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The Power of Coaching

A friend whom I greatly respect, Daniel Allen, posted this today:

THE POWER OF COACHING
Thursday, June 7, 2012 at 2:00AM

I learned a few years back that “all the pros have coaches.” Toward the end of his career Michael Jordan had a team coach, fitness coach, and free throw-shooting coach. Arguably the greatest player of all time – and he had three coaches. Incredible.

What is coaching?

The International Coach Federation defines coaching as “partnering with clients in a thought-provoking and creative process that inspires them to maximize their personal and professional potential.”

What do coaches do?

They engage relationally with leaders, observing and asking questions about how the leader thinks and works. They draw out what’s already in the leader, and it’s often what the leader can’t see or trust in herself. While mentors put in, coaches draw out.

To put it another way, coaches facilitate people in their commitment, enthusiasm, and growth for accomplishing the objectives they set. In some ways, coaching is what Jethro did with Moses in Exodus 18 – he helped Moses find a way to work that would achieve the needed results without wearing out Moses or the people in the process. Granted, he put on an advisor’s hat along the way, but he comes pretty close to coaching.

Not the same as athletic coaching

Coaching those you lead, or experiencing the power of coaching for yourself, is not the same as being coached in athletics. In athletics the coach tends to make executive decisions, call plays, and issue orders. This is not the same as fostering personal responsibility for personal and professional development. There’s some overlap, but not a lot.

Do you have a coach? Would you like to? What have you learned about the power of coaching in your life?

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I like a lot of what Dan is saying here.  The example of MJ is clear – he had a constellation of coaches who helped him focus, be more efficient, effective, intentional and more impacting, becoming the best he could be… and I suspect those coaches worked in collaboration together.

Not sure I totally agree with the athletic comparison, as a coach, a program leader, and mentor for young men in sport and mission, I see far more to compare than contrast.  My role formerly as a soldier also leads me to even more comparison.

What I do say is that leaders need a constellation of coaches.  I have several in mine.  Amongst those coaches, I’d strongly recommend you develop an anamchara – the old Celtic idea of a spirit friend… not a peer, but a mentor who has your best interest, a spiritual parent, a guide, a challenger, encourager, one who takes you beyond what you think, feel, limit, believe to where you need to go – which implies they’re ahead of you in the game.  AND that this Anamchara’s voice be louder than the others, but not without standing up to the coaching of others.

So, what you gonna do about it?

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