Good leaders do four things to benefit others:

1. Rise to the challenge,

2. Learn Joyfully,

3. Do what you love

4. Pass it on

(I coach that and write about that here)

Welcome to my coaching blog for executives and leaders.

Let’s start with this question:  What kind of fuel do you need for your fire?

(Notice I didn’t ask you if you have a fire in you.  That is an assumption, of course!).  So, what kind of fuel do you need for your fire?

Some of us get fueled by what we choose NOT do do.  We let go of one or two things we are holding too tightly.  And suddenly, our hands are free enough to pick up the fuel we need to stoke the fire.

Others of us need to pick up a new competency, a new skill, or maybe even an entirely new leadership role.  Whether you and I are in need of letting go, or of picking up fuel, we could all use the support and focus required to do it right.  That’s the essence of why executive/leadership coaches exist.  Usually, we can depend on close friends to help us close the distance on important goals.  But sometimes, that just isn’t enough.  We need someone highly skilled who can help us develop laser-focus as a leader.  

I hope — whether or not you decide to work with me — that I can be helpful to you.  Even if it’s just through the focused thoughts of this blog so you can find the encouragement to keep going, to stay focused on the attitudes and targets you hold the closest. 

If you walk away with brighter coals and a fire that’s a little more fueled, then I’ve met my own leadership purpose:  to help you find and fuel your fire.

Keep rockin’ and rollin’, every caring and full-of-care leader makes a difference in this world!

how to be a “less is more leader”

Watch the video (one of my favorite moments about the creative process) and then ask yourself the question I’ve posted below:


“What would happen if I chopped 50% of my activity as a leader, and focused more upon the remaining 50%?”

tough slogging up a rough path in bad weather

I’m not going to water this one down, change is hard.  Anyone who tells you different is trying to sell you something.

I’m hoping you consider a coaching relationship with me, but I prefer to make sure the issue is on the table instead of under it.  Some coaching websites suggest (covertly or overtly) that they will fix anything you’re facing, just sign up.  But some problems, some obstacles, are seriously challenging.  Some dreams take real work, that’s why we call them dreams.

It can be tough slogging up a rough path in bad weather.

The real question is what kind of person do you want with you on the climb?  Do you want someone who will tell you it’s a cake-walk, take your money for a quick-fix, and move on?  Do you want someone who will help you identify exactly what the mountain looks like, the options to climb, the gear and supplies you need in the backpack, and then join you on the adventure all the way?

I’ve had both kinds of “helpers” in my life.  I bet you have too.  Some of the quick-fix tools I was handed ended up actually being harmful, they weighed me down, got in the way, kept my focus on what they could do instead of what I could do.  I had an older friend who used to say, “don’t ask me to blow sunshine up your ass,” when I reached out for help, and I’m glad that he didn’t!  We may not use that phrase anymore, but I’m going to ask you this:  what wise leaders do you have in your life that you can count on to be honest with you (even when its painfully honest)?  

A quality coach, one who cares about your real leadership development, will be distrustful of gimmicks.  They’ll, instead, bring the power and presence of a real, honest-to-goodness, human being to the relationship.  If that’s what you’re looking for, I could be a good match.  And if you don’t choose to work with me, still, consider how to include more people in your leadership life who will be helpful in this long-term way.

Sometimes, its tough slogging up a rough path in bad weather.  Who do you want with you on the way?  Who do you want with you when you reach the top, or go beyond to the next country?

the “problems are sparks” mentality

You ever watch a knife or other sharp edge get sharpened, and see the sparks fly?

(Never mind the original processes that led up to it being a blade attached to a handle — the smelting, the heating, the hammering, the folding of the soft metal onto itself, the submersion in cold water only to be thrust back into the flame.  That’s a process for another blog post.)

I’m just talking about the sharpening process.  It seems simple, right?  Rub a hard edge against a hard edge, and do it often enough in the right motion with the right angle and you’ll sharpen the edge.  Miss any of those important parts to the equation, and you don’t have a sharpening process.

Hard edge against hard edge.  The best problems are the ones we face head-on.  If we allow them to rub up against our other problems — no matter the friction and sparks created — and keep doing so with perseverance, we’ll gain a solution or a new way forward.

Let me give a basic example from my life.  I have a really bad ankle, the long-term repercussions of playing on a sprain for an entire football season without letting it fully heal.  I also had old, bad running shoes.  I knew that I needed to run, but my ankle hurt every time I started to run so I didn’t do it often, and when I did, I did not sustain the activity.  The ankle was a problem to my physical fitness, and was beginning to be a problem to my daily mobility.  The shoes were a problem because they were old and had lost their support (but I had not wrapped my mind around them being a problem too, in fact, I was doubling down on wearing the shoes and trying harder to run, all to worse and worse results!).

Two problems rubbing against one another, and the sparks ended up starting the fire that solved the problem.  I’ll be totally honest, I was not the one who solved the problem!  My wife got sick of me complaining, got sick of me being a cheapskate, and she bought me new shoes.  They are great shoes, with great support, and within a week my ankle felt much better.

The solutions are often, in hindsight, incredibly simple.  But when we’re in the heat with the sparks flying, we don’t feel or think so. Typically, the solution also has to do with understanding that one or more of the problems we face are created by ourselves in some way.  With a change in mentality comes a change in direction.  Often, the change in direction leads to a massive release of new energy, and we’re off and rolling once again.

Sadly, in my case with the running shoes, I was unable to change my mentality until I had help from someone who cared deeply about me.  Or maybe, just got tired of my whining!  Either way, part of the “problems are sparks” mentality is knowing when I need to ask for help, or be open to someone helping me.  Just to be completely clear:  the “problems are sparks” mentality is not some solo, tough-guy gets even tougher by bearing down approach.  Its a mentality that refuses to see problems as just problems, but chooses to engage them in the search for solutions, and chooses to include others in the task.  One hand makes for good work.  Two hands make for great work.  Four hands–even better.

I’ll share more about the other elements in “the problems are sparks” mentality, but for now just meditate on these macro questions:

  • What are some problems rubbing together in my life?
  • What sparks are they throwing off?
  • What fires could those sparks create that might help solve the original problems?

featured publication

the xyz coaching map

  • A Life-Journey Orientation Tool
  • “Taster” exercises for a 3-D view of your life journey
  • A good way to find out if I’m the coach to help you find and fuel your fire.

click here — the next step is a free conversation