Leadership Lessons

Leadership Lessons from a Strength Coach


Parallels are often made between coaching a sports team and leading within organizations and there are great approaches that can be borrowed. In his book Never Let Go, strength coach Dan John says, "I've spent the best part of the last three decades asking coaches from every discipline this question: What are the three keys to winning in your sport? I have yet to find a coach who can't name the three. Coach after coach after coach has had a clear vision of what it takes to win. Then I ask two follow-up questions: 1. Do your athletes know this? 2. Do you practice these every day?"

That makes sense when it comes to sports, so let's apply that to leadership. Think of a position you supervise. What are the three most important actions or duties required for a person to be successful in that role? (NOTE: there are probably more than three, but focus on the absolute must haves for success.)

Now the tougher questions: 1. Does the person in the role know those three things you are measuring their success against? (Not have you told them, but do they know it.) 2. Do you, as a leader, provide frequent and ongoing feedback, coaching, and support to help them master those three things?

How you answer those questions is a quick indicator of what you do well as a leader and where you can get even better.


Each month, the HR Center for Learning and Leadership spotlights an excerpt from a leadership publication.

Recommendations for future leadership lessons may be submitted to askHR@baylor.edu.