Saturday, March 26, 2016

The Ethical Coach Leader by Dwight Johnson: A Review

BOOK TITLE: The Ethical Coach Leader

AUTHOR: Dwight Johnson

ISBN/ASIN: 978-1681020709

GENRE: Adult fiction


FORMAT: Digital / PDF


HOW I GOT THIS BOOK: I thank Laura of iRead Book Tours for this review copy.


Ethics are a growing concern in all sectors of American culture. From businesses to all levels of schooling, as well as nonprofit companies, the values that guide business and teaching criteria are under scrutiny. But, does it take a scholarly textbook to understand how to create an ethical culture? No, Dwight Johnson has delved into the problems and presents practical solutions in his easy to read book, The Ethical Coach Leader: Developing Honor and Integrity.

A fiction book that has universal application, Johnson creates an intriguing story about a college coach who finds out that his star athlete failed a steroid test, putting the coach in the cross hairs of an ethical dilemma. During a couple of restless nights of sleep, Coach is visited by five ghosts: the Ghost of Example, the Ghost of Education, the Ghost of Experience, the Ghost of E-information, and the Ghost of Environment. Each has different advice for Coach on how to resolve his ethical dilemma. With the dreams haunting his every waking moment, Coach also seeks advice from two of his former mentors. The lessons Coach learns can be applied to any industry, business, school or individual life.

The Ethical Coach Leader challenges cultural mindsets and introduces new ideas on how to apply desperately needed teachings in ethics, integrity, honor and good character. This is a must read book for anyone who has influence on others or is in a leadership role.


Ethics - the word itself draws various emotions these days. Drastic lifestyle changes and morality has changed the definition and limits of many codes of conduct, and one of the first codes to change as per need is Ethic - something that has no solid, clear, definition and can be moulded according to will in modern days, to suit the needs of the person and their perspective.

Which is why it is doubly hard to write a book on Ethics, risking sounding preachy and managing to convey the content in as clean and entertaining a way possible. In competitive fields, ethics have become so volatile that using sports as an example to talk about ethics immediately piqued my interest.

The book's cover held my attention with a single whistle, or as I would like to think, an universal symbol for coaches all over the world. The summary is concise and intriguing too.


A sports coach from a college finds out that one of his students has failed a steroid test. While this might seem like a normal issue that could happen to anyone these days, the coach is troubled because the potential star player has ruined not only his future in sports but also the morals of his team mates. While he is mulling over the right way to deal with this issue, he is restless and plagued by confusing thoughts. Enter five ghosts, as named in the summary, a la Charles' Dicken's Christmas Carol. They show the coach the right path by pointing out incidents from the past and his own life when he should have done what he could have done and clear the mind.

A simple story like this had a great chance to attract the attention of the reader and get the point across rather than long winding stories debating the possibilities and difficulties in following a code of ethics. The illustrations add a charm to the simple narrative and the book comes across as a piece of well meaning fiction rather than a preachy monologue. Blending fiction with life lessons is tricky business. Most often, importance is given to the development of the characters that are the backbone of the fiction and still manage to convey the life lesson without eliciting contradictory reactions from the reader.

Johnson has managed to pen a story and keep it moving. The coach and his students seemed more like point place examples to simplify rules that can be applied anytime, anywhere. Ethics are universal and a way of life rather than just a bunch of codes that define conduct. In the time when more and more people are losing sight of what is ethical and unethical and heated debates are begun at the drop of a hat regarding one person's right ethic becoming another person's cause for discerning, this book is as good as (and even better than) any self help book or righteous code of conduct book that tells the reader how to behave. By using a relatable story, the parable has become a solution that is shown rather than advised.

Ethical and Moral dilemmas are faced every day in almost every situation nowadays and maintaining a neatly ethical path is difficult for anyone. But with the right attitude, a fine balance can be struck between both, managing to maintain those that are common to every human, devoid of religion, race, gender, politics and nationality. Kudos to the author for writing a simple, clean easy to read book.

Am I going to complain about having to remember too much of Ebenezer Scrooge while reading this? Nah, not really. The story is worth the read.

  • The concept of the book
  • Usage of an age old classic's inspiration for a modern tale
  • The illustrations


A modern day parable about ethics and their application in day to day life. Good thinking to mix fiction and reality.

RATING: 4.2/5


Dwight Johnson resides in Colorado Springs where he works at the United States Air Force Academy. He is a retired Air Force Lt. Colonel who was a Squadron Commander three times and a Division Chief twice. He also served as the Department Head of Services at the Air Force Institute of Technology, where he taught Customer Service and Total Quality Service.

​In 2012, Dwight was awarded the General Billy J Boles Mentorship Award for the Air Force Academy for mentoring cadets.


PRICE $12.95 for Paperback


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