July 5, 2011

Why Great Leaders Need A Coach (Part Two)

“A wise man is full of strength, and a man of knowledge enhances his might.” Proverbs 24:5

Let’s get back to our story of Moses and Jethro.  Jethro cared about his son-in-law, daughter, grandkids and his people.  He came to Moses not only to re-unite his family but also improve his leadership.  He came as a trusted advisor to help.   That’s the second value of coaching and why it is so effective.


TWO: Coaching Provides a Trusted Advisor – A good coach is a trusted advisor who understands your background, behavior style, challenges and opportunities.  He or she gets to know you: your family team and culture – so they can give you maximum value in the coaching relationship. 

Jethro was a trusted advisor who displayed a great amount of self-control and maturity in responding to his son-in-law.  He was most likely angry with Moses for the pain he saw in his daughter and grandkids.  Moses was a distracted dad and husband who sent his family away because he was “too busy with work”.  As challenged as Jethro was with his son-in-law he looked beyond his feelings to see how Moses could change, improve his situation and emerge a better leader.

Jethro did what good coaches do – he observed Moses in his active leadership role.  The next day as Jethro observed Moses – clarity came rushing forward.  Jethro saw that Moses was alone.  He had not developed a team around him to help him – carry the load.   As you know this is our most critical function as leaders.  With a team of people who have the right gift mix and dedication we can achieve greatness.  Without it we are limited and unable to get much traction.  Jethro decided to act and help Moses see what he could not see.  He wanted him to grow in his potential and with some simple steps – success was about to be secured.  Listen now to Jethro as he confronts Moses and coaches him through a paradigm change. 

The Confrontation:

“The next day Moses took his seat to serve as judge for the people, and they stood around him from morning till evening.  When his Father–in-law saw all that Moses was doing for the people, he said, “What is this you are doing for the people?  Why do you alone sit as judge, while all these people stand around you from morning till evening?” (That’s a great coaching question.)

“Moses answered him, “Because the people come to me to see God’s will.” (Really?)

“Moses’ father–in-law replied, “What you are doing is not good. (We need this honest feedback) You and these people who come to you will only wear themselves out.  The work is too heavy for you; you cannot handle it alone.  (Can you take this council?)

Jethro was bold and brought about dynamic change.   But he didn’t just confront he did what great coaches do – he provided a practical path to resolve the problem.  This is coaching’s greatest benefit – a sound solution. 

THREE: Coaching Provides Sound Solutions:  Moses was a great leader but he needed to change his approach.  He needed the outside insight of a trusted advisor to see how to do things differently and get better results.  Jethro provided great council and a practical solution that resulted in amazing change and advancement in the life of Moses, his family and the people he led.  Listen to it now.

The Council:

“Listen to me now and I will give you some sound advice…

Teach them his decrees and instructions and show them the way they are to live and how they are to behave.  But select capable men form all the people – men who fear God, trustworthy men who hate dishonest gain – appoint them as officials over thousands, hundreds, fifties and tens.  Have them serve as judges for the people at all times, but have them bring every difficult case to you…”

Fortunately for Moses, his family and the Israelites he listened to his Coach and implemented his sound advice.  Why did Moses listen – because he trusted Jethro and trust is critical to great coaching.  A coaching relationship based on trust provides an environment of freedom to explore thinking, evaluate situations and strategize solutions.  It’s why coaching works!

Many leaders have said this is what they appreciate the most about coaching.  It’s a consistent safe environment that lets you explore new possibilities with someone outside the context and challenges of your culture.

Why do great leaders need a coach – because they:

  • Want to achieve their calling.
  • Want to advance their skills disciplines and knowledge.
  • Want to remove inefficient or ineffective habits or practices that are undermining their life and leadership.
  • Want to become better people who enjoy life and loved ones.
  • Want to know they are doing all they can to be the best they can be.
  • Want outside insight and an experienced trusted advisor who can strategize with them – so they can excel. No matter what level of leader you’re at today – consider advancing your excellence.   

So before you go here’s an action plan:

Action Plan

(1). In a time of reflection answer the following questions;

  • How do I want to grow in my personal life?
  • How do I want to grow in my leadership?
  • What are my goals for the year?
  • How does my team need to change to maximize our efforts?
  • What are the obstacles that are blocking my growth?

(2). Contact a coach and review your questions with them to consider if the time is right to secure their services.  You will discover as I have that it will greatly benefit your life. 

Final Thoughts

Thank you for the opportunity to share these insights.  I want you to know our leadership matters and we need each-other.  Without great colleagues and coaches we are susceptible to an enemy that can destroy us.  Proverbs 18:1 warns us of the danger in being isolated. 

“Whoever isolates himself seeks his own desire; he breaks out against all sound judgment.”

We need to be connected in community.  It’s when were not connected that we seek our “own desire” and “break out against all sound judgment”.  We have lost too many great comrades – let’s turn it around.  There is great strength when we join together and support each other – when we invest the time to maintain friendship and collegiate connection.

I encourage you to build a core group of colleagues in your life.   You will discover greater joy in your service and the strength to carry on.

To your excellence,

Coach Greg