HarBeco 07-09-96

Becoming a Coaching Leader

The Proven Strategy for Building a Team of Champions


Daniel Harkavy

Thomas Nelson, 2007, 210 pp., ISBN 0-7852-1982-X



Daniel Harkavy is the founder of Building Champions, an executive coaching company.  The core of success consists of a life plan, a business vision, a business plan, and priority management - in this order. 


You need the numbers but there is more to business than numbers.  To help your people develop, help them discover their vocational purpose.  All the significance they need can be found right where they are. The key is changing the way they think about their job.  Your role is to be a career and life improver for those you lead! (4-5) 


"Truly great leaders walk alongside their followers and help them to become more on this journey." (5)


"Coaching others intentionally is one of a leader's highest payoff activities." (16)


Our companies are filled with people suffering from breaking lives.  I need to acknowledge where they are.  "I need the kind of convictions that challenge them to take responsibility for what they can control.  And I need the courage to say, 'Okay, this is still what's required.  Can you do it?  And how can I help you to succeed?'" (22) 


"When we risk diving into our people's lives…, we partner with them in a way that enables them (and us) to make better life decisions."  "When this happens, they'll see that you have what I call heart.  And when they see that, they'll follow you just about anywhere." (22)


"Heart is the difference maker in great leaders.  You cannot be a great coach without heart." (22)  "Heart is the home to both convictions and courage; it is the fuel of all exceptional leaders." (23)


"The bottom line is that today's workforce wants to grow and succeed in all aspects of life.  Its members respond amazingly well to leaders who care and who have the ability to help them succeed in all aspects of their lives." (24)


Some important convictions: Tell the truth.  Serve others.  Be aware of time.  Appreciate talent. (25-6)


"One of the greatest benefits of being a coaching leader is that it forces me to improve my own disciplines and actions." (27)  "The level of character, care, and discipline they see in us will determine the level of coaching they will invite and accept from us." (28)


"Before we can help clients to succeed, we must first help them to clearly and succinctly define what success looks like for them." (33)


"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." (36)


"The way to enjoy success yourself is to focus on the success of those around you, by making their success your mission." (36)


Eight Core Competencies of a Coaching Leader (39-48)

1.      Discernment (the ability to see what is not visible and understand what is not being said.  To ask effective questions to get to the root of an issues)

2.      Conviction-Driven (In layers, they act as sieves sort opportunities)

3.      Accountability (How are you progressing on your promises?)

4.      Effective use of Systems (for follow-up and encouragement)

5.      Communication (including questioning and listening)

6.      Self-Discipline (not just at work)

7.      Vision-Orientation (including helping others see a vision for their lives)

8.      Leadership (helping people work together synergistically)


The foundation of the author's coaching strategy is the "Core Four" pattern. (54)

1.      Life Plan

2.      Business Vision

3.      Business Plan

4.      Priority Management


What drives you?  And what do you see in the future for your organization?  Your career is just one component of who you are.  To help you build a business, we must understand how your business life fits into your overall life.   "All members of your team should have a clear idea of what is most important to them in life and how they can achieve those things; that's where the Life Plan fits in." (53-5)


Life planning can help you avoid a life of regret.  You are going to be proactive or reactive and without a plan you are much more likely to get "off purpose." (59)


"In essence, life planning is nothing but a process of accumulating net worth in the most important accounts in your life." (60)  "Life planning is all about assessing where you are in life, identifying which accounts are most important to you, and then writing out a vision for each one." (61)  Use the tool at www.becomingacoachingleader.com


Ponder your vision of each important area in your life.  Note 3 -5 five key activities that will enable you to accrue net worth.  Set appointments with yourself to follo9w through.  Use your Life Plan to schedule your week.  Schedule your top priorities and your business around them. (63-66)


Daily review your Life Plan for 3 months.  Make is a living document within you. (67)  Recruit help for accountability.  Adjust it to make it doable.  Evaluate annually.  Share it with others and teach it. (67-70)


Your Business Vision: If You Can See It, You Can Build It (75)

Nail down your business vision.  Communicate it and use it as a strategic advantage.  Continued focus on the vision is the difference between mediocrity and excellence. (78) 


Visionary leaders make better decisions.  Because they have more clarity on where they are headed there is less confusion and more confidence. (79) 


"A solid Business Vision…dives deep into the heart.  It's both logical and emotional.  …people today want to belong to something special." (82) 


The three primary elements of vision are convictions, purpose, and a clearly envisioned future. (83) 


The author prefers "convictions" to "values."  Convictions represent a much higher level of commitment and intensity.  "Your convictions help to spell out who you are.  And when you bring yourself to the company, you bring your convictions along with you.  Over time, these convictions define the infrastructure and the framework of your company." (83)


"The clearer you are on what you and your organization stand for, the easier it will be for you to make good decisions." (84)


Purpose is sometimes called 'mission' or 'tip of the arrow.'  It states in a sentence or two why you exist.  (86) 


A vivid picture of the future for your team must inspire and entice your teammates.  Then you can help them connect their position or career to some greater meaning.  Figure out how your product or service connects to some larger contribution.  Dream what your business will look like in ten to twenty years. (87-8)


Vision is but 10%.  "The other 90 percent is in execution, and it must be directed by a business plan that aligns your highest priority near term deliverables with the big picture vision." (88) 


Is your vision exciting?  If it doesn't raise the hair on the back of your neck, it probably won't excite them either. (89)


Your Business Plan: To Execute, It Must Be Clear (99)

"While your Business Vision answers the questions 'what' and 'why,' your Business Plan weighs in on the 'how' and 'when.'" (102)  "Your Business Plan tells you how you're going to accomplish the goals you've set."  "Your plan is the execution part of your vision, outlining the specific tactics you'll use to achieve your overall strategy." 


