Your True Leadership Style is the Behavior Pattern Others Perceive

Many people have used the word influence in their definitions of leadership. I believe, Leadership is an influence process. John Maxwell and others have written about five levels of leadership. Maxwell’s terms for these are Level one, Positional, Level two, Permission, Level three, Production, Level four, People Development, and Level five, Personhood. Level one being the lowest level of leadership, where the least amount of true leading actually takes place, and level five being the highest level, a level very few people ever attain.

When entering a new position or job promotion, most everyone will enter at level one. You are not yet proven in this position. Therefore, you must lead from position. The only leadership credential you have with employees (volunteers) is that of a title. People will follow for a short time a person who only leads from level one, positional leadership. Sooner than later, using your position to accomplish the work and goals of your organization, will wane. So will morale and attitudes within the organization. People will begin to leave your organization, beginning with the best workers and potential leaders. I literally scratch and shake my head when I see people attempting to lead via positional leadership. Especially when it appears this is the only leadership style he/she knows. It is plainly ineffective as a leadership style.

Level one leadership has also been known for decades as autocratic leadership. Autocratic leaders are authoritarian leaders and this type of leadership dates back to some of the earliest tribes known to have recorded information. Here’s one small snippet of what Wikipedia says about this type of leadership: “An authoritarian leadership style is exemplified when a leader dictates policies and procedures, decides what goals are to be achieved, and directs and controls all activities without any meaningful participation by the subordinates…The group is expected to complete the tasks under very close supervision, while unlimited authority is granted to the leader.”

Level one leadership will severely strangle the effectiveness of any organization. Using the five levels of leadership listed above, the highest level of effectiveness and organizational success comes with the highest level of leadership, level five. True effectiveness of leadership begins to appear in level three, production, and rises as the leadership rises to level four and five.

The higher levels in leadership represent more supportive roles by leadership, whereas lower levels represent directive roles from leaders. Autocratic leaders expect results, my way. Subordinates have no say in how something is to be carried out.

Higher level, supportive leadership, on the other hand, gives freedom and empowers subordinates. You will see more of a democratic leadership style in place in these organizations. Involvement of followers (subordinates) in decision making.

Autocratic – derives power from position or title – expect results my way – morale killer.

Democratic – places an emphasis on personal power of every person in the organization – morale booster = effectiveness.

If you are a leader ask yourself this question: “If I were not in leadership, which of these would I want to serve/work under?” I believe you’ll choose the higher level democratic leader. So, why not begin today, striving to become one. Set your goals to progress through the levels of leadership, striving to become the highest level leader you possibly can be.

Your true leadership style is the behavior pattern that you use with other people when trying to influence them, as they perceive it. (Not what you think it is, but as they perceive you)

George Yates is a Life Coach and Church Health Strategist assisting individuals, churches, and organizations in reaching their full God-given potential.

Can you learn all there is to know about coaching by reading one book? 

A guest post written by;  Stephanie A. Janke, Certified Biblical Life Coach

Can you learn all there is to know about coaching by reading one book?  My estimation is probably not, but George L. Yates has managed to pack many powerful keys and valuable insights into just 10 chapters and a little over 100 pages, in his book, COACHING:  A Way of Leadership    A Way of Life.

Mr. Yates discusses coaching, eye contact, body language, and the art of asking questions. His coaching instruction resonates with moving people forward, enabling them to maneuver and navigate through various stages of transition and transformation. What particular skills do I need to do this, you might ask?   We are all coaches in some ways during our lives, even if it isn’t our business or ministry.  Teaching children, cruising through marriage, or building relationships with co-workers, family and friends, requires us to have the skills George describes in his book! 

Does asking the right questions or watching a person’s body movements give me enough information to help someone really make changes?  Mr. Yates explores the 4 basic ‘natures’ of the question, and examines the ‘funnel effect’ of how coaches can help bring the coachee to a “more proper conclusion, leading them on a path toward greater effectiveness”.   Discovering the breakdown, realizing the need to make adjustments, and taking responsibility, will begin the rebuilding process that each person needs to keep moving forward.

Can sitting in a real-time environment with our coachees produce more depth and substance during our sessions?  COACHING: A Way of Leadership, will open your own eyes to the keys of greater communication skills through eye contact, body language, and facial expressions. Along with concentrating on greater listening skills, the coach will become a ‘life-long’ learner.  George’s goal is “to have the purpose, power, and passion which transform us”, the coach; when we help others to “unlock the mysteries of the mind, heart, soul and will”! 

