What is a Leader’s Job Description?

leadership helping othersWhat is the job description of a leader?  I believe the number one responsibility of a leader is to draw out leadership in others.  Who is more qualified to develop an emerging leader than another leader?  If a leader will not do it, who else will?  Although investing time in another leader may seem like adding more to a growing to-do list, leaders benefit and perform at their best when they coach and mentor emerging leaders.  True leaders not only make it a priority to spend the time with other leaders, but they create opportunities for emerging leaders to develop their competencies.  Foster and Auerbach (2015) pointed to research that showed that the most effective formula for developing leadership competencies was: (1) 70% on the job learning through shadowing others and stretch job assignments, (2) 20% from coaching and mentoring, and (3) formal training or education.

What does leadership look like?  If you ask a dozen people, you may get a dozen different answers, although I suspect you would get some common themes focused on character traits such as honesty, integrity, initiative, and intelligence, and perhaps skills such as being a good communicator and delegator.  People are usually attracted to leaders who have charisma and display extroversion.  The truth?  Leaders come in all shapes and more importantly styles.  Although the media portrays great leaders as espousing grand visions, the reality is that great leadership is reflected in many different faces.  Bill Hybels (2009) described many of the varied leadership styles that are required to continually innovate and grow an organization.  Each style plays a necessary role, and those organizations that appreciate and leverage these different leaders will flourish.

  1. Visionary: casts powerful visions with an undefeatable enthusiasm to turn visions into reality
  2. Directional: chooses the right path for an organization at it approaches critical intersections where decisions about direction are needed
  3. Strategic: breaks down an exciting vision into a series of defined, achievable steps and brings subgroups into alignment to realize the vision
  4. Managing: brings order out of chaos by establishing appropriate milestones to the destination and organizing people, processes, and resources to achieve a mission
  5. Motivational: keeps the team fired up and operating on all cylinders
  6. Shepherding: builds, nurtures, and supports a team which draws people together regardless of the cause
  7. Team-building: selects and develops the right team members based on their abilities, character, and chemistry and places them in the right positions for the right reasons to produce the right results
  8. Entrepreneurial: possesses many other leadership styles but optimally functions in start-up mode
  9. Re-engineering: like entrepreneurial leaders although functions best in turn-around environments or troubled situations
  10. Bridge-building: brings together a diverse group of people under a single leadership umbrella to stay focused on a single mission

Do you see yourself in any one of more of these leadership styles?  Does your organization value your leadership style?  Is your leadership style needed in your organization and aligned with your job responsibilities?  These are a few questions you should answer for yourself as you plan to grow in leadership capacity.  Regardless of where you lie on the leadership continuum, there are likely other emerging leaders behind you, who could benefit from your leadership knowledge and coaching.  Know your leadership style, and be the leader who invests in other leaders.


Foster, S., & Auerbach, J. (2015). Positive psychology in coaching: Applying science to executive and personal coaching. Pismo Beach, CA: Executive College Press.

Hybels, B. (2009). Courageous leadership: Field-tested strategy for the 360o leader. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.

HE21118Davis_07-medAbout the Author: Sandra Dillon is a professional coach, consultant, and mentor with an extensive background in business development, leadership, and ministry which provides her with the experience, relational skills, and proven processes to move individuals, couples, and leaders to higher levels of personal awareness, effectiveness, and goal achievement.  She coaches in a variety of areas including life purpose and plans, business, finances, and premarital/marriage.  


What is Coaching? Answer: Getting Results!

Life_Coaching Make Things HappenAlthough you’ve probably heard of coaching for actors (1940’s), sports athletes (1960’s), and business executives (1990’s), the term life coaching may be ambiguous. Despite being a practiced discipline since the 1800’s, the profession remains relatively misunderstood with people even believing coaching and counseling are the same. Under those assumptions, people generally conclude they don’t need a life coach.

