Becoming a Coaching Leader

Summary Written by Jennifer Fitzgerald Hansen
"The way to enjoy success yourself is to focus on the success of those around you, by making THEIR success YOUR mission. Help them to figure out how to win both in their career and in life, and you will enjoy both success and significance."

- Becoming a Coaching Leader, page 36

The Big Idea

The Tools In Your Coaching Tool Box: A Blueprint

"A Coach comes in and helps them to see even more possibilities ... helps them make additional changes that will enable them to benefit even more ... ask the right questions and clarify and recall their conviction ... [which] will assist them to change their habits so that they can become even more successful and purposeful."- Becoming a Coaching Leader, page 39

Harkavy sees the role of a coach as being a combination of multiple roles, each with different abilities and strengths. The ‘coach’ is not just resigned to a singular skillset of counselor or teacher or trainer or consultant or mentor or coach. Instead, he believes the skills enjoyed by each of these roles needs to be encompassed within a great coach. Sometime you are one, sometimes you are another, so it is important to have all the skills necessary to support and grow your clients or team members.

So, what makes a GREAT coach? According to Harkavy, great coaches have mastered the following eight core competencies:

  1. Discernment – “the ability to see what is not visible, to understand what is not being said.”
  2. Conviction driven – great coaches have deep convictions about the way things should be done.
  3. Accountability – which enables a coach to provide the necessary follow-up and encouragement in order to help people achieve what they want to accomplish.
  4. Uses systems effectively – tracking is essential in coaching, so having the ‘right’ system for accountability, for note taking, for follow up, for encouragement is imperative.
  5. Communication – the ability to listen, to question and to envision and then to communicate in a clear, concise way to the client what needs to be done.
  6. Self-discipline – consistency in the coach’s behaviour as well as the client’s is imperative in order for the client to succeed. “Our convictions drive our disciplines.”
  7. Vision oriented – the coach needs to have the ability to see what a client can become as well as the qualities, abilities and experiences that will enable success.
  8. Leadership – for Harkavy, great coaches are great leaders. People must be willing to follow you to be successful.

When Harkavy contrasts good coaches and great coaches, it all comes down to great coaches providing opportunity for what can be and leading people “boldly and positively into the future.” I loved his idea to coach with passion in order to have more successes!

Insight #1

The Coaching Leader's Most Valuable Tool: Your Life Plan

"While some good undoubtedly comes from goal setting, I much prefer life planning. When you choose life planning, you understand that every decision you make will enable you to either increase or decrease your net worth – not in dollars and cents alone, but in every part of your existence."- Becoming a Coaching Leader, page 58

This idea differed the most from other coaching books I have read. Here Harkavy speaks to the need to assess where you are in life right now and what are the most important aspects. He then has you write a vision for each area along with strategies to increase “your net worth in each area”. These areas may include your life with your partner, your children, and your health – whatever matters to you. Harkavy suggests you spend a minimum of eight hours doing this particular exercise. This is to be done without anyone else around, not while you are answering emails or drafting proposals. This is solid ‘thought’ time. He has walked away from business clients who didn’t want to start here and instead wanted to dive into the ‘business’ planning side of things.

After completing your life plan, you start to schedule time to follow through on the strategies you have identified to help you with each aspect of your life. You are to use your life plan to form the bones of next week’s schedule [see insight #2]. And this life plan is not a secret – share it with those around you, for both support as well as affirmation of what is important to you.

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Insight #2

Schedule Your Day ... or They Will

"If you don't identify your top priorities and schedule your day around them, at the end of the day you'll always find yourself using leftover space to cram in what you consider important. And you know the worst thing? That's usually exhaustion time."- Becoming a Coaching Leader, page 118

This partly relates to insight #1. As a coach, once you have identified the important parts of your life—and that does include the work aspect—set up your day for success. One of Harkavy’s suggestions is to know your hourly wage; are you working on something that should be done by someone in your pay scale or should it be passed on to someone else while you work on more important work? People will put lots of demands on your time; you need to decide which things require your attention.

Harkavy quotes the legendary coach of the Dallas Cowboys, Tom Landry, who once said, “A coach is someone who tells you what you don’t want to hear and has you see what you don’t want to see, so that you can be who you’ve always known you could be.”

Read the book

Get Becoming a Coaching Leader on Amazon.

Daniel Harkavy

Daniel Harkavy is founder of Building Champions, an executive coaching company with more than ten years of experience. As CEO and Head Coach, Daniel leads the Building Champions team while also coaching a select group of high-profile executives and leadership authorities. His team has successfully coached thousands of top executives, managers, and producers to improve their professional and personal lives.

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