The Bookworm Part XVI by Ben J. Pritchett
Way back in 1999, Scott Adams released a collection of his famous Dilbert comic strips in a book called Don’t Step in the Leadership. I don’t think any of us have any delusions as to what that play on words was all about.
That’s A Joke
It reminds me of an old political joke about a Western leader who was recruited to speak at a political rally in the wilds of Africa. The villagers all gathered around to hear this fellow pontificate.
The more he spoke, the more worked up the crowd became. After every point he made, the crowd would scream “bolusha” (or something like that, feel free to make up any word you feel like – it is a joke after all).
The more they yelled, the more outrageous his promises became. After working the crowd into frenzy and receiving thunderous applause and continued chants of “bolusha,” he left the stage. He was quite proud of his performance and convinced that he’d significantly improved the lives of all who came to hear him speak.
As he and his translator were walking towards the Jeep to take him back to civilization, they passed a pasture full of cows … his translator turned to him and said: “Be careful not to step in the bolusha!”
Obviously, that’s a joke, and it can be a pretty funny one depending upon your audience and choice of political leader to name in it. Leadership, however, is not a joke, but it can be elusive.
As business coaches, we are required to lead and inspire our clients. Likewise, our clients are expected to lead and inspire their team, but they may not know how – we may have to teach them.
So, if we’re expected to lead and show others how to lead, we might need a primer ourselves …
by Daniel Harkavy
I came across this book several years ago and quite liked it. I was at a bit of a crossroads in my career where I found myself managing a rapidly growing company with employees (I make no claims of being a manager). I was also transitioning myself from a consulting model where I did the work to a coaching model where I guided the clients to do the tasks.
This book is aimed at showing you how to be a coach within an organization, more so than as an outside coach. As I’ve noted in a previous article, the line between coaching and consulting can blur, and when you’re interacting with owners as well as their key people, the line between being in the company and being outside of it can also blur.
Long story short on this one, if you coach companies with staff and teams, rather than solopreneurs, or have a team of your own, this book will give you some great insights into how to deal with many situations while maintaining a leadership position.
by Henry & Karen Kimsey-House
The authors are the founders of The Coaches Training Institute, and they are also co-authors of the book Co-Active Coaching, which would certainly seem to indicate that they see the strong link between these two skillsets as well.
The driving principle in this book is that top-down leadership simply doesn’t work any longer. For too long, leadership has meant the top person sets the direction, and everybody below has to follow. This doesn’t work any longer (if it ever did outside of a hierarchal structure like the military).
The authors explore a model where all of the talents within an organization can be used to grow and lead that organization. Ultimately, the organization begins to rely on the power of many styles and knowledge rather than one.
They describe a five-dimensional approach to leadership that includes leading from the front, behind, beside, within and in the field. It’s about teams and groups creating a leadership structure that utilizes everybody’s skills while creating a team effort.
For coaches working in larger organizations, this could certainly be a model for a successful and long-term coaching engagement with full participation and involvement from all stakeholders.
by Seth Godin
Over the years, I have read many of Godin’s books, starting with The Bootstrapper’s Bible over twenty years ago. I find his books to be “hit or miss” … sometimes right on the money, sometimes a little vague.
I recently joined a business book reading group and Tribes is our first book. It’s a quick short read that I managed to get through entirely on a flight home. It’s a bit of a jumble of stories and ideas thrown together with the underlying theme of what constitutes a tribe, how they form, and why.
My key takeaway from the book is that you can’t have a tribe without a leader. Karl Bryan founded this magazine to equip coaches with additional tools that he didn’t see in any other magazine; in so doing, he created a tribe. Dan Kennedy has done the same with his newsletters and events, even though he calls them a herd. Gary Vaynerchuk did it with wine, Steve Jobs did it with technology, and Harley-Davidson did it with Motorcycles.
If you’re willing to lead it, you can find a reason or a cause and build yourself a tribe too. This book can give you ideas on how to do it.
Final thoughts …
I guess I’d be remiss if I didn’t take my own advice and get to work on building a tribe.
I’ve just created a Facebook Group for Business Coaches looking for great books to grow their practices. Search for The Business Coach’s Bookshelf, join up, and I plan to post a quick book review or recommendation every week.
I’d love feedback about books my readers have received value from and their suggestions, too. We can learn together!
Until the next issue of the Six Figure Coach, keep reading, learning, coaching and making the business world a better place!
About Ben Pritchett
Ben Pritchett started his first business at the age of 15, and began his own consulting practice in 1991. For over 25 years he has worked with clients in many industries including restaurants, direct sales, software development, tourism, dimension stone (granite quarrying and manufacturing), aviation, and optometry, just to name a few. Companies coached by Ben have nearly doubled and tripled their revenues in a single year.