This blog entry is part of a seven-part series on some of the central principles of coaching… from the perspective of the one receiving the coaching. How can we get the most out of our coaching relationship?
Principle #7: journey with others
Even though the journey toward maturing spirituality is something we often think of as doing alone in prayer, or maybe with one other person, we are never really alone in the journey of faith. We are part of the larger body of Christ, learning from others, teaching others, and learning through our experiences and relationships with others.
Quite a few years back when I was finishing up a big project, someone pointed out to me that my drivenness to get the thing done was wearing others out. That comment caused me to reflect on my workaholism and perfectionism and make some adjustments. I recognized the impact that what I do has on others, and that was an opportunity for growth.
Who do you have in your life currently that has permission to speak freely about what they’re seeing? How willing are you to listen, reflect, and change? Sometimes God speaks to us most clearly through those we allow inside our lives.
My wife, a very wise woman, keeps in mind three important strategies for maintaining long-term success in ministry. These apply no matter what kind of ministry you’re involved in, whether you’re leading a network of churches, organizing a small group service project, or teaching the kids’ class.
- Remember that listening is an ongoing process. Continue to ask questions of others, read, pray, and listen to the Holy Spirit. Don’t fear change, but be open to new ideas and different perspectives.
- Strengthen relationships with your coworkers. You need peers to support one another and pray together. Build friendships, and be sure to always be mentoring someone to take your place if need be.
Relational health and harmony is extremely important when working with teams. To create and maintain that quality on your team, one of the most important skills you can learn—and teach—is to listen well. If you can learn that, then you can model good listening skills for your team and help them use that skill with one another.
James, the brother of Jesus, gives us the golden rule of communication: “My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry.”
Too much to do? Confused about what to do first? Let’s run through the process of taking stock of our lives as they currently are. Start by considering existing responsibilities and important relationships. Do we have children? A spouse? Aging parents? Health limitations? Financial obligations? At different seasons of life, the answers to these questions may be quite different. But what are those answers right now?
Given our current situation in life, how can we best fulfill our responsibilities while still living as God has designed us to live? Sometimes it can feel like different aspects of our lives seem to be competing for our time and attention. When that happens we will need to make choices.
Jesus not only lived among those he served, he truly interacted with them at a personal level. He treated people as individuals and engaged in conversations with them around issues that mattered to them. Here are some of the observations I made as I read the gospels with an eye toward how Jesus engaged with others:
- Jesus engaged in spiritual conversations (Matt 22:34-40, John 4:1-42)
- Jesus expressed his emotions honestly (Matt 21:12, Luke 19:41, Mark 6:34, Matt 23:37)
- Jesus loved his friends (John 11:1-44)
- Jesus engaged people where they were at, not where he thought they should be (Matt 9:9).