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 #5: Focus on one thing
As you move forward in your spiritual growth, stay focused. Concentrate on one thing at a time. Don’t think of everything you could possibly do to grow. Ask yourself, “What’s the fewest number of things I need to do to get the result I would like to see?”
As I’ve mentioned in previous blog entries, a tension often arises between meeting practical needs and making disciples. We are called to serve others and love them, no strings attached. Whether people respond to Jesus or not, we love and serve them no differently. And yet never sharing the gospel at all isn’t very loving either—that ignores the spiritual needs and strips the church of its core.
Yet I’ve found very few organizations that are able to balance compassion, service and justice on the one side without neglecting evangelism, disciple-making and church planting on the other side… or vice versa. The needs are so great that eventually you’ll go one direction or the other. It’s hard to keep the balance.
The 5 Rs I referenced in yesterday’s blog entry can also apply to the coaching relationship in a more macro sense. You build more of the relationship on the front end, you reflect to determine goals for the coaching relationship, you refocus to consider solutions, you resource to figure out a way to get there, then you review your progress at the end of the coaching relationship.
In a sense, the 5 Rs put a map in front of you. That map can be a bit disorienting at first until you figure out where you are and what the major landmarks are. But then when you clarify that and determine where you’re going, suddenly the map is immensely helpful. You can use it to chart a course.
Let’s say you have some coaching skills, but you want something to help you put those skills together—a way to be intentional, systematic, and consistent in your approach to coaching. For those who aren’t naturally organized, the best thing out there is having a structure to hang your skills on. With this kind of organizing principle, you can develop a rhythm that helps keep you on track during your coaching sessions.
Below is a general flow for any given coaching session, along with some basic process questions that can help you organize your thinking. You’ll have to make adaptations of course, but this structure can provide a general outline for most of your coaching sessions. I call them the 5 Rs.
Note: part of a series started April 22nd.
The third question my coach asked me about my new ministry was, “What’s the organizing principle?” Everything has to have an organizing principle of some kind. For one of my previous diatribes on this topic, see my April 13th blog entry.
Since I was already thinking of house churches, I then had to decide how those should be structured. There’s a continuum for house churches. On the far right is the cell celebration church: highly structured and organized, with everyone is in a cell. On the far left are the fully independent house churches: still seeking to multiply but with little to no connection between them.
When you’re discipling people who are in recovery, I’ve found that there comes a point when you have to shift gears. Once someone is well-established in recovery—not drinking or using but still wrestling with life issues—an important shift needs to happen in your leadership skills.
Early on in recovery, people often require a directive style. They need clear rules and structure to get on track—they need rails to run on. As they get healthier and more established in their recover and are past the major crisis points, they need the shift to a less-directive coaching style. This is the time to shift the responsibility for making decisions onto them. Allow them to listen to the Holy Spirit and process what he is saying to them. Exhibit trust in their capacity to hear that.