It's not just semantics LO6349

Virginia I. Shafer (
Mon, 1 Apr 1996 00:18:00 -0700 (MST)

Replying to LO6328 --

Ned Hamson responding to my reply to Gene Bellinger's request for a word
that means "subliminal leadership," wrote:

>Coaching as a means of empowering? Then we would have to be very careful
>about how we define coach, wouldn't we? It's almost as misused or as
>imprecise as team. When you think of coach, do you thtink of the one on
>television, Bobby (throw another chair at 'em) Knight, Phil Jackson of the
>Chicago Bulls, the fathers and mothers who have ruined their children's
>childhood and game in the case of some women tennis players.

My fear of using the word "coach" is that people will think of competitive
sports. I'm a student of Alfie Kohn's work--No Contest: The Case Against
Competition. In its original form, the word coach meant "a tutor, for
getting one through examinations." Like leadership and so many other
monikers we use today to describe role and responsibilities, we can
interpret them how we see fit. But what did the sender intend? I keep
working to understand what people mean when they use these familiar words
in new ways. I suppose they mean to communicate new ideas so I look for

>Empowerment seems pretty simple in some ways. You are empowered, or at
>least feel empowered, if you have both the responsibility to complete a
>task or make a decision, the authority to do it in the best manner you
>think possible, and the resources appropriate to the task or decision. In
>that sense, if responsibility, authority and resources are allocated or
>delegated to you, then you have been empowered. When a person, system, or
>organization draws back from that allocation or delegation, they are
>disempowering the person.
>Can it be that simple?

It is for me. Thank you for expressing it so well.

As Always,
Ginger Shafer
The Leadership Dimension
"Bringing Leadership to Life"

-- (Virginia I. Shafer)

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