Lately, I’ve found myself in a number of environments where I get the privilege of coaching and developing people. In my contexts, it’s a lot of leaders who I coach but I found there are a number of characteristics that determine the effectiveness of development and I believe they will apply to anyone (not just leaders).
First is desire, is this something you want to do? I’ve realized that I have to overcome my own selfishness and focus on me in order to develop someone else. Believe it or not this is God’s design for the church and christian community but you may be surprised to see how few people actually care enough about someone else to want to help them grow. In our country we tend to be so individualist and if we’re not focused on our own growth we still typically struggle because we tell ourselves, “it’s not my place to speak into someone else’s life”. The reality is when you coach or influence you’re not saying that you are above or better than that other person, you may just know some things that they don’t know about a certain area or you may have a fresh perspective that they’re not seeing. A good coach is always humble and realizing they are coming alongside someone else not coming over them.
Second, is readiness and permission, is the person you want to help ready and willing to allow you a voice in their life? Unfortunately, some of us love to give advice to people who aren’t asking for any. This tends to create hardness and even anger from the person you really want to help. I’ve found that often the person needs to have reached an end of their own resources or abilities in order to be open and ready for an outside voice. But even if that is the case, we still need to ask permission. Simply saying something like, “I think I have a few things that may be helpful for your situation, would you like to hear about that?” Yes, it requires some courage on your part but it’s what God calls us to be for one another.
Thirdly, be for them. It’s so subtle but sometimes we can be inadvertently working out something on our own or trying to help the other person develop because it will make our life easier or make them less frustrating to be around. If you have any agenda other than helping them to be the best version of themselves you will not be an effective coach/developer. One of your key roles is to help them see their potential and to believe in the best for them. When people know you are really for them, they will receive even hard words from you but if they sense in the least bit that you have some other agenda, it will go awry quickly.
Fourth, have a biblical picture of their future that produces passion. If you don’t know what healthy looks like you will not be able to help anyone get healthy. This means we need to understand what a fully devoted follower of Jesus looks like. We need to study things like the fruit of Spirit in Galatians or the attributes listed in 2 Peter 1 to see some of what a Godly person looks like. You’ll want to paint the picture for them of what they might be like without some of the shame and sin that is currently tainting their lives.
And lastly, you need to be in process yourself. When you have the humility and teachability to realize you haven’t arrived yet is the best place to help others. Make sure you’re seeking out others who can speak into your life about your own blindspots and growth areas. Working through your own movement will not only give real life examples that will help others but you’ll also gain a great deal of empathy because you know how challenging growth can be.
God wants more for all of us. No, we are not becoming someone different, but the best version of us! And He’s called us into community with each other for the purpose of “spurring one another on to love and good deeds”. Don’t miss the incredible opportunities you have with the people in your sphere of influence.