The Business Plan has three primary characteristics:

·        It's simple.

·        It's measurable, and

·        It's meaningful.  (103)

"A good Business Plan tells you

·        What you will accomplish,

·        Where you need to make improvements or adjustments in order to reach your stated goals,

·        How you will behave in order to accomplish those goals, and

·        When designated aspects of the plan need to be completed." (103)


Put it in a one-page summary document.  (105)


"A good plan measures the most important something for your business….  All plans must identify a specific number that you plan to reach."  Keeping track of this key number allows you to change course in appropriate areas. (106)


A good Business Plan identifies and details, in this order,

·        Step One: The Outcomes (what you measure)

·        Step Two: The Disciplines (what you must do on a daily, weekly, and monthly basis), and

·        Step Three: The Improvements (the top projects most important to execute in the year ahead) (107-08)


Review your plan weekly.  Make decisions by it.  Organize time, resources, and schedules by it.  Use it for direction, for team development, and for tracking everything critical.  (109)


"What specifically is going to be done?

How is it going to be done?

When will it be done?" (112)

It's not the beauty of your plan but how well you follow it--Execution! (112)


Priority Management: How Do I Fit It All In?

Schedule your day.  Identify your high-payoff activities, "High-payoff activities are the things you do that bring the greatest value to your organization, team, or customer.  They are the three to five activities that lie in your 'sweet spot.'  You do them with excellence.  They are your unique disciplines or distinctive skills, abilities that distinguish you from other team members." (120-21) 


Time track your week.  Block times to focus on the high-payoff activities.  Plug into your schedule times for your key disciplines from your Life Plan the key disciplines from your Business Plan. (124) 


Put your daily routine into four buckets:

·        Growth (enlarging your business through prospecting, networking, interviewing, etc.),

·        In (Working in the business, i.e. administration),

·        On (Working on the business.  Step back and look at the big picture.  Improve efficiency, productivity, consider your Life Plan, etc.),

·        Off (time off)


Use your systems.  Maintain a margin.  Make your life count. (129-131)


Part III  How Will This Change You and Your Organization?


The Knowledge of a Coaching Leader: The Critical Content

Champion coaches keep learning so they can continually give to help others improve.  "You can give away only what you possess." (138)  "Effective leaders have and follow a self-development plan." (138)  Keep a learning journal with you at all time.  Write down key lessons learned or actions to take.  Do something regularly with the content.  (141)


"Coaching leaders…use performance review as an opportunity to provide helpful input and speak with specific direction into the lives of their team members." (144) 


The Skills of a Coaching Leader: The Necessary Abilities

"Questions have a power all their own, and the best way to show others that we care about them is to truly listen to what they say." (158)  "A coach attempts to draw out the meaning behind a team member's words…."  "Active listening is all about asking questions that cause the player to peel back the onion, to get to the heart of performance issues, or to reveal limiting beliefs." (158)


"Powerful questioning enables you to go from head to heart.  Habits chance only when convictions change or are clarified."  "They won't make a change until they have hurt enough, heard enough, or had enough--all heart-level experiences." (160)


Take a special interest in what motivates and inspires your team members. (160) 


"We coach most effectively when we do no more than 30 percent of the talking." (161)


"Learn to take good notes."  "Give clear, appropriate, and concise direction.  "The coach helps them develop a game plan so that they can see what's required for them to improve." (163)


Some people excel at vision, others in execution.  Therefore some need coaching to improve their vision and others to improve their execution through identifying specific steps and time frames. (164-65) 


Tell the truth and value accountability.  "Accountability is the friend of top performers." (169) 


Perspective is often a limiting factor.  Help them to see by telling stories and using word pictures.  (171) 


Stay on track.  Stay on time.  Good communication is essential.  (172-173)


The Disciplines of a Coaching Leader

"Everyone on your team watches you.  They really do!  They take note of all your actions, all your reactions, and all your behaviors."  "They mentally record what you identify as important, then watch to see if you live out your words."  "Most often, the most influential leaders are those who tirelessly live out their convictions."  "Your regular disciplines are the outward manifestation of your true convictions." (178)


Create your "Gap List," the knowledge, skills, and disciplines you must develop. Then focus on these areas and strengthen them. (179-80) 


"If you truly want to have the most influence possible over your team, you cannot overlook any aspect of who you are." (182)


"The best coaching leaders encourage in advance, consistently follow up, then celebrate noteworthy accomplishments with their team members." (185)  "…follow-up is the difference maker in building a team of champions."  "So discipline yourself to follow up.  It's crucial for your success as a coaching leader." (186)


"If your teammates know that you genuinely care about them (and not just about increasing revenue or meeting quotas), they will respond in amazing ways." (187) 




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