12 Powerful Lessons I’ve Learned Being a Leadership Coach

Screen Shot 2016-05-09 at 11.42.26 PMIn my career as a leadership coach, I’ve been fortunate to work with amazing people. Some have been small-business owners or department heads of medium-sized organizations. Some have been senior executives of multinational corporations and government leaders. From each person, I have learned some powerful lessons. I hope they will be useful in your leadership:

1. Everyone has the same basic wants and needs. Everyone wants to be seen and heard, appreciated and acknowledged. In life and in business, it’s not so much what you say that counts as how you make people feel, so let others hear you express your respect and gratitude for what they do.

2. Don’t try to read other people’s minds, and don’t make other people try to read yours. Just communicate. People will never know how you feel or what you think unless you tell them. If you want your point of view to be heard, you have to tell people what you’re thinking. It’s that simple.

3. Your past is here to teach you about your future self. You cannot hold on to the past, but you can learn from it. Don’t make the mistake of trying to stay in the past—life is about learning lessons and taking those lessons forward with you into your life.

4. Everyone has a story and everyone has complications in their life. Each person we meet has their own difficulties and hardships. What might be bad for one might change another person’s life for the better. You have to accept people as they are instead of trying to change them.

5. Don’t try to please everyone, but do what you know is right. If you are busy trying to please everyone, at the end you will end up pleasing no one. There will come a point when you will get tired of the game, and that’s when you’re free to come into your own.

6. You don’t have to be perfect, you just have to be real. If you are busy trying to be a perfect person, you will probably miss the opportunity to be imperfectly happy. The most important part of your life is to be exactly who you are, and the most important thing you need to think about is not being perfect but being authentic, genuine, and heart-centered.

7. Speaking truth is always the best policy. Living a life of honesty creates peace of mind, and peace of mind is priceless. Period.

8. How you spend your day shows what is important to you. Every day you are faced with two choices: you can aimlessly stumble through, not knowing what is going to happen and simply reacting to events as they come. Or you can spend your time on what is important to you, directing your own life and making your own decision on what is most important to you. The choice will always be yours.

9. Change is inevitable; you must learn to be embrace it. Whatever your circumstances are now, they will change—that is one thing you can count on. So embrace change and realize that it happens for a reason, even if it isn’t apparent at first.

10. It’s the small things that matter most. Enjoy the little things, because one day you may look back and discover they were the big things.

11. The harder you work, the luckier you will get. Sometimes your natural fear of failure will sometimes stop you from trying new things, but you must rise above your fears and work hard at what you love, because success comes from the accumulation of many small unique experiences. The more experiences, the more luck.

12. Invest time and energy in yourself. When you invest in yourself you can never lose, and over time you will change the trajectory of your leadership and life. The more energy you spend on acquiring self -awareness, wisdom and knowledge, the more control you will have over your life.

Lessons to take to heart…We all struggle the same; we all suffer the same; we all want happiness and a good life just the same.

Lead From Within: Every person has something to teach us, and sometimes the most important lessons are the ones that come to us from being around others.


N A T I O N A L   B E S T S E L L E R

The Leadership Gap
What Gets Between You and Your Greatness

After decades of coaching powerful executives around the world, Lolly Daskal has observed that leaders rise to their positions relying on a specific set of values and traits. But in time, every executive reaches a point when their performance suffers and failure persists. Very few understand why or how to prevent it.

buy now


Additional reading you might enjoy:

Photo Credit: Getty Images

Lolly Daskal is one of the most sought-after executive leadership coaches in the world. Her extensive cross-cultural expertise spans 14 countries, six languages and hundreds of companies. As founder and CEO of Lead From Within, her proprietary leadership program is engineered to be a catalyst for leaders who want to enhance performance and make a meaningful difference in their companies, their lives, and the world.

Of Lolly’s many awards and accolades, Lolly was designated a Top-50 Leadership and Management Expert by Inc. magazine. Huffington Post honored Lolly with the title of The Most Inspiring Woman in the World. Her writing has appeared in HBR, Inc.com, Fast Company (Ask The Expert), Huffington Post, and Psychology Today, and others. Her newest book, The Leadership Gap: What Gets Between You and Your Greatness has become a national bestseller.

  1. Michael Lapointe

    10. May, 2016

    Wise words …

    After being part of super toxic work environment, going through PTSD, being diagnosed with Diabetes 2 last year and having a heart attack just two weeks ago … all of what you said reflects my thoughts right now. I’m eager to keep going despite the pitfalls. It’s better to try than not try at all.

    Reply to this comment
    • Dana

      10. May, 2016

      Moving right along. I’ll be thinking of you, Michael. Best wishes.

      Reply to this comment
  2. khaleduz

    10. May, 2016

    thank you…just thank you very much.

    Reply to this comment
  3. Vishal Kataria

    11. May, 2016

    Insightful as always, Lolly. What struck me most is point #2. Often we are so sold on our own ideas that we expect the others to be equally gung-ho about them. We expect others to understand implied points, and try to do the same with them. This miscommunication is arguably the biggest hurdle for leadership.

    Great post. Off to share this.

    Reply to this comment
  4. Ryan Friden

    14. May, 2016

    Great insights! #2 really resonates with me. Communication is so important, and yet we all find ourselves trying to “read minds” at some point or another.

    Reply to this comment
  5. Name (required)

    15. May, 2016

    Thank you for all, Lolly! To be genuine is the best point always. Also 2 and 6 and 7 together – is what you collected for others, but what gives to you just really good honorary title among us!

    Reply to this comment
  6. Thabiso Njoko

    15. May, 2016

    Thank you Lolly, you’ve just reminded me of something significant.

    Reply to this comment
  7. William Duncan

    26. Jul, 2016

    #7 is spot on. to have peace of mind

    Reply to this comment
  8. Chris - One Third More

    29. Sep, 2016

    Love #6 – you don’t have to be perfect, you just have to be real. This is something that took me quite a while to realise personally. I think all these points are relevant to life in general, not just leading a business. Great article, thanks.

    Reply to this comment
  9. Paulo

    17. Mar, 2017

    #7 integrity is key

    Reply to this comment
  10. Annah Joseph

    27. Sep, 2018

    # speaking truth is always the best policy
    It has stood out for me,truth will always be our saving grace against all greed,corruption and other societal ills
    You such an inspiration

    Reply to this comment
  11. Eli Richardson

    05. Apr, 2021

    I’m glad you talked about how it’s important to invest in ourselves. In my opinion, we should divide our work life with our personal one. In that way, we can try to separate our work-related worries. That’s why I’d say I agree with you on your tips about how to improve your life with leadership and self-care. Thanks!

    Reply to this comment

Leave a Reply