Why should you read COACHING: A Way of Leadership A Way of Life?  As the Mr. Yates describes, the ‘why question’ is often not the best approach.  Instead, ask yourself, ‘What will best help me to create an environment of change, experience, and discovery, so that the coachee will be inspired, and have their own thoughts illuminated?   Can I assist them to unearth the choices and changes they can only make themselves? Want to improve your productivity? ,Want to be more effective in your coaching? ,Want to be respected as a person with the ability to lead others?  Read this book and you will discover like Mr. Yates states in his conclusion… “After all, Coaching, it is a Way of Leadership, a Way of Life!   My plan is to read it over and over again.

My thanks to Stephanie Janke for her review of this book. You can purchase your copy from Amazon or at SonC.A.R.E.

George Yates is a coach and Church health strategist, assisting individuals, churches and other organizations in fulfilling their God-given purpose.

The Four Natures of a Question – part II

“Furthermore, if questions so profoundly predetermine thought and inquiry, then it would seem to make sense to get them right lest our searching become a blind man’s groping. Unknown

Questions are truly a great gift from God. Learning the different natures of questions will lead you to be a worthy coach and leader, creating many discovery learning experiences for your employees, coachees, peers, family members, and others.

Closed Ended Question – This nature of this question is to use static recall; recollecting facts and stored information. As soon as one person answers te question, everyone’s thinking shuts down. Examples of closed ended questions:

What day of the week is today?

When is your birthday?

Where are you from?

What do you do for a living?

Open Ended Questions – Engage the higher order thought processes causing everyone listening to move to deeper thinking. Is not normally answered in one word or simple statement. Everyone in the room continues these deeper thought processes, even as others verbally share their responses. Examples:

What does Saturday mean to you?

What would a perfect birthday look like in your thinking?

How could we have done a more effective job?

In what ways will purchasing that particular car help you?

Rhetorical Questions – do not normally require an answer. Many times the answer is in the question. Examples:

Isn’t the weather nice today?

Aren’t you feeling chipper this morning?

You’re not looking to be a failure, are you?

Statement Questions – taking any statement and turning it into a question. Statement questions can be rhetorical, closed or open. As leaders, we should work to keep them open ended or at least engage the higher order thought processes of our listeners. Examples:

You say, you went to work on Tuesday, but didn’t stay?

Jane really likes wearing that blue dress her mother gave her, doesn’t she?

This guy, Samson, really killed 1,000 men with the jawbone of a donkey?

Learning the nature of questions and which nature will help make forward progress for your employee, volunteer, child, or coachee. After all, if questions so profoundly predetermine thought and inquiry, doesn’t it make sense to get them right lest our searching become a blind man’s groping?

To learn more about the four natures of a question and how to effectively develop and employ questions, order your copy of COACHING:A Way of Leadership, A Way of Life. Also available at Amazon in hardcopy and kindle.

George Yates is a Coach and Church health Strategist assisting individuals, churches and other organizations in reaching for their God-given potential.

The Four Natures of the Question

Different questions have different natures. Nature is defined as the inherent character of a person or thing. Understanding the inherent (in-built) character of a question is the key to success as a leader, coach teacher and even as a parent and spouse.

The inherent character of a question will largely determine the response for that question. I believe there are four basic natures of questions. These are: 1) Closed ended, 2) Open ended, 3) Rhetorical, and 4) Statement. Each nature solicits a different mode of response.

One of these natures causes the listener to use static recall, not engaging the higher order thought processes. Unfortunately, this is the type question most used in business, churches, classrooms, and even casual conversation. The other three nature’s of a question cause the listener’s brain to activate the cognitive skills of the brain, engaging the higher order thought processes described in chapter seven of COACHING: A Way of Leadership, A Way of Life.

Without engaging the higher order thought processes we cannot cause a learning experience or assist someone to move forward in his life. Understanding the Nature’s of questions will assist anyone in helping others.

Learning to use the proper natured questions at the right time will be critical in leading others in business and in family affairs. Read what Pastor Jason Price writes:

“George Yates is a master at asking questions. Even before Reading, Coaching: A Way of Leadership a Way of Life, I have seen first-hand how coaching can radically change the culture within a church, his coaching helped change ours!  George masterfully uses the art of asking the right questions, to lead churches and people on a road to self-discovery, helping them identify the God-given purpose for their church. The principles taught in, Coaching, are highly practical and transferable to any setting. They reveal the personal insights of an effective coach with decades of experience. If you have a desire to revolutionize the way you lead in your professional or church life, you need to read this book!”  R. Jason Price Senior Pastor Cornerstone Baptist Church, Nicholasville, KY.

