Over lunch today three of us were talking about the links between leadership coaching and the world of sport. It's not just alpha males who can relate to the goals, commitment and determination of sports people.
We discussed the links between sports coaching and leadership coaching and how even sports coaches can benefit from coaches themselves. The book that bridges the gap between these two worlds has to be Liquid Leadership by Damian Hughes.
Damian Hughes talks about working with Sir Alex Ferguson (from Liquid Leadership)
Damian is a highly-intelligent self-effacing thinker on all things 'liquid' - a term he devised to describe his way of looking at life. Damian says that wanted to find out what sports people, charity leaders and business gurus have in common; what characteristics they share and what lessons and advice they could give that would allow others to learn from and go on to achieve their own special goals.
A former England schoolboy footballer and coach for Manchester United, Damian has developed his initial 'liquid thinking' into liquid leadership - and created a framework that can apply on and off the sports field.
What first attracted me to his book was the similarities between the Forton Group's 'Professional Leadership Coaching' model and the framework Damian sets out. He talks about the need for leaders to have vision, for them to take a stand and to have courage in achieving their goals - and getting past setbacks.
Each chapter has a real-life story attached and when the Leadership Book Club met to discuss this book someone referred to the need for this approach to reach out to women's experience too. Damian's first story combines a challenging yet moving story of a woman's courage in getting past a traumatic experience and learning to live fully.
This isn't just a book based on leaders in the sporting world; Damian quotes Mother Teresa and Steve Jobs; he uses a business case study based on the shoe repair world of Timpsons, and their business values. Damian extends his 'liquid' metaphor throughout the book, urging us to 'make a splash' (chapter 8) and describes personal and corporate values as 'liquid assets' (chapter 2).
Liquid leadership is both an easy, and a challenging read. Damian writes directly off the page to the reader, challenging us to make a difference. What challenged me the most was his 'just do it' attitude - which I also find inspiring, especially when I overthink my challenges.