Thursday, May 3, 2012

My Last Plug on Coaching

Most people have heard of Michael Jordan.  Even if they know nothing about the game of basketball, it is likely that they would know that he was one of the best players to ever play the sport. Was it just his natural ability that propelled him into this position? Did he innately have everything he needed to become one of the world's best athletes, or did he achieve his his potential partly because of something else?

 Basketball experts have said that Michael Jordan, as naturally talented and gifted as he was, didn't reach his potential until he was coached by Phil Jackson.

What was it about coaching that did this? 

  • Coaching helps people focus on what they are uniquely designed to be. 
  • Coaches are helpful change experts who push you to think, act and become what God has already put within you. 
  • Coaching affirms our maturing and discovery process.
  • Coaching affirms failures as great learning moments. 
  • Coaching is listening and asking good questions.                                                   
Can these things happen outside of an "official" coaching relationship?  Absolutely, and it does every day! In bits and pieces throughout our lives, we hopefully have people and experiences that resemble the above list.  This is not some new phenomena, or limited to those of us coaching as a profession and ministry. Some aspects of what I listed happen frequently in many different contexts of fellowship and our relationships.

 The difference is that the coaching I'm talking about is intentional and skilled

It doesn't just happen here and there, at random, or on occasion. It is the purpose of the relationship.  Just like Michael Jordan and Phil Jackson - they were partners with a specific purpose, and that was to see just how good Michael could become at the game of basketball.

A good coach's gifts and abilities are both given AND honed. Coaching is a skill that is developed and improved with use and time.  It's more than the gift of encouragement.  In fact, I think many times that we need challenge more than encouragement.  Change often doesn't feel so good, but necessary for growth. 

My husband is my greatest encourager, who loves and supports me in multiple ways - but he is not so good at asking me questions that provoke my thinking.  Although I'm sure there are things he would like to change about me or challenge me on - he really doesn't. He is awesome, and he is a wonderful encourager - but he is not a coach.

My friend and coach John White, is great at challenging my thinking and drawing things out of me with great questions - but I'm not always "feeling the love"of encouragment in our difficult conversations.

 One is not a coach, but a great encourager.  The other a great coach, but not always encouraging.

I need both.

 I'm grateful for both of these men in my life, using their gifts, skills and abilities to help me grow and mature in Christ.  Encourager and coach.  If you'd like to try coaching with me, you can begin that journey here  After this post, I'm back to writing about all things simple, organic and missional, and maybe a few other interesting topics on this wonderful journey in Christ.

"Build up, build up, remove every obstacle out of the way of my people," Isaiah 57:14

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