George Yates is a coach and Church Health Specialist, assisting individuals, organizations, and churches in fulfilling their God-given purpose.

What Is The Purpose of a Question?

What is the purpose of a question? Have you ever considered this? As a leader (parent, teacher, coach), this should always be an imperative for every question we ask. Actually, the purpose of the question is four-fold. And each question you ask will fit one of the following principled purposes.

Properly formulated questions asked at the right time, in the right manner can 1) gather information: This is perhaps the most used purpose for asking questions. Yet, in my opinion, it is not the best use or purpose of greatest of greatest benefit. Using questions to gather information is beneficial and helpful in moving an organization or individual forward. Before asking a question to gather information know for what purpose you need or desire the requested information. Is it vital for forward movement?

2) substantiate a person’s prior knowledge of a subject: This purpose comes in very handy as a leader or coach, and can be beneficial for teachers as well. Before you move into deeper discussion about a topic or before assigning a task to a particular individual, you want to know his prior knowledge about the subject or assignment to be completed. Without understanding the listener’s prior knowledge of the topic, you may find yourself talking way over the heads of others in the room. Or you could find yourself wanting to discuss rudimentary ideas, when your listener is far beyond this level. In either case you’re likely to find the eyes of your listener glazed over and not engaged. Learn to ask the right questions to substantiate the prior knowledge of others in the room.

3) solicit your listener’s approval: As a leader, leader, teacher, or coach, there are times when you want to ask a question that will solicit your listener’s approval. “As we make this transition, you are willing to lead your department, aren’t you?” This could be followed with a question as, ”What are your biggest apprehensions about this transition and your department?” Asking questions to solicit your listener’s approval will assist you in determining their capability.

4) promote higher level thinking which leads to true behavioral learning and life change: This in my opinion is the greatest use of the question for all leaders- in the workplace, at home, in the classroom, – every leader in every realm of life. Very seldom should we use a question that does not engage the higher order thought processes of everyone in the room. Many questions used today from casual conversations to fortune 500 board rooms require only static recall – recalling facts and figures. This type of questions cannot produce learning and will never move a person or organization forward. It is not until the higher order (deep thinking) thought processes are engaged that forward movement can be experienced.

Understanding the purpose of a question before you ask it is essential to great leadership. Learning to think through the purposes of a question may take practice, but the results as a leader will be evident!

To read more about The Purpose of a Question read chapter eight of COACHING: A Way of Leadership, A Way of Life

George Yates is a coach and Church Health Strategist assisting organizations, churches, and individuals in reaching their God-given potential.

The question: a beautiful God-given masterpiece

Have you ever considered the purpose of a question? If asked on the street, most people would say the purpose of a question is to get an answer. But, is this a benefitable purpose? Maybe, if you are asking for directions, it is. Even in this scenario, you are receiving more than an answer. You are receiving valuable information directing your path. Think on this: when you ask for directions, you receive more than an answer – more than words. You receive a mental picture of what lies ahead. You receive intelligence that will lead you to a desired objective. This, in part, is the art of the question.

Let me ask this question: Is it not shallow and superficial of us to assume the only reason to ask a question is to get an answer? God gave us the beauty of the question for much more than simply to get an answer, as illustrated in the example above. The purpose of a question cannot be explained in one short definition. The purpose of the question is to unlock the mysteries of the mind, heart, soul, and will of every person in this world. The question is a beautiful God-given masterpiece. It is a palette of amazing colors for painting works of genius in the lives of those with whom we interact.

In Teaching That Bears Fruit, my first book, chapter four is titled The Art of The Question. When you ardently study the question, you learn that the question truly is a beautiful art form. Using properly formulated questions with correct timing you have the power to change someone’s life. All through the power of questions. With each question, you are providing the paint with which your others will be applying each stroke of the brush onto the masterpiece of his and her life. This is the fulfillment of properly deploying great questions.

Excerpted from chapter eight of COACHING: A Way of Leadership, A Way of Life.

George Yates is a church health strategist and coach assisting individuals, churches, and other organizations in fulfilling their God-given purpose.


Leading Through Higher Level Thinking

I believe an imperative for a teacher, leader, or coach is understanding the importance of engaging the higher order thought processes of those sitting in front of you. As a coach, leader, or teacher, I must engage your higher order thought processes if I expect you to gain anything from our conversation. Just what are these higher order thought processes?

