My friend and I were discussing our respective businesses a few weeks ago, helping each other noodle on strategic plans for the year ahead. She wanted to know why I teach coaching skills to "church" people. "They are just normal people, right?" I laughed as she quickly added, "What I meant is that coaching isn't part of their job."
"So are you saying I'm not normal?"
She smiled, and said "No, you're not, and that's not a problem for me! But seriously, do they have to know how to coach to belong to that church?" I gave her a bit of context around the purpose of lifeGroups, and posed this question to my curious friend:
"When you share a problem, a goal, or a dream you have for your life with someone in your circle, what usually happens?"
"Nothing, because I keep that information to myself."
"Why is that?"
"Because I don't want to hear what they think I should do, or listen to them explain why what I did do wasn't right. It's exhausting. They nod as if they are listening, but I can feel the judgment."
"Let's say you do open up about a struggle you're having, and they react like you've described. What would you do?"
"I'd get defensive, or I'd agree, just to shut them up. Then I'd figure out a way to get out of the conversation. Can you tell I've been there, done that?!"
"What if that person really listened, asked more questions about the situation, wanted to know what you've tried, or what your ideas are--what would you think about that?"
"Oh, you mean what would I do if they could hold it with me? If they could be present with me in the struggle? Instead of rushing ahead with solutions I've already tried, or shaking their head at the stupidity of my past actions? Wow, that would be great."
"Holding. Yes! That is exactly what we're up to with coaching at the Church."
Below the level of skills and tools, process and approach, coaching is essentially about holding. New dreams and old fears, choices and chances, uncertainty and enthusiasm...the new year will bring these to each of us in some configuration. Who will God place in your path to coach? What will you have the privilege of holding?
Happy Almost New Year!