June 22, 2011

Why Great Leaders Need A Coach (Part One: Outside Insight)

“Every prudent man acts with knowledge, But a fool displays folly.” 

Proverbs 13:16

Moses was a mess.  He worked 10 to 12 hours a day and never seemed to catch-up.   The people he led were frustrated.  He teetered on the edge of burnout with no relief in sight.  He felt separated and estranged from his wife and kids.  He didn’t invest any time in developing his skills – he just rushed from task to task.  Sound familiar?

In my service to Ministry Leaders over the last decade the challenge they face in full time ministry is: “getting it all done and keeping it all together”.   Ministry leaders are forced to wear many hats – preach, lead teams, provide pastoral care, raise money, strategic plan, relate to Elders and deal with constant crisis.  It is by many people’s definition: one of the most demanding jobs on planet earth. 

With the task of trying to “get it all done” – ministry leaders end up struggling to “keep it together”.   They struggle with maintaining health and intimacy with their spouse as well as connection to their children.  They: “overwork and under nourish”.  It’s so easy to do – I have done it and paid the price of burnout.

While were running the race to “get it all done” we also miss opportunities to advance our skills, disciplines and knowledge.  We fail to expand our potential and cap our growth.

There is a better way!  This is where coaching can help.  A coach will ensure you extract the mediocrity from your life and move to greater excellence.  A coach brings many benefits to your life and leadership that you cannot provide on your own.  They increase your courage to confront the areas of your life that need change – then they help you change.

Let’s take a closer look at Moses and Jethro in Exodus 18 and see what we can learn from their coaching experience to apply to our life and leadership.  As we examine this case study begin to envision:

  • How I can change my approach to ministry to lighten my load and increase my effectiveness.
  • The council Jethro is giving to Moses.
  • The action steps I can take to move away from mediocrity onto greater excellence.
  • The three reasons coaching works well.

Moses is on a mission from God to manage the Israelites – and it’s a demanding job.  You know how it goes – people are complaining about their neighbors, living conditions, questions of the future, problems at home, at work – and on and on it goes.  He’s doing the best he can but its not working!  Moses like most of us at times in our life cannot see how to do it differently – if he could he would.

Jethro, his father in law, enters the picture.  He’s got some outside insight that can greatly benefit Moses in his personal and professional life.   This brings us to our first reason why great leaders need a coach and why coaching works so well;

ONE: Coaching Provides Outside Insight – A coach can see what you can’t see.  They have the power of observation working for them and you.  As they observe your behavior and ask clarifying questions – solutions emerge.  They will also see new ways to improve performance and advance skills and disciplines.  They add depth and greater discernment to decisions.  When you have a coach – you have an informed advocate who invests their experience and expertise in helping you think and act more effectively.

Imagine for a moment how empowering it would be to have a coach in your life?  You have someone who:

  • Understands ministry and it’s many challenges.
  • Provides a safe place to land – where you can download and discover solutions.
  • Provides accountability – helping you grow your character and righteousness as well as implement your goals.
  • Brings fresh perspectives – expanding your thinking.
  • Challenges you’re thinking – so you arrive at better decisions. 

Next week we will continue our case study of Moses and discover how his coach Jethro brought excellent value to his life and leadership.  I want to encourage you to “subscribe” to this site so you can have my latest post delivered to your e-mail.  Encourage your team to subscribe as well so your whole team can benefit.  

To your excellence,

Coach Greg