Not everyone needs a counselor, but everyone can benefit from a coach. Throw the term mentoring in the mix, and differentiation gets muddier. Although coaching, counseling, and mentoring all serve to help people, each has a different function, process, and relationship.

Coaching: Not Counseling or Mentoring

Professional coaching, mentoring, and counseling share a similar purpose in helping people through life seasons and transitions. How to achieve a better work-life balance? Struggling in a marriage? About to get married? Trying to figure out which career path to take? How to land the next promotion? The situational factors will determine what professional and which approach best serves the client.

In general, coaches use relational influence to develop and empower people, mentors impart their wisdom upon less experienced individuals, and counselors diagnose their clients’ problems and offer solutions. Coaching differs from mentoring and counseling on many levels, including the participant’s role.

Although coaches are change experts, they believe their clients are the experts of their lives. Coaches typically work with mindset and help clients take responsibility to act in ways that maximize outcomes. Coaches and clients are equal partners, who co-construct the coaching relationship through vulnerable and empowering conversation.

Coaches can administer assessments, sometimes suggest, and lead with challenging and powerful questions so clients can then decide on specific plans to achieve their defined goals. On the other hand, mentors and counselors are the experts in the relationship, who offer advice and make suggestions. Stoltzfus (2005) found that when people solve their own problems versus being told what to do, they learn more and are more motivated to address problems and implement their identified solutions.

Coaching also differs from counseling in that it is future-oriented as opposed to focusing on the past. Mentoring may alternate between both realms. Collins (2009) defines coaching as enabling people to move from where they stand to a position of where they want to be. Coaching and mentoring are grounded in the present with the desire to help others grow personally, develop skills, or acquire knowledge, as opposed to counseling, which typically involves exploring past hurts to achieve healing.

Coaching and mentoring differ in their approach, although over the years the practical application of mentoring has expanded, so it appears more like coaching. Mentors are typically subject-matter experts in their fields who provide information, support, correction, and accountability to develop their mentorees.

Christian Life Coaching

Those who may understand the value of life coaching may not necessarily understand the difference when the label of “Christian” is applied next to it. Christian life coaching is distinctive from secular life coaching. A Christian coach has a Christ-based worldview and encourages clients to find God’s vision and purpose for their lives and helps to guide them from where they are to where God wants them to be.

On the other hand, secular life coaching supports clients in pursuing their own human-based goals (Collin, 2009). Many Christian life coaches successfully coach secular-based clients, because one of the many ethical standards held by coaches is not to impose their own beliefs onto their clients. Coaching is not about the coach but about the clients and what they want for their lives.

Coaching Benefits

Coaching sessions have an agenda, defined goals, and accountability, which is not inherently part of the counseling or mentoring. Coaching provides a supportive relationship and structure that allows the client to take responsibility and be held accountable to make life changes.

Through assessments and skilled questions, a coach unlocks the confidence and commitment in their clients to define goals and achieve results. A coach will partner with you, encourage you, help you see what motivates you, believe in you to make change, and challenge your thinking.

Coaches typically provide written action plans and follow-up with their clients between sessions. Coaching can be done over the phone, via video conferencing, and face-to-face. Coaching is for anyone who strives to be a better version of themselves in any area of life, and successful coaching is measured solely by the client achieving results.


Collins, G. R. (2009). Christian Coaching: Helping Others Turn Potential into Reality. (2nd ed.). Colorado Springs, CO: NavPress.

Stoltzfus, T. (2005). Leadership Coaching: The Disciplines, Skills and Heart of a Christian Coach. Virginia Beach, VA: Booksurge Publishing.

144-2 - CopyAbout the Author: Sandra Dillon is a professional coach and consultant with an extensive background in business development, leadership, and ministry which provides her with the experience, relational skills, and proven processes to move individuals, couples, and leaders to higher levels of personal awareness, effectiveness, and goal achievement. She coaches in a variety of areas including life purpose/plans, business, leadership, finances, and premarital/marriage.