During all of my life, the word coach belonged to the realm of sports. Coaches are an essential element to any game, whether it is a team of American football with its 45 players, or an individual track and field athlete or a swimmer. Recently, the word coach and coaching have also been introduced to the world of leadership. Today the practice of coaching is considered an essential part of leadership development.
Why Coaching Is Necessary
Visionary leadership works best when people are formed into teams that use the gifts and skills of each team member to accomplish a shared, God-inspired vision. Coaching is a tool used by effective team leaders to empower, release, and serve God’s people to bring the Kingdom of God on earth.
What Best Coaches Do
The best leadership coaches essentially set people up for success. In any organization, people are delegated functions and tasks. The best leaders equip their people to be successful through three main practices.
1. Empowering: Great leadership coaches empower people to be their best selves.
They give people clear responsibilities and the freedom to make decisions within the boundaries of those responsibilities.
They communicate to people the significance of the work their doing for the team. Individuals are highly motivated to work hard when they understand the bigger purpose of their jobs, even if the task appears insignificant.
They publicly and privately recognize the value and importance of each team member. Effective coaches encourage people by valuing them in public, encouraging them to excel, and recognizing a job well done.
2. Releasing: Delegation is an art that requires relinquishing control. Great leaders release people, giving them autonomy to “get the job done” by:
Utilizing their strengths and gifts. Effective leaders build on each team member’s strength and match team members with tasks that allow them to deploy their unique gifts and abilities.
Acquiring new skills. The personal growth and development of a team member raises the quality of the team as a whole.
Expressing new ideas and insights. Every team member can make significant contributions to the development of the team and organization.
3. Serving: This practice is about helping people succeed. The best leaders serve their people by:
Contributing to their personal growth and development. Effective leaders invest time in developing individual members of their teams.
Showing care for their personal needs. Genuine concern is an expression of God’s love and effective leadership.
Being available for them. Team members need to know their leader is available to solve difficult problems and help them in difficult times. Effective coaches pray for team members’ success and celebrate their achievements.
Every sports team or individual athlete wants to win. The same is true for the team God entrusted to you. The prize is to hear our God say to us “well done good and faithful servant.” As a leader you and I have the responsibility to equip our teams for victory.