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Empower Coaching – Coaching for You

Ask the Coach!


Dear Coach,

I just don’t get it! I remember my days from playing sports, and my coach did not ask questions or ask me what I thought. He directed me where to go and told me what to do, and if I did not do it right, he yelled and screamed at me. Forgive me, but that is the last thing I need in my life. I already have many people telling me what to do in my life. The last thing I need is one more voice giving me advice or getting on me for not doing it “right.” My spouse, chairperson of deacons, music director, and 90-year-old church patriarch are already telling me enough!


Worn Out from Advice

Dear Worn Out from Advice,

I agree with you! You do not need another voice telling what you do. Here is good news for you! A coach does not advise or tell you what to do.

Yes, I had those same type of sport’s coaches in life. They yelled and screamed! They told me where to go and what to do! And we even won lots of games. Some of them are still good friends today. They, though, did not do the kind of coaching we are discussing.

Leadership and life coaching, though, are different. I have often wondered why those who began this type of coaching used the same metaphor as sports because it is so different.

Did you know that the concept of coaching, though, does not come from sports? The derivative of the word or phrase goes back to the Middle Ages when a coach was used for transportation. Someone would hire a “coach” to take them from one place to another. They had a destination in mind for their journey, and the “coach” would be their vehicle to get them from where they were to where they planned to go. The term was not used in sports until the mid-19th century to represent a person who led a team of rowers. Then, over the next fifty years, many sports adopted the term for their teams and moved its meaning in a different direction.

So, when coaching began as a discipline in leadership and business, the term went back to its original meaning – assisting a person in moving from where they were to where they wanted to go. Tim Gallway also influenced the use as he wrote a book called The Inner Game of Work, which built on his experiences coaching individual athletes to find their sweet spot through a three-pronged approach – awareness, trust, and choice. He transferred those insights into helping business professionals to fine-tune their leadership approach and results.

The International Coaching Foundation now defines coaching as “partner with clients in a thought-provoking and creative process that inspires them to maximize their personal and professional potential.” When you invest with a Christian coach, you will have a “thought partner” who walks alongside you as you reach the potential for God’s call and direction. I promise there will not be any screaming or directing or telling you what to do. Coaching is about helping you establish where you are and move toward that dream or vision that God has for your life.

Again, I don’t blame you for not wanting one of those athletic coaches who shouts at you or tells you more ways you are deficient. We have enough of those in our life.

Let’s instead find coaches who are investment partners in the journey in which God has called us. She or he will be someone who stretches your thinking, encourages you to move forward, and shouts in victorious ways when you reach the visions and dreams God has given to you.