It’s a broad umbrella term that encompasses leading, managing and coaching. Simply put, leadership is influencing others toward a desired outcome, positive or negative.

So then what’s the difference between a leader, a manager and a coach?

In today’s society, a greater degree of respect seems to be given to those who classify themselves as leaders than to those who are considered managers or coaches. Textbooks and journal articles alike encourage us to be transformational leaders.

How we go about leading and influencing others matters. The way we go about interacting with our teams and others we work with makes a difference in our overall communities and environments. As for me and my experiences, I intend to change the world with my leadership skills. Allow me to provide three examples of coaching, managing and leading where no recognition was passed out, no accolades were heard, and no pay raise was given. Yet the overall results and implications made a difference for me and those around me. Through coaching, managing and leading, we can inspire positive change.

1. Coaching

I have a 75-year-old disabled friend, Eugene. For years, I have elected to be both coach and friend to this wonderful man. It amazes me to witness his struggle in so many areas of life, and yet still be amazed by his knowledge and love for hockey. He knows the players, their positions and their numbers of his favorite teams. Last season, we attended a hockey game together, and what a great time we had.

We coach each other, but our coaching styles look differently. I coach him on the simpler things in life like looking both ways before crossing a street and not talking with a mouth full of food. Conversely, Eugene coaches me on the more complex issues of life such as unconditional love and equality.

My name will never go down in the coaching hall of fame nor will I be found among life’s most influential coaches. But I know, even in some small way, that I have made a difference by empowering and motivating others.

2. Managing

As a happily married couple for over 30 years, my wife and I have had the privilege of raising three great kids. Our collective efforts for the past 24 years have allowed us to manage our household well. From diapers to diplomas and everything in between, raising a family is a colossal undertaking that involves finances, nurturing, motivation, discipline, logistics, creativity, teaching, leading, coaching and loving. Managing in this sense involves coordinating different parts of life to operate well and provide opportunities to thrive. The same can be said in a leadership role.

Managing is indeed a crucial component of leadership, and its influence must not be undermined. Whether in a business or family setting, management skills help you to live life well.

3. Leading

Five years ago, my family and I had the opportunity to make a difference in West Michigan. After much prayer and deliberation, we decided to fill a void in our community by starting a church. I was able to garner the support of six like-minded families who became the nucleus for this new church plant.

Amazingly, we were able to start this church with both a building and a pastor. Today, we own the building, have a new full-time pastor and are experiencing growth both spiritually and numerically. Yes, I was the one leading, but in leading, who was I ultimately following? For me it was God. Leaders also serve as followers.

Grow in Leadership That Makes a Difference

As a leader, you have a responsibility in influencing others toward a positive outcome. This leadership takes on the roles of managing, coaching and of course, leading others. Through these examples, we’ve seen how simple acts of leadership can have important implications.

Whether you’ve served a leadership role for leaders or just starting out in your career, gaining practical experience through a degree program can equip you with the tools and skills in being a difference-maker in your world. From a B.S. in Organizational Management to an M.A. in Organizational Leadership, you can take your next step in serving others and thriving as a leader. Learn more about continuing your educational path by connecting with our enrollment team.