Lately I have been thinking a lot about the word Coach. I met with an Executive Coach to talk about my personal and professional growth; I have been meeting with a nutrition coach twice a week to stay accountable on my weight loss goals (I have lost over 8 pounds in two weeks); I am currently coaching about 18 small groups here at NewPointe Community Church. I also coach around 15 volunteer teams.
So what is up with coaching and why is it important in our lives? I have come to realize that I need other people to hold me accountable, encourage me, motivate me and push me to my full potential. On my own I tend to get off track and out of focus. I can easily lose track of the vision for my life, marriage, ministry, health and work. I can do OK and get by, but I can get easily distracted. If you have set up some goals for your life, I highly recommend finding a coach to help you achieve those goals. That can be a little different for everyone. For some people that may mean going out and hiring someone like a fitness trainer or executive coach. Or it may mean finding an accountability partner that will ask you tough questions on how you are doing. Others may need to find more of a mentor to learn from and give them advice.
When I think about a good coach, there are some qualities that stand out. You may think about sports when I say coach, but this applies to our everyday lives as well. So here are some thoughts on a good coach:
A good coach chooses players well. If you are leading people in any way, you are coaching them. A good coach sees the potential in people and can draw out that potential.
A good coach constantly communicates the game plan. They tell people what they expect of them. Give them an opportunity to perform, and be a part of the plan. They let them know how they are getting along, so they can learn and improve and then rewards them for doing a good job.
A good coach takes the time to huddle. Meeting with people on a regular basis is vital in any coaching relationship. I meet with my nutrition coach two times a week. It keeps my goals in front of me and keeps me accountable to do the hard work. Regular huddles improves focus, give you an opportunity to listen, and to make changes as needed.
A good coach knows what his players prefer. People value appreciation for a job well done. People also like the feeling that they are “in” on things. They also want to know that someone cares about them.
A good coach excels in problem solving. I look to my coaches to help me solve problems. I also try to help solve problems for the people I coach. Often times the people I meet with come up with their own solution, but they just needed someone to talk to and think through the problem.
A good coach provides the support needed for success. What I mean by that is you get everyone involved, give plenty of affirmation, simplify as much as possible and create momentum. Often this is done by sharing stories of success.
A good coach commands the respect of the players. The key here is trustworthiness. Building a trust relationship is vital. They let people know they care about them.
A good coach does not treat everyone the same. Sometimes a coach has to be firm and tough. Other times you need to be patient and kind. People all respond to different kinds of motivation and attention. They know their people well enough to understand how to motivate and encourage them.
A good coach continues to win. Good coaches focus on the basics and keep things simple. They focus on skills that will help the team be successful. To win you need to be willing to change and adapt and constantly recast the vision to your team.
Finally a good coach understands the levels of the players. Some players need direction, some need coaching, some need support and other can be delegated to. Knowing the team is vital.
Maybe you need to go find a coach like I did. Maybe you need to be a coach like I am. Maybe you need help in your marriage, your work, your ministry, your health, your relationships. Finding a good coach can really jump start you on your way to improving quickly. Maybe you need to be a coach to others, by sharing your wisdom and knowledge. In any case, coaching is important. If you want to go to the next level you need someone to coach you. Even Tiger Woods has a coach that he meets with on a regular basis. If Tiger needs to be coached then I need to be coached as well.