I am looking for a word that describes someone that exhibits nurturing qualities (as in wants those around him/her to improve and get better) but has high expectations for those same people. Essentially a parental figure, but in a more business-sense. My current working word is coach, but I think I could do better. Thanks for any insight.


2 Answers 2


I think you want the word 'disciplinarian'. It sounds a bit clinical, but it effectively conveys the meaning of "willing to provide adequate corrective action without undue harshness".

Although it comes from the world of martial arts, 'sensei' is also often used even in non-martial-arts contexts to mean "learned guide who is willing to take disciplinary action for the sake of his charges' well-being".


An article titled "The 3 Types of Parenting Styles" describes parents as being either authoritative, authoritarian, or permissive. The description of someone who's authoritative sounds like what you're looking for:

Authoritative parents are firm, loving and kind. They set boundaries and expect their children to abide by them. Neither overly strict nor overly indulgent, authoritative parents strike a good balance between expectations that are too high and expectations that are too low. These parents allow their children to make choices that are age-appropriate, encouraging them to take on more responsibility as they grow. They respond well to the needs of their child, but do not give in to every desire. They give their child reasons for certain rules and guidelines, and allow natural consequences to take place whenever feasible and when no real harm will come to the child due to those consequences. According to the Cornell University Cooperative Extension, children of authoritative parents often display social competence, independence and a high sense of responsibility as they grow into young adults. [emphasis mine]

Although the word is being used in the context of parenting here, it's certainly applicable to other situations as well, including a business setting.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.