Friday, October 20, 2017


"The Mentor Leader" by Tony Dungy is an incredible book that will benefit any coach of any sport on any level. In fact, the book transcends coaching. But in regard to the world of athletics, it is a great book for a head coach looking to mentor assistant coaches and players as well as for assistant coaches looking to mentor players.


"Teamwork doesn't tolerate the inconvenience of distance."
-Author Unknown

I believe it is critical for mentor leaders to engage with those they lead. It's impossible to mentor from a distance. Without engagement, you cannot lead effectively. You cannot mentor with empathy. You cannot inspire people to new heights and lift them to a better place in their lives. If you do not engage with those you serve, you will never understand them or know enough about them to be able to have a positive effect in their lives.


"Good teachers help every student earn an A."
-Wilbur Dungy

Education is an essential building block of mentor leadership. Workers who are new to a task cannot be empowered and elevated until they've been educated in what to to. First things first.


"Our job as a coaching staff is to show you what to do and how to do it. Your job as players is to do it consistently."
-Chuck Noll

Mentor leaders create an environment in which others can be productive and excel. They set the parameters and guidelines for the task, project and continually recast the vision, and then provide the tools and equipment needed for everyone to be successful in their assignment and to ultimately accomplish their mission. In essence, they strive to furnish what is needed for the task -- physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually -- and to accomplish the mission.


"Correction does much, but encouragement does more."

Encouragement is the fuel that powers our efforts to engage, educate, and equip. Nothing does more to lubricate the rough spots than a good dose of encouragement. Mentor leaders care. Mentor leaders lift others up. Mentor leaders encourage.


"As we look ahead...leaders will be those who empower others."
-Bill Gates

Once the people you lead are ready, it's time to turn them loose. But not before they're ready. As a mentor leader, you have a responsibility to engage, educate, equip, and encourage them first -- and at every appropriate point thereafter, as well. You can't just walk in and empower them. If they're not ready, you're only setting them up to fail.


"Without inspiration, the best powers of the mind are dormant. There is a tinder in us which needs to be quickened with sparks."
-Johann Gottfried Von Herder

Great leaders energize and inspire those they lead. Even as they face their own daily struggles and stresses, mentor leaders look for ways to energize and motivate the people around them.


"Teamwork: Simply state, it is less me and more we."
-Author Unknown

Many leaders struggle with this essential concept. Elevating is difficult. It seems paradoxical to elevate someone who might end up taking your place. But raising up leaders is the truly self-less goal of every mentor leader, the culmination of focusing on others. To elevate your followers means to help them reach their God-given potential, even it means preparing them to replace you. It may also mean that you prepare them to leave your organization for better opportunities elsewhere -- perhaps even with your competitors.