Ever hear the following questions…
“Can you give me some advice?”
“I have some things I would like to run by you to get your take…”
“I’m stuck. I’m not sure what to do. Can we talk?”
“Would you like to get a cup of coffee sometime?”
All of these statements point to one thing for me… and that is coaching.When I hear someone asking questions like these, I immediately think can I, or someone else, sit down and coach this person?
The problem with sitting down with someone and telling them what to do (advice) is that if they follow through and actually do it but don’t get the results they want, they simply blame you and don’t take responsibility for what has happened. If they don’t like your solution and choose not to do it, they are in the same place, but potentially now there is some awkwardness because they didn’t take your advice. Maybe they clam up and stop sharing because they perceive you will be upset with them for not listening to you.
“Telling” someone what to do rarely helps all that much. It lets the other person off the hook for really exploring their thoughts and emotions thoroughly and provides a scape goat if things don’t work out in their favor.
Friendship, parenting and other relationships often look like a dance of withholding information from someone else because you don’t want to “get a lecture.” We often look for the “experts” in an area to ask our questions. That’s why talk shows, blogs and self help books exist. The nice thing about just exploring what the experts say is that you don’t have to get personally involved with anyone, you won’t let anyone down if you don’t take their advice, and you don’t have to submit to accountability. (Ephesians 5:21)
Accountability has become a bad word in our culture. It has come to represent judging others, maybe being a hypocrite, lacking grace, or a “religious spirit.” It’s very damaging to work in an environment that doesn’t hold employees accountable. It actually means diminished profits and a work ethic that sags with the weight of entitlement. A marriage without accountability can spin out of control into extramarital affairs or unhealthy emotional attachments. Friendships without accountability wane as trust drains away when expectations aren’t met. Hurt begins to take over without the courage to confront and give voice to the pain that the other person has caused. These friends just see less and less of each other – not because they are “busy,” but because the friendship doesn’t seem as safe.
What we have found over the years is that the admonishing of one another can happen in a healthy way in a “coaching context.”
Colossians 3:16 says, “Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts.”
The coaching paradigm that we teach is a mentoring/coaching model, meaning that at times you ask for permission to introduce a concept, a truth, a verse, or other fact to the conversation, then put your “coaching hat” back on to ask them questions. We believe that admonishing others is important, but we want to do that in such a gentle way that the Holy Spirit will be the one to provide the aha moment, not us taking the Word of God and beating people down with it. John 16:13 tells us that one of the roles of the Holy Spirit is to guide us into all truth. If we can ask the right questions of someone, the Holy Spirit will begin to provide the insights, answers and breakthrough moments.
As we approach our coaching workshop that I (Andrew) will be teaching, it is important that you begin to understand a bit more about what coaching really is. One great thing about coaching is that you don’t have to be more skilled in a certain area than the person you are coaching. The truth is that I could coach someone who was a rocket scientist if I needed to without having completed more than high school chemistry. That is possible because I am asking them questions, not giving advice or answers. Most people have the truth already in their hearts. They just need someone to help them discover it.
I strongly encourage you to consider our coaching workshop on Friday evening May 4th, and Saturday May 5th. It is an experiential, fun way to learn by coaching other people in the workshop. By the end of our time you will know that you can carry a coaching posture into conversations and truly help people the way you have always wanted to help them, but feared you just weren’t sharp enough to know what to say.
You can signup at our website at www.ncchico.org, or call our church office at 343-6006.