A leader shares vision, has authority and influence, and presides over an organization. A coach instructs or trains the fundamentals of team strategy. A leader isn’t always a coach and a coach isn’t always a leader. To be an effective closely held business owner today, you need to be both at the same time! Leaders do the right things. Coaches show ’em how.


A Leader/Coach shares wisdom and insight the team doesn’t have. Wisdom isn’t learned from books. Knowledge comes from books. Wisdom is gained, not studied and comes over the passage of time. When we change the way we look at things, the things we look at change. Consider seeing yourself NOT as a business owner but as Leader/Coach. When we do this, we stop looking at people as employees, but as the most valuable assets on our team.


Our Leader role focuses ON business strategy, marketplace changes, customer needs, and our self-awareness. Our Coach role focuses ON our people. To grow, an expansive thinking Leader/ Coach delegates so as not to spend more than 25% working IN the business. That is what managers are for. In our Leader role, we ask the WHAT and WHY questions. In our Coach role, we ask, and connect the dots around the HOW, WHO and WHEN questions.


Leaders raise awareness and mindfulness of the team to what is the vision, what needs to be done, knowing the difference between what is essential vs. urgent, what finished looks like, and what are the expected results. Leaders increase mindfulness of the team as to why we need to do what we do. Customers don’t do business with us so much for what we do, but why we do it. Getting the “why” to resonate within and outside the company ignites inspiring leadership and belief.

As a Coach, we show individuals how to get stuff done in ways that contribute to teamwork, and not just solid individual efforts, how to take personal responsibility for the right results done the right way, and how it fits into the overall strategy. As a Coach, we focus on who is the right person to play what position based on their natural abilities. Coaches need to make sure everyone knows when things need to be done and to do it well.


Because we live in the tyranny of the urgent every day, business owners and our teams are experiencing erosion of critical thinking skills. Faster information from more devices and sources creates more distraction and diffusion in daily activities. Everything seems to have the same degree of importance. These interruptions compromise and even block anyone’s ability to stay focused and be mindful in getting the right assignment done in the right way. You know when people are caught in the tyranny of the urgent when they are NOT effectively communicating without email, NOT taking clear initiative, thinking but NOT being thoughtful, and NOT able to differentiate essential from urgent.


We have primarily ONE responsibility as a Leader/Coach. Keep the right team in place with the right priorities to expand in the right way by asking critical thinking questions to increase mindfulness.

For sustainable growth, a Leader/Coach knows when to focus ON the business and when to work IN the business. A Leader/Coach is very mindful, very self-aware and keenly aware of Hi-Po employees. A Leader/Coach prioritizes the team on what is essential vs. urgent vs. important. A Leader/Coach knows that everything is done by people, with people, through people and for people, therefore mindful focus is essential. Be focused, stay focused and create focus in others as a Leader/Coach by always asking critical thinking questions. Get your people to not just think, but be more thoughtful, to increase their own self-awareness and be more mindful of the essential. Your net worth rises and falls based on your people. Know when to lead and when to coach. Embrace this shift in leadership by being willing to practice being a better Leader/Coach.

5 Critical Questions
Practice Leader/Coach impact by asking 5 critical questions in any given situation with any employee:

  1. WHAT is the reason for the proposed course of action?
  2. WHY do they believe this is essential and valuable to do?
  3. HOW will they meaningfully follow through on this action?
  4. WHO else needs to be involved to help them?
  5. WHEN does this need to be in place and working?

…and then be a great listener!