Six Thoughts on Coaching
by Linda Morrison
I’ve recently added “Life Coach” to my resume. One of the elements I most enjoy in coaching is witnessing the ‘Ah-ha!” moments with the client — that moment when she discovers the correct steps to making change in her life. As a coach, we don’t give the client the answers. She instead must discover answers as the coach asks essential questions.
Many of the women I have encountered carry a sense of entitlement as they seek the answers. I find it necessary to redirect them.
As a leader in today’s church, I have seen both leaders and those we lead operate in this realm of entitlement. When we make a demand rather than a request, we are assuming a place of superiority, an inappropriate position in which we are in essence saying “I deserve certain privileges.”
When I attended Zion Bible Institute, now Northpoint Bible College, one of my greatest desires was to be part of the traveling choir. Finally, I received a postcard at mail call from the college’s choir director. It simply read “You are chosen.” I was elated. I had been part of the college’s other choir and had solos my previous two years. Yet, I never believed I deserved to be part of the traveling choir. Rather, I had an innate longing to be part of it — and felt honored when chosen.
At the end of the school year, when we prepared to go on the road for a couple of weeks, we were asked to read Calvary’s Road by Roy Hession. We reiterated two words from that book throughout the trip: “No rights!” On a bus with several students, we didn’t have time for everyone to have what they felt entitled to. I have never forgotten that lesson.
Didn’t Jesus teach the same thing? In Matthew 20, the mother of Zebedee’s children came with her sons, worshipping God, but at the same time, desiring something of Him. She wanted both her sons to sit on either side of Jesus in His kingdom. Now, wouldn’t any mother want that? Jesus ensues with the statement, “You don’t know what you are asking!” The other ten disciples become indignant.
Jesus called them together and said, “the rulers in this world lord it over their people, and officials flaunt their authority over those under them. But among you it will be different. Whoever wants to be a leader among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first among you must become your slave. For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve…” (Mark 10: 42-25, NLT).
From this passage we discover six thoughts to consider as we lead, mentor, or coach someone who possesses an entitlement mindset:
- Realize that people often don’t know what they are asking (just as Jesus stated to the mother of Zebedee’s children). If you’re a leader, those you lead may not realize the extent to which they are burdening you. When a person makes demands, it is usually because of deep-seated fear. Maybe they will let someone else down if they do not convince you to give them what they wish. Maybe their wish is someone else’s command and not their own.
- Realize the root of their insecurity. That person requires constant admiration. We all know at least one person who constantly berates another to make themselves look good. Or there’s the “name dropper.” Despite their salvation and knowledge of His great love and death on the cross for them, they have not come to a realization of God’s true love and their security in Him, either because of their past or the lack of an earthly Father’s love.
- Realize the need for recognizing where everything comes from. From where do all our blessings come? From where does our help come? ”Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning” (James 1:17, KJV). Everything that we receive from God is an honor, not a right. Point those you lead to the Source of all our gifts.
- Realize that our culture today fosters selfishness. We were called to come out and be separate. The world, through its many commercials and advertisements, tells us that we need a certain item or we must have this or that to be on par with everyone else. Most of us long to be superior. We do not want to feel “less than.” Our new phrase of the day becomes “I deserve.” We, as a sisterhood, must show the world that happiness is not found in the newest fad or style. True happiness lies in knowing the One Who was selfless and came to bring us life eternal, not just momentary satisfaction.
- Realize when you are being manipulated. Sometimes people will expect favors of us and take advantage of us to get what they want — for their gain and promotion. We may recognize it or be totally oblivious to it. They may try to induce guilt or sympathy by using a spiritual bend to impel us to fulfill their needs or desires. We must be aware and gently let them know we love them, and want to help them, but that we have every confidence in their ability to work out the problem on their own. We as women are nurturers. Most of us do not like conflict, but at times we must not let ourselves be taken advantage of.
- Realize we are called to be servants. It is not about “us.” It is all about “Him.” Where an atmosphere of humility is expressed, a heart of servitude is fostered. It’s not a popular message today, but Christ promises fulfillment as we give of ourselves to serve each other.
My aunt, who lived to an old age, would walk every day to the nursing home to feed the patients. We find no greater joy than when we give of ourselves to meet someone else’s need. When someone suffers from depression, one of the greatest gifts they can give themselves is to minister to someone else. Healing takes place when we render help to someone else. Our mind is on them and their needs rather than our own difficulties.
Coaching others calls us to first examine ourselves and then to help others grasp the reality of what true liberty is when they let go of their perceived rights, relinquish control, and let God have the freedom to move in their lives.