I can’t remember the number of times I’ve heard my husband tell me how difficult it is to coach people who either do not want to be coached, or who are not ready to be coached. That’s why at the start of any potential coaching engagement, he asks clients to do a ‘coachability’ test. My husband simply does not want to waste his time people who do not want to change.
Friedman takes this idea one step further. He believes leaders should focus on changing themselves first rather than on those who are simply “unmotivated to change.” Instead of focusing one’s energy on trying to change an organisation or individual, focus instead on becoming a ‘well-differentiated leader’, differentiation that refers to a direction in life rather than a state in being. According to the author, differentiation is “charting one’s own way by means of one’s own internal guidance system, rather than perpetually eyeing the ‘scope’ to see where others are at.”  It’s an idea that is more to do with emotional being, strength and the fabric of a person’s existence, rather than a person’s behaviour. It is evident through:
- Being clear about one’s own personal values and goals
- Taking maximum responsibility for one’s own emotional being and destiny rather than blaming others or the context
- The capacity to take a stand in an intense emotional system
- Maintaining a non-anxious presence in the face of anxious others. 
This kind of leader has the capacity to influence others through his or her very nature, their presence or ‘being’. Such a leader’s presence (‘self’) can influence an entire organisation, without even needing to be in close in physical proximity to all concerned. As Friedman writes, “leaders function as the immune systems of their institutions…the crucial issue of leadership in democratic societies may not be how much power they exercise but how well their presence is able to preserve that society’s integrity.” 
Basically, Friedman believes that the world needs the kind of leaders with maturity of character over college qualifications. Individuals who are not conflict-avoidant, or care more for people’s feelings than the well being of an institution. Leaders who possess the courage to take responsibility for their own lives, who are decisive, self-regulated, persistent, possess vision and clear principles, and can take well-defined stands. For Friedman, this kind of self-differentiated leaders is important because a “leader’s self is essential to the integrity of a community.” 
Overall I found A Failure to Nerve a great follow on from Exit, Voice and Loyalty. In summary, well-differentiated leadership:
Focuses on strength; is concerned for one’s own growth; works with motivated people; matures the system; seeks enduring change; is concerned to define self; is fed up with the treadmill; looks at one’s own stuckness; is challenged by difficult situations; recognizes that reactivity and sabotage are evidence of one’s effectiveness; has a universal perspective; sees problems as the focus of pre-existing anxiety; adapts towards strength; has a challenging attitude that encourages responsibility; is more likely to create intimate relationships.  That’s the bar to conquer, the standards to reach, the challenge of maturity to attain that Friedman has set. It seems an impossible task, yet the need for this kind of leadership is so great, one cannot hide. May God give me the power of His presence, to empower mine.
 Edwin H. Friedman, A Failure Of Nerve: Leadership In The Age Of The Quick Fix (New York, NY: Church Publishing, 2007) 183
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