Much of the thinking we use every day relies on static recall, not deeper level thinking. Static recall is reaching into the memory bank. But it does not stimulate portions of the brain which cause us to learn or process new information. Static Recall Example: What day of the week is today? To answer this, you needed to engage your brain to recall something you already have in your memory bank. However, it did not engage your brain in a learning exercise.

Cognitive learning example: What does Saturday mean to you? To answer this question, you must engage more than static recall. It does indeed engage static recall as you must first determine what a Saturday is. But to answer the question, your brain must go into a deeper processing mode. Your brain begins to extract files of activities you do on Saturday. While doing this it also begins categorizing those activities into things you enjoy and those you do out of necessity, like yard work, laundry, house cleaning. Our tendency is to file those things aside and begin focusing on the things we enjoy doing on Saturday, spending time with family, fishing, watching sports.

All of this is happening in your brain at lightning speed. Your brain is processing thousands of pieces of material you’ve collected over the years. All of this is taking place in seconds to help you formulate a response. Since the brain processes information in this manner to help formulate a response, should we not take care to formulate the right questions?

Because the question was, “What does Saturday mean to you?” you will formulate a response by combining several of the pieces of information processed by your brain in those quick, few seconds. For many, it will be something they have never thought of or processed before. This one question has produced a learning experience for everyone in the room. As a coach, I would then ask a question based off part of the client’s response. It would be a question leading to his desired outcome; perhaps a more productive life, more time with family, etc. Example: “How do you guard your Saturday’s so that you have that special time with your family?”  or “What can you do to guard against scheduling things that take you away from your family on Saturday?”

Engaging the higher order thought processes is the only way we can attach new information to what already exists in our memory bank. Learning does not occur when using static recall. If we cannot attach the new information to something we already know, learning cannot take place. When we use questions that engage the higher order thought processes in a group setting, the brain of every person in the room engages. As one person responds verbally, all the others continue to process information including what is being spoken. Even if only three out of 36 people speak, each person in the room is experiencing a learning encounter.

As a coach, leader, or teacher you must learn to actively engage the higher order thought processes of your listeners. Now that the wheels are turning in your own brain, it is time to think on formulating good thought provoking questions that will engage the higher order thought processes and provide behavioral life-changing opportunities for your clients/students.

This post is based on an excerpt from Chapter 7 of COACHING: A Way of leadership, A Way of Life. Click on the title to learn more and to purchase your copy.

George Yates is a Church health Strategist and Coach assisting organizations and individuals to fulfill their God-given purpose.



If you are not asking the right questions…

There is not much that I find more intriguing in the professional realm than studying and reading body language and deeper listening skills. However, the one thing that I am most passionate about is questions. To be more exact, my passion is the proper use of questions. Questions have been used since the beginning of time. However, in today’s cultures more often than not, the wrong questions are being asked. It is true. In interviews, coaching sessions, Bible study groups, planning meetings, even casual conversations, we are asking the wrong questions. Many times we are asking the wrong type of questions.

Perhaps the greatest tool God has given us for leadership and teaching is the question. Throughout history, the question has been unequivocally used in learning and leadership. Two thousand years ago, Jesus was using questions to lead, teach, and equip His followers and all who attended His “seminars.” With His use of questions, Jesus proved to be a Master Teacher and Leader. We can learn to use questions in the same manner.

 For more than thirty years I have been a student of the question. Through the years my studies have included the various types of questions, the wording of questions, delivery techniques of questions, voice tone and inflection, even the emotion of a question. I never want to lose my drive, my thirst for learning more about the proper use of questions. My reason is two-fold. First, I want to be a lifelong learner. Second, the more I can learn, the more I grow in my ability to help others.

As a coach and leader, learning to use the right type of question, formulated properly will be the determining factor of success in moving your clients (employees, family members) forward. Being able to properly formulate the right type of question and deployment of each question with perfect timing and order is more critical in moving someone forward than his response to your question. Let that sink in for a moment. Your coachee’s success is more determined by your choice and delivery of questions than his own response.

If you are not asking the right questions, your listeners are not going to be able to give the response needed to take them on the desired path for fulfilling their purpose – or accomplishing the task. Learning to ask the right question, in the right manner, will bring greater results and your leadership will be appreciated and respected.

This post is adapted from an excerpt from chapter seven of COACHING: A Way of Leadership, A Way of Life.

George Yates is a Church Health Strategist and coach assisting individuals, churches, and organizations in fulfilling their God-given purpose.


