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Episode 036 – EntreLeadership Podcast Host And One Question Author Ken Coleman

Posted on Jan 19, 2017 by in Podcast Episode | 0 comments


Ken helps us understand the magic of questions, from conversations with our spouse or coworker, to interviews with Coach K and President Jimmy Carter.


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Hey everyone and welcome to the All-Star Leader Podcast, where together we learn about leadership from the best and brightest, and keep it fun by connecting it to our passion for sports!

Today it is my honor and privilege to have the opportunity to interview someone who Duke Coach Mike Krzyzewski called “a young Charlie Rose,” and Dave Ramsey has labeled “one of the best interviewers in the country. So no pressure on me right?

Ken Coleman is the host of the top rated EntreLeadership Podcast, a show that is part of the Ramsey Solutions organization, and carries the tagline “of leaders, by leaders, and for leaders…” He is not a fan of bios so we’re not going to spend any more time here except to say welcome. Ken thanks for coming on the show!


  1. As I mentioned in your introduction, your calling card is asking great questions. When did you become interested in asking questions, and what have you learned is the key to getting the best responses?
    1. Not a specific life moment
    2. Every human being comes into the world with curiosity; look at toddlers!
    3. He is unsatisfied with a lack of answers; his father and now he loves history and loves to learn
    4. A big moment came when he wound up interviewing Mike Krzyzewski at the last minute, when Coach K interrupted him and paid him a compliment with his interviewing
    5. Really, all questions are is a conversation. Maybe the stature of the guest is different and the questions are more specific, but really they’re just conversations
    6. The world would be a better place if we were having more specific conversations on purpose
    7. When we’re learning we’re growing and when we’re growing we’re doing good things
    8. (Daniel follow up on the Coach K interview – when it was clear he was saying something totally new)
      1. Ken asked him a question that took him down a rabbit trail on purpose; and he was engaging with him
      2. This gave him the confidence to ask a follow up question rather than simply read the next question on the card
    9. Ken went with his guest somewhere he was already going
    10. The lesson is: when you notice something in the client, child, spouse, team, the art of listening is absolutely crucial. You have to notice body language, intonation.
  2. You mentioned recently that one of the recent biographies you read was American Lion, about Andrew Jackson while in the White House. As a fan of the TV show The West Wing, my natural question is can you shed any light on Big Block of Cheese Day? But more seriously, what is it about biographies you find instructive and helpful?
    1. Usually about high achievers, notable, greats
    2. Focus on the humanness of these people; before they were who they became
    3. Normal people who took chances, made decisions, then stepped up to a good opportunity
    4. Likes to get the backstory
    5. Reading American Ulysses right now on the iPad, but does love hard copies. Favorite biographies are hard copies for sure
  3. In the same interview you mentioned your need for conversations, specifying several types that were key: challenging, encouraging, and laughing. It reminded me of Jim Valvano in his famous ESPY speech when he said if you can laugh, think and cry every day, that’s a heck of a day. Why are conversations so important for you and why each of those types of conversations?
    1. The three Es – Equipping, Encouraging, Entertaining
    2. Help people, make them feel better, and then make it enjoyable
    3. Doesn’t always have to be funny, but it definitively needs to be enjoyable
    4. If you have a staff meeting or a sales pitch to a client, these three Es will help
  4. Let’s dig into your 2013 book One Question:
    1. Why did you write the book and who is it for?
      1. For someone who wants to make a difference with their life
      2. Highlight the power of a question
      3. Highlight the power of a great answer
      4. Important to have the right person to answer the questions; he’s a bit skeptical of experts and instead is looking for experience. Experience defines expertise.
    2. You asked Pat Summit about handling failure, and her response focused on the importance of people. Tell us about that. (p. 65-68)
      1. Very simple yet powerful wisdom
      2. The great winners in life are actually great losers
      3. They hate it so much that they don’t ever want it to happen again, and they learn from it
      4. After a loss, she called her dad and asked what he thought, he said: “You can’t take donkeys to the Kentucky Derby.” Figure out how to get thoroughbreds and you can win championships.
      5. Same thing in business: get/develop great people and you’ll win
      6. Your company will never outgrow your own leadership; the great ones never stop growing
    3. You asked Tony Dungy how he maintained his integrity as he promoted up through the ranks of NFL coaching. Recall for us his response about accountability. (p. 133).
      1. Making sure that you have a strong system of accountability through people, practices
      2. People can look into your life in every area; don’t allow yourself to operate without people knowing what you’re doing
      3. Processes/principles are great guardrails to keep me out of the ditch
      4. You have to give people permission to ask you the hard questions and to kick you in the butt when you need it
      5. In the book you also connected this with the Penn State saga, and in 2016 you could certainly view the Baylor situation through the same prism. Connect the dots for us on that if you could.
    4. You asked Jimmy Carter about reinvention and he made a remarkable statement I would like to quote and then have you comment on: “One thing that I realized was that God gives every one of us adequate talent, ability, education, or wealth to conform to God’s will.” What did you take from that? (p. 181)
      1. He is a man with tremendous perspective, and that allowed him to rebrand himself (though that’s not what he was trying to do)
      2. Though history will not remember his presidency well, people will remember him well.
      3. He did not retreat; did not quit; gave his life to causes he believed in
      4. This can apply whether you have failed at something or if a wave of success has subsided
  5. Who have you not yet interviewed that you want to?
    1. Tiger Woods
    2. He hasn’t really ever done a definitive conversation that addresses his career from mountaintop to valley and trying to climb back up the mountain
    3. Would be fun to try and get that out of him
    4. He is guarded in interviews and it would be a huge professional challenge to try and get him to drop his guard and get answers we’ve never heard
    5. There’s a potential great redemption story in him
  6. Where can people go to learn more about you and The EntreLeadership Podcast?
    1. Facebook
    2. Twitter
    4. iTunes
    5. EntreLeadership Summit in May (Robert Herjavec, Lou Holtz, Simon Sinek, Dave Ramsey)
    6. One Question Book

Thank Yous/Acknowledgements:

  1. Antioch Live/Clear Day Media Groupmusic
    1. More here.
  2. Jonathan Davis – production
  3. Clint Musslewhite voice over

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