It’s difficult to separate the performance and achievements of any elite athlete from those who helped them discover and hone the talent and skill that led them to greatness. While Michael Jordan is a household name, you don’t have to dig too deeply before Phil Jackson’s name is mentioned. There’s the potential debate over who had more impact on Tiger Woods’ swing, Sean Foley or Hank Haney. And where would my personal favorite, Roger Federer, have ranked were it not for the influence of Peter Carter on his game?
The idea extends beyond the world of sports, too. So many iconic stories reflect the value of a guide on their protagonists. It’s Obi Wan to Luke Skywalker, Dumbledore to Harry Potter, Gandalf to Frodo, Maria to the Von Trapps.
You can’t get where you’re going if you don’t know where you are. That’s self-awareness and vision, right? Self-awareness is knowing where you are, the starting point you are leading from. Having vision is the ability to see where your preferred future leads and to invite others into those possibilities; it’s knowing where you’re going.
Can you get there without a guide? Sure. The truth is that God has created you with a unique makeup of gifts, skills, and passions that can serve you incredibly well as you lead. But, could you get there more quickly, more effectively, with fewer scars, and with healthier relationships intact if you have a coach to help you along the way? It’s almost certain.
Everyone needs a coach. And here’s why:
- You Have Vision, But You Can’t See Everything
A coach has the gift of perspective on your blind spots. No matter the amount of work you have done around understanding yourself, your motivations, and your triggers, no matter the depths to which you are passionate about your mission and your organization, there are both shortcomings and opportunities that you can’t see (or see fully.) Humbly asking a coach to speak into your blind spots will set you up for exponential growth.
- You Have Insight, But You Don’t Know Everything
A coach has a question you haven’t thought to ask. Scripture repeatedly refers to the wisdom of seeking counsel and advice, and the benefits of the humility it takes to actually listen to and apply it. You weren’t called to know everything or to have every answer. You weren’t called to carry your burdens on your own. If you pressure yourself to that end, you’ll buckle under the weight of it. Trusting someone else to interrogate your plans and to advise your steps will allow you to go far and avoid pitfalls
- You Are Good, But You Could Be Better
It’s like the point at which I decided to hire a tennis coach. Not only do I enjoy playing tennis, but I have enough natural skill (not that I would call myself good or even competitive, but at least good enough) at it that it feels like a worthwhile investment of time and energy. I knew that with the right instruction, the observations and adjustments that I couldn’t make on my own, I could get better. The same is true for you as a leader. You’re good. God would not have called you to the work you’re doing and entrusted you with those you’re leading if you weren’t. AND you can be better. We all can. It’s the truth scripture refers to in Proverbs 27:17, “As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.” You are already iron. By submitting to the friction and challenge of coaching, you can become sharper.
A beautiful thing about the time in which we live is that coaching is more readily available than ever before. You can find a book, audiobook, or YouTube tutorials to guide you through just about anything! There are cohorts, masterminds, and one-on-one environments in which to seek guidance. Not all coaching is created equal, though. My encouragement to you is simply this: take some time to pray about and consider in what area of your life and leadership do you need coaching and who would you trust to speak into it?
My friend (and brilliant leader) Alli Worthington and I are preparing to guide another group of women through a 6-month Women in Leadership Intensive. It begins in February, and the space is filling up fast! While I don’t exclusively coach women, I am passionate about the transformation that takes place during these intensives–where we provide practical steps, challenging and relevant development, and the opportunity to connect with other like-minded leaders. If you are a woman in leadership, we’d love to have you join us. If you lead alongside a woman and want to encourage her that she is seen and what she uniquely deals with matters to you, be sure to pass along this opportunity.
This week on The Jenni Catron Leadership Podcast…
The beginning of the year is typically teeming with hope and anticipation of the dreams and goals we hope to see become reality over the next 365 days. After a year like the one we’ve just come through, though, hope for what’s to come is fraught with the uncertainty and unpredictability of what’s just happened. And so we must return to the vision God’s called us to. And, as leaders, we must not only do so for ourselves, but we have the critical opportunity to cast vision to those we lead. In this week’s episode, I share some thoughts from my book The 4 Dimensions of Extraordinary Leadership about why your team needs you to cast strong vision now more than ever and how you can do just that.
Click HERE to listen to the episode!
Keep leading well, friends!
Jenni Catron and The 4Sight Group
Jenni Catron is a writer, speaker, and leadership coach who consults churches and non-profits to help them lead from their extraordinary best. She speaks at conferences and churches nationwide, seeking to help others develop their leadership gifts and lead confidently. As Founder and CEO of The 4Sight Group, she consults with individuals and teams on leadership and organizational health.
Jenni is the author of several books, including Clout: Discover and Unleash Your God-Given Influence and The 4 Dimensions of Extraordinary Leadership.