It’s difficult to separate the performance and achievements of any elite athlete from those who helped them discover and hone the talent and skill that led them to greatness. While Michael Jordan is a household name, you don’t have to dig too deeply before Phil Jackson’s name is mentioned. There’s the potential debate over who had more impact on Tiger Woods’ swing, Sean Foley or Hank Haney. And where would my personal favorite, Roger Federer, have ranked were it not for the influence of Peter Carter on his game?
The idea extends beyond the world of sports, too. So many iconic stories reflect the value of a guide on their protagonists. It’s Obi Wan to Luke Skywalker, Dumbledore to Harry Potter, Gandalf to Frodo, Maria to the Von Trapps.
You can’t get where you’re going if you don’t know where you are. That’s self-awareness and vision, right? Self-awareness is knowing where you are, the starting point you are leading from. Having vision is the ability to see where your preferred future leads and to invite others into those possibilities; it’s knowing where you’re going.
Can you get there without a guide? Sure. The truth is that God has created you with a unique makeup of gifts, skills, and passions that can serve you incredibly well as you lead. But, could you get there more quickly, more effectively, with fewer scars, and with healthier relationships intact if you have a coach to help you along the way? It’s almost certain.
Everyone needs a coach. And here’s why:
1. You Have Vision, But You Can’t See Everything
A coach has the gift of perspective on your blind spots. No matter the amount of work you have done around understanding yourself, your motivations, and your triggers, no matter the depths to which you are passionate about your mission and your organization, there are both shortcomings and opportunities that you can’t see (or see fully.) Humbly asking a coach to speak into your blind spots will set you up for exponential growth.
2. You Have Insight, But You Don’t Know Everything
A coach has a question you haven’t thought to ask. Scripture repeatedly refers to the wisdom of seeking counsel and advice, and the benefits of the humility it takes to actually listen to and apply it. You weren’t called to know everything or to have every answer. You weren’t called to carry your burdens on your own. If you pressure yourself to that end, you’ll buckle under the weight of it. Trusting someone else to interrogate your plans and to advise your steps will allow you to go far and avoid pitfalls
3. You Are Good, But You Could Be Better
It’s like the point at which I decided to hire a tennis coach. Not only do I enjoy playing tennis, but I have enough natural skill (not that I would call myself good or even competitive, but at least good enough) at it that it feels like a worthwhile investment of time and energy. I knew that with the right instruction, the observations and adjustments that I couldn’t make on my own, I could get better. The same is true for you as a leader. You’re good. God would not have called you to the work you’re doing and entrusted you with those you’re leading if you weren’t. AND you can be better. We all can. It’s the truth scripture refers to in Proverbs 27:17, “As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.” You are already iron. By submitting to the friction and challenge of coaching, you can become sharper.
A beautiful thing about the time in which we live is that coaching is more readily available than ever before. You can find a book, audiobook, or YouTube tutorials to guide you through just about anything! There are cohorts, masterminds, and one-on-one environments in which to seek guidance. Not all coaching is created equal, though. My encouragement to you is simply this: take some time to pray about and consider in what area of your life and leadership do you need coaching and who would you trust to speak into it?
Keep leading well!
Jenni Catron and The 4Sight Group
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