Proverbs 20:5 The purposes of a man’s heart are deep waters,
but a man of understanding draws them out.
This strikes me as being at the core of the Coaching that I’ve been studying for the past couple of years. Coaching differentiates among teaching, counseling, and coaching, with something of a sliding scale of authoritarianism. Teaching essentially says, here are the facts, so listen up. Counseling says, wouldn’t this be a better way to do that? However, Coaching tries to get the person to realize the facts themselves, rather than having them inserted from outside. In the long run, that is demonstrably the most effective method of effecting real change. Teaching and counseling are certainly not wrong, and are often very helpful, but for deep-seated issues they can feel like bouncing a tennis ball off a concrete wall. It is when the person himself has an Aha! moment that things really start to change. Frankly, that can be very difficult to bring about. The only one who can really get in there and accomplish that is the Holy Spirit, so prayer is essential on the part of the Coach. We need to speak the truth in love at all times, but always with the prayer that those to whom we speak will recognize the truth themselves and speak it to themselves and others. When that happens, there will be real deliverance, healing, and growth.
It has been very important and helpful that I’ve been exposed to this Coaching concept, because by gifting I am a Teacher – the most authoritarian of them all! I am used to being the one who is right, period, and that can cause all sorts of negative reactions. Especially as a pastor, that can be very undesirable. The ideal situation for me is when people come to me desiring to be taught. That can be enjoyable indeed for me, at any rate. Both as a school teacher and as a pastor, I find people run quite a gamut in that area, from those who are wide open to those who are like black walnuts, which literally need to be run over with a car to crack the shell, and even that doesn’t do it sometimes. I also do a good bit of counseling, particularly in marriage. When there is felt need, some people can soak that up like sponges, but others are like a dishcloth that is so full of oil that it’s hard even to get it wet. Coaching, properly done, is effective for everyone, and that is my goal and prayer. In distinct contrast to Teaching, I must not come across as having all the answers, but as one who is still growing myself. Just as a sports coach perhaps can’t actually do the things they are training the athlete to do, I don’t have to be perfect to be a good coach. I will be at my most effective when I realize that I am as much in need of the grace of God as anyone else, but His grace is not only available, (Hebrews 4:16) it’s all we need. (2 Corinthians 12:9)
Father, thank You for this reminder. Thank You indeed for exposing me to the concept of Coaching. This morning I will be teaching a classroom full of student nurses. Help me not just lecture, but also draw out of them the “deep water” You have already put there, so that they may be equipped and energized to serve as You intend, for the blessing of many and for Your glory. Thank You. Praise God!