Good Habits #43:  Be a Coach

By | December 13, 2019

[December 13, 2019]  The purpose of a coach is to provide a vision, to cheer lead, to guide, to push, and to teach us what is essential.  A coach’s job is to motivate people beyond the ordinary and to make them better.  For a leader, it is of the utmost importance that we also coach others to be successful in our organizations and life.

“I think that we have opportunities all around us – sometimes we just don’t recognize them.” – Lou Holtz, legendary college football coach

I know of no senior leader anywhere, in any society or at any time in recorded history, that got there without being coached.  One of the most respected leaders that I ever knew in person was U.S. Army General (retired), Ray Odierno. 1  I learned more about duty, honor, country than I thought possible.  He was able to help me be a better Army Engineer (he was Infantry) and for that, I am forever thankful.

A coach also helps you “see” things you would typically see.  They open the world for us.  Only through the adoption of such a leadership philosophy can any person become more than they can imagine.  This philosophy concludes that is why a leader must be a coach every day.  The skill of coaching is easily lost, and the impact diminished if not used regularly.

I see coaching going on every single day when I look at successful organizations and those who serve in them.  From the Boy Scouts of America, the Veterans Administration, local High School sports teams, etc., they all have something in common.  They have leaders who are willing to do the hard work of coaching.

The best coach is the one who has a real interest in others.  I wrote about his earlier when discussing real leadership.  Real leaders show gratitude, create goodwill, and don’t blame their failures on others. Authentic leaders who take on the coaching role will get their hands dirty and never complain.  That is why we value coaches.


  1. General Odierno retired as the Chief of the Staff of the Army, the second-highest position a soldier in uniform can have in the United States. Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff is the highest senior position.
Author: Douglas R. Satterfield

Hello. I'm Doug and I provide at least one article everyday on some leadership topic. I welcome comments and also guests who would like to write an article. Thanks for reading my blog.

20 thoughts on “Good Habits #43:  Be a Coach

  1. Roger Yellowmule

    Be kind, be a coach. The long-term impact will be for a lifetime.

  2. Dennis Mathes

    All my life since being an adult, I have coached employees on how to perform better and life a happy life. That meant to much to them, that they keep coming back to me to say thanks. While I don’t do it for the recognition, it is nevertheless pleasant to know that I made a difference. And, I have no regrets in life because I’ve helped so many people achieve their dreams.

    1. Danny Burkholder

      Excellent story, Dennis. If only we all did this, what a better world it would be. Coaching makes a difference!

  3. Janna Faulkner

    I coach a girls’ soccer team and work closely with the parents. It is difficult because of my work but I make the time and give those girls a little bit more than just how to kick the soccer ball around the field. I teach sportsmanship and all about honor and integrity. That is why the girls keep coming back. They don’t have to win every game to feel great about their team’s achievements.

    1. Crazy Dude

      Thank you for your coaching, Janna. We’re all behind you on this one.

      1. Linux Man

        Hey, crazy dude …. great to see you back in the comments forum.

    2. Deplorable John

      And this occurs not just in ‘flyover country’.

  4. Valkerie

    Wow, being new here at this leadership blog by General Satterfield, I didn’t realize there is a long-running series on “Good Habits” for leaders. I’ll be going back and reading more of them. I guess that I can just search in the search feature. Thanks all and especially to General Satterfield for laying this all out for us.

    1. apache2

      Same here, V! I didn’t know either. Already went back and read a few. Great stuff here.

  5. KenFBrown

    Whether you are a coach of a pee-wee league baseball team for young kids or a coach for a US Marine battalion, you are being a real leader. We need coaching – all of us regardless of our strengths – and that is something that makes us better. It shows we care and are willing to give to others.

  6. Tom Bushmaster

    I like coach Lou Holtz. He was indeed a legendary college football coach. Some people say that anybody can be a football coach (or any kind of coach for that matter). Their reasoning is that some people are simply not given the chance due to “discrimination” and other “isms”. Well, they are simply wrong in their outlook. When you peer at the world thru a set of rose-colored glasses, you are going to see the world in rose overtones. Just like the socialist-wannabes in the West who are our “moral superiors” they represent a dangerous movement that is based on fiction.

    1. Yusaf from Texas

      Right Tom! That ‘fiction’ is Marxism. So let’s be clear about that. This is their way of ignoring the millions who were killed under the socialist banner.

      1. Douglas R. Satterfield Post author

        Yusaf, you are correct on this point and I’ll emphasize it for us here. Socialism is a system that looks good on the outside but is malevolent on the inside. It brings out the worst in people.

    2. Otto Z. Zuckermann

      The fact that these socialists (who don’t really know what it is – another story altogether) feel they are superior to us is a very dangerous fact that must eventually be confronted. Better to confront it upfront in debates in the public than on the battlefield.

  7. Army Captain

    It is an unwritten rule in the US Army that we coach our soldiers. Those leaders who do not, will be recognized as such and not promoted.

    1. Harry Donner

      I’m glad to hear that there is such a big push by the U.S. Army to coach those in the ranks. Without such coaching – ethical and technical – I don’t see how many could do well at their jobs.

    2. Ronny Fisher

      One good thing I have always believed in was the the US military has a number of processes and habits that go a long way toward making it one of the best institutions in the world. There are folks who will say bad things about the military but they are also ones who have never been there are are just dumb-asses (so don’t listen to them).

      1. JT Patterson

        Made me laugh, Ronny. Hey thanks for a great comment.

      2. Eric Coda

        Yes Ronny, you are just full of good cheer and humor today. Thanks for being on top of things also.

  8. Len Jakosky

    I have also discovered, over a long period of time, that if you do not have a good coach in your life – along the way – you will NOT be as successful. Period!

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