sr., the founder of IBM, used the word THINK as a one-word slogan when his company was growing.  If he could get all of his employees to think about ways to improve the company and its products, he thought that was the key to innovation and business success.

Disciplined thinking can work for you if you want to make changes to generate more intentional choices in your life.

How does thinking play a part in your life?

ME, Incorporated (How to Promote Your Brand)

PictureOf3BusinessProfessionalsFor many, the new year season is a time for reflection. Whether this has been a challenging year or a glorious one, take stock of where you are and determine where you want to go.  Companies do this in their annual budgets and planning processes.  You can use that same type of assessment by viewing yourself as the CEO and the chief stockholder in your own company. In your company, you are the “every thing.” So, let’s call your company “Me, Incorporated.”

Terri Lonier, CEO of Working Solo, Inc., was quoted as saying, “In the future “the not-too-distant future” only two groups of people will be in the world of work: entrepreneurs and those who think like entrepreneurs.” The work world has changed, and we must change with it. We must embrace the fact that we are all one-person companies and understand that we are the CEO, the director of marketing, the finance manager and the employee of Me, Inc. Let’s take a closer look at what that might mean to our lives and careers.

If you are an entrepreneur, or you just think like one, before you open Me, Inc., you would conduct a market analysis to ensure that your product, YOU, is competitive in the marketplace.

What company’s name comes to mind if I say, “JUST DO IT?” What name springs to mind if I ask, “Which company has the golden arches?” Why do you know these companies by a simple phrase? You recognize their BRAND.

Me, Inc. has a brand, too. What is yours?

When people hear your name, what do they think of first? Ask yourself that question to start creating the brand that is you! You can build your brand and awareness of your brand in the career marketplace. Learn how to BE the BRAND, the LEADER you want to see.

When Scott Bedbury was senior vice president of Starbucks, he defined eight brand-building principles. Over the new few posts, I am sharing them, along with my comments, to assist you in enhancing or building your personal brand.

I’d love to hear from you. What makes your brand famous?