[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.
- 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.