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Coaching Your Kids to be Leaders: The Key to Unlocking Their Potential    by Pat Williams & Jim Denney order for
Coaching Your Kids to be Leaders
by Pat Williams
Order:  USA  Can
Warner, 2005 (2005)

Read an Excerpt

* *   Reviewed by J. A. Kaszuba Locke

Pat Williams tell us that researching this book took a period of twelve months of interviews of leaders (including in business, sports, government, the military, education, and religion), plus a mailing of over 6,000 questionnaires, to reach the final selection of 500 leaders. A friend of Williams dubbed him Prince of Overkill, which he does not deny! The book is written in a conversational tone, and it is obvious the author is enthusiastic about his subject. Common threads in the hundreds of answers submitted led Williams to 'Seven Qualities of Effective Leaders': vision, communication, people skills, character, competence, boldness, and servanthood.

Author and founder of Prison Fellowship, Charles (Chuck) Colson, writes of his U.S. Marine Corps experiences - 'In the Marines, I learned that an authentic leader achieves objectives through people by becoming their servant. Servanthood, in the Marines, is the essence of leadership.' Colson admits that in his Watergate involvement and subsequent prison term, 'We thought that leadership was about power. In reality, leadership is about such issues as vision, servanthood, integrity, and character - the very issues that Pat Williams has been exploring in this book.'

Williams' parents wanted him to be a well-rounded human being. Mom led Pat on the road to becoming a compulsive reader - 'my entire life has been shaped by good books. The power of a book is amazing. When you open a book, you open the mind and heart of another human being, and you can't help being changed by the encounter.' Williams says of creating leaders, 'The strongest foundation we can lay is a foundation of confidence and faith - faith in God and faith in themselves ... Let kids learn from their own mistakes. Encourage them to step our of their 'comfort zones'.' Throughout the book, Williams addresses the question, what is leadership?, and he dissects the old argument of whether leaders are born not made. NFL's Vince Lombardi says 'Leaders aren't born, they're made ... through hard work.' Dwight Bain founder of LifeWorks Coaching Club comments, 'Babies are born. Leaders are developed. People get old and die. Leaders live on forever.'

Toni Jennings, first female lieutenant governor in Florida, tells us that 'Quiet leaders often grow up to become the calm and steady hand who solves problems in a crisis.' Dr. Richard E. Lapchick, human rights activist and author advises, 'treat every single young person as a potential leader.' Psychologist Daniel Goleman describes emotional intelligence as 'a more reliable predictor of success than that person's intelligence quotient (IQ). People with a high EQ are better equipped to empathize with, understand, relate to, and connect with other people.' Support is given to looking beyond problem behavior by William Donohue, president of the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights, who told Williams, 'Youngsters who show early signs of leadership are often very expressive individuals ... Adults make a big mistake when they dismiss young people as potential leaders merely because they exhibit problem behavior.'

Though I appreciated these inspiring comments on leadership, I found the book overburdened with lengthy quotes from head coaches, with the largest proportion accorded to male sports (and male figureheads in most areas). Albeit, there is a token female college coach or achiever in place here and there, I can't help but ask why Williams did not give attention to the Women's National Basketball Association (WNBA), to women in boxing, soccer, volleyball, softball, hockey - and let us not forget the winning women's teams in the Olympics, and female CEO's in business.

However, readers with an interest in leadership development, especially in sports and business, will enjoy this book. Williams fills the pages with effective information, on a personal and professional level, for developing young leaders.

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