Like many of you, I’ve spent much of my life learning important skills from coaches – a patient middle school softball coach; my high school tennis coach; the wonderful choir director who attempted to tune me for years; a longsuffering Christian who nurtured my spiritual growth as a pesky adolescent; the therapist who trained me at the rehab center to be a hand injury specialist; and the friend-of-a-friend who took the time to meet with me monthly and coach me in how to NOT look like an amateur when submitting manuscripts for publication early in my writing career.
None of these skills were acquired overnight; each took months, sometimes years to hone. But they were important to me – they were the bones beneath the flesh of the person I wanted to become. The particular skills I chose to dedicate my life to. And I am forever grateful that my coaches were gracious enough to nurture each skill into existence and continued its growth through the application of their own advanced level of practiced expertise.
And now, turnabout is fair play. Yep. I’m a coach too!
I’ve been blessed to be able to pay forward a little nurturing as a tennis coach myself (I coach my 11-year-old grandson weekly – oooh, guess what??? [Proud Mimi alert!] He recently won his first 12 and under tournament – Woohoooo!). I’ve also nurtured budding pianists for 25 years, and am greatly enjoying serving aspiring writers as a certified writing coach.
Coaching’s certainly not a new thing – newly appointed Old Testament prophet Elisha was coached by veteran prophet Elijah how to serve Yahweh and minister in His name (1 Kings 19 – 2 Kings 2).
One might also point out that Jesus served as coach to his team of 12 ordinary, bumbling guys learning how to be extraordinary disciples of the Way, the Truth, and the Life. And while we’re on that vein of thought, the Holy Spirit serves believers as our life coach every single day – as our teacher (John 14:16-17), helper (John 14:26), and guide (Acts 13:2). If that’s not coaching, what is?
So it’s totally biblical and an honor to be a coach. Got it. But if I’m going to be a coach, I want to be a good coach. What does a good coach actually do?
- Invests in another life. Because she thinks you are that important and she wants to help you become better. So she invests herself in you and your best interests. Just. Wow. There can be no greater compliment.
- Gives the precious gift of time. Often sacrificially, because hey, who has time to waste on unimportant fluff? To help you, she may very well have to forfeit doing something that brings her pleasure or fulfillment. Or even time with her own family. And time is a rare and precious commodity that once spent, you can never get back.
- Takes the risk of caring. And it IS risky, because you may not appreciate her sacrifices and efforts on your behalf. Yet she cares about you and your future anyway, enough to meld her own hopes and goals with yours.
Coaching is an important and crucial job – not to be taken lightly. Certainly not by the fortunate person on the receiving end, and not by the sacrificial giver either. Coaching is a service to others that we as Christ-followers should seriously consider as a ministry for encouraging others (1 Thes. 5:11 NIV), “Encourage one another and build each other up.”
It’s not only a scriptural mandate, but a wonderful way to leave a legacy of Papa God’s love in our wake.
I’ll bet you serve someone (maybe many someones) as a coach too, am I right? Your community of BFFs (Blessed Friends Forever) would love to hear about them.