For many years, I thought that coaching took place when someone older and wiser told me what to do, and I did it. Whether it was on the basketball court, in my boy scout troop, or with the youth group, there were always plenty of people telling me what I should be doing, how I could do it better, and what would happen if I didn’t listen to them and their advice.
The dictionary defines coaching using a number of different words: “teach,” “prompt,” “urge,” or “instruct.”
Coaching today is taking on a new significance. When I was younger, I thought success would come when I didn’t need coaching anymore, when I had figured out exactly what I needed to do on my own.
Coaching however is so much more than just teaching. Coaching is most effective when three things happen:
#1) When there’s a relationship between the coach and the leader
As the relationship is built, it allows for trust to form. Trust enables honesty and vulnerability. When there’s a relationship, then there’s the opportunity to talk about real issues.
#2) When there’s dialogue and communication
When coaching is one-sided, then we miss out on the best application of what’s being taught and encouraged. You need to talk through the process, talk about how to integrate into your situation, talk about pro’s and con’s, even debate a little bit. If coaching is based on relationship, than communication is the best way to develop that relationship.
#3) When there’s evaluation
Just because someone is playing the role of a coach in your life, that doesn’t mean that they are always right. Evaluate what you’re doing. Ask tough questions. If it’s not working, come at it from a new direction. Coaching is a process, and it’s an ongoing process. Don’t be afraid to seriously evaluate all that you’re doing.
Coaching can be so much more than someone standing on the sidelines yelling at you and telling you what you need to do.
Real coaching offers you the opportunity for a lifetime of insight, help, support, encouragement, and, most importantly, someone to process with.
There’s a passage in Proverbs that talks about this:
Proverbs 15:22 “Without counsel plans fail, but with many advisers they succeed.” (ESV)
Look at the coaching relationships you have in your life and evaluate how they are going. If you don’t have people to speak into your life and into your leadership, find someone, and begin the process!
One last thing…. there is also a time, place, and purpose to the coach that stands on the sidelines and tells you what to do. We need to learn the basics. We need to learn to trust. Sometimes, we need to just be told what to do. However, as a leader, if this is the only kind of coaching that you’re getting, you’re missing out!