Coaching to Core Ideals for Leaders

For those of us addicted to life long learning and striving to use up all our potential before we die…we live towards some core ideals.  It is a momentum and focus.  Golf is a great metaphor. We are always striving for par or as pros even under par scores and its not the difficulty of the “ideal” of par score that will stop us from achieving the ideal.  It is our investment in and the defining of the skills, behaviors, and practice needed that usually stops us.  This blog stems from a request I recently had  from my friend Dan. He asked me to give him a bullet list for a coaching profile that might fit a very broad but globally focused organization. My short answer is Leaders are nothing more than “learners with a vision”. But Dan is a leadership guru and he needed more than that!  So here is what I offered up as my truth.

The five basic areas or core ideals are 1) Visionary, 2) Authentic, 3) Disciplined, 4) Accessible and 5) Strategic Learners.

As a leadership development lead for a major corporation; Dan knew I would bring my pragmatic approach to the description.  Keep it simple and straight forward as the farm boy I am.  So, here is what I sent him.  What do you all think?  I know you could write a book, but why not just a few bullets instead?  I outlined the ideal leader and the basic effective leader’s skills and behaviors.



  1. Has a vision for their life and work and engages mentors to hold them accountable
  2. Has a compelling reason to offer others to follow them either through both word and action
  3. Sees how you balance the longer view with the need for short term results


  1. Knows who they are as a person of strengths and weaknesses
  2. Doesn’t hesitate to be engaged in meaningful dialogue with people at any level
  3. Is other focused


  1. Makes tough decisions in a timely manner
  2. Talks straight and moves forward with feedback effectively and courageously
  3. Does the not make their problems anyone else’s, they own them and act accordingly


  1. Physically available to the right people, adept at creating forums that important knowledge, information, and direction setting goals can be shared and understood.
  2. Mentally and intellectually available in ways that they take risks in being vulnerable by sharing not only what they are thinking but what they are “feeling” or sensing

Strategic Learner

  1. Thinks not only the business “ahead” of the game, but also their own skills and awareness
  2. Networks within the industry and the company to gain important perspectives and knowledge to make decisions

Basic Minimum to be effective


  1. Has a vision for their work role
  2. Knows that word and actions must align


  1. Has some sense of when they are most effective
  2. Can relate to all employees at an effective level in some way


  1. Makes tough decisions without long time intervals impacting results
  2. Is organized in how they work their role


  1. Has a plan for how to work with their subordinates on a regular basis
  2. Shares expectations with others, what they are thinking

Strategic Learner

  1. Values development within others they work
  2. Network and learn trends within the industry
  1. Coaching to Core Ideals – Be There or Be Square « Heartwood Group
  2. Coaching to Core Ideals – Ideal Loser or Leader « Heartwood Group

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