In conversation Our Feet Point to Where Our Mind Desires to Go

Have you ever noticed a person’s feet in a conversation? You should because your feet communicate to others in the room. These are in most scenarios, involuntary communicators, but they are communicating. When you want to know if a person is still engaged in the conversation, just look at his feet.

For instance, two or more men standing speaking with one another will almost always be standing with their feet squared to one another, toes pointing straight ahead. This is a male dominance feature. Shoulders and feet will be squared off facing the other gentleman. However, if a woman joins the conversation, one foot on each of the men will turn pointing to her. Usually the foot closest to her.

While your legs and feet may not be as openly apparent in communicating, they are actively communicating, whether you are standing or sitting. Look to see where a persons feet are pointing and you will see where their mind is moving – subconsciously. When a person’s feet are pointing towards the door or large window, you can be sure this person subconsciously desires to leave the conversation. It is as if he is planning his escape route. If you are at a social event and a person’s feet turn toward a food or drink table, her desire is to refresh her drink or go for the grub.

The way we cross our legs and position our feet when we are sitting communicate the subconscious as well. Men in the western hemisphere often cross their legs in what is known as the figure 4 or 4 cross position. This is one leg crossed over top of the other, with the sole of the shoe facing outward. This is a sign of dominance. Men like to sit and stand with dominant posture. However, in some eastern cultures to have your shoe sole visible like this is considered rude and inappropriate.

Men and women can be seen sitting with legs crossed at the ankles. Women most often have their knees together, a sign of modesty. Men on the other hand sitting with legs crossed at the ankles have their knees spread apart to occupy more space, again representing dominance.

Whether standing or sitting, our feet and legs are communicating much about what the mind is thinking. A person’s feet will often point to where the mind is wanting to go. If a man is standing with one foot pointing in a slightly different direction, look to see what is in that direction, the exit, the food table, the bar, or perhaps a woman. Our feet point to where our mind desires to go.

You can read more about the subconscious communication of the legs and feet in chapter 6 of COACHING: A Way of Leadership, A Way of life. The legs and feet are perhaps the most underestimated communicators of our body. Yet, whether a person is speaking or listening, the legs are communicating.

George Yates is a Church Health Strategist and coach assisting churches, organizations, & individuals in reaching their full God-given potential.

The Eyes Have It!

We speak about 100 words per minute, yet we have the capability to think at up to 800 words per minute. Where do you think those extra thought words go? Our brain is processing something. But what? At the same time that we are listening to someone speak, our brain is processing a myriad of other audible sounds as well. If we are close enough to hear it, our auditory system is processing it. Those sounds that we are not focused on, our brain is storing in another part of our memory cache.

The information we receive audibly is only a small portion of what is being communicated. The greatest receptors of what is being communicated is through our vision. Our eyes receive the majority of all that is communicated to us. As you learn how to read what the eyes of others are telling you, think on the communication of your own eyes. What your eyes and body language communicate, will play a considerable role in how others relate to you.

Our natural bent is to make eye contact for a few seconds, looking away briefly every 30-45 seconds. If someone’s speaking is enthralling to you, your eye contact may remain for longer periods. Continual eye contact is simply not in our DNA. But good eye contact is critical in communication. Good eye contact reveals trustworthiness for the listener and respect for the person speaking.

There also is much being communicated when a person breaks eye contact, even if only for a brief few seconds. Learning these communication points will lead you strongly in understanding the primary message of what is being verbally spoken. Learning these will also assist you in understanding what you might be communicating as you break eye contact.

Breaking eye contact is natural. Over the course of fourteen years in the corporate world I conducted more than 5,000 job interviews. This is where I first began studying body language and eye contact. There were several interesting lessons learned during that period.

One of those lessons dealing with breaking eye contact is an interviewee looking toward the exit. When the person you are speaking with is uncomfortable, it is common for that person to glance toward the exit door. Not once, but every few seconds. This is a subconscious action, but as the interviewer, I often found it amusing. Continual glancing toward the exit is a subconscious statement, “I do not want to be here.” It is as if that person is planning his escape route.

The eyes also reveal other pertinent information as they break eye contact. Certain eye movements without gazing at a particular spot or area of the room reveal some of the greatest non-verbal information you can capture. Chapter three in Coaching: A Way of Leadership, A Way of Life is titled, The Eyes Have It, gives an eye opening (no pun intended) view of what the eyes communicate and how to read this communication.


George Yates is a coach and Church Health Strategist assisting individuals, churches and other organizations in reaching their full God-given potential.