by R.A. Weigel, EdD, CCNI President
In his book Good to Great by Jim Collins, he begins the book with these words.
“Good is the enemy of great. And that is one of the key reasons why we have so little that becomes great. We don’t have great schools, principally because we have good schools. We don’t have great government, principally because we have good government. Few people attain great lives, in large part because it is just so easy to settle for a good life.”
For many years I would quote those few lines as I would talk to the school administrators and teachers and say, “He’s right. We don’t have great schools because we have good schools. So, what are we going to do about it?”
Then came the perfunctory efforts to improve this thing or that… but nothing really started moving the school toward “great.” Collins was right! Whether it be schools, governments, or our coaching business, too many times we don’t reach beyond what we have right now because we are unwilling to provide the leadership necessary to take the work to the next level.
So, let’s consider Collin’s words relating to our work as Christian coaches, and I want to emphasize the idea that we are “Christian” coaches and not simply life, leadership, group, team, or any other adjective to describe our coaching. We are all leaders of a Christian organization, whether that be an organization of one, (just you), or of many.
No matter the size of your Christian coaching business, you are THE Christian leader in charge. So, here are some thoughts, based on some of Collin’s work, to encourage you to build up your Christian coaching business from where it is now… to something great. Why? Because as Christians we want to have a greater impact on culture and do something great for God’s glory.
Start with a vision. What is the vision you have for your work as a Christian coach? You want to paint the picture of your preferred future and talk to yourself about that picture. Share it with others and tell your “story of the future” over and over, because as you describe it to others, it becomes more real for you. All great leaders have a vision for the future.
(Proverbs 29:18a (KJV) – Where there is no vision, the people perish.)
Second, you love yourself and others enough to continually improve what you do. You already know that you’ll never become the best coach you can be unless you are being coached by another Christian coach. You need someone in your life who will tell you the truth, provide constructive feedback, and walk alongside of you until you reach your vision.
(Ephesians 4:15 (NLT) – Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ.)
Third, don’t diminish but develop your passion. Passion and a movement toward excellence go hand-in-hand. You should have high standards of excellence for yourself and others who work with or for you. Which means, you reflect on your work as a coach and continually strive to make it better.
(Colossians 3:23 (NIV) – Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters.)
Fourth, you want to make the best decisions you can with what you know right now. How do you make good decisions? You start by praying and asking for the Lord’s insights and help. But when you come right down to it, you’re the one making the decisions about what you’re going to do, when to do it, and what steps you need to take. It’s rare for leaders to have everything so clear that decisions are easy.
(Philippians 4:6-7 (NLT) – Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.)
Fifth, you want to become an ever-increasingly better communicator. As much as you think you’re communicating well, it’s never as good as you think it is. Who do you need to talk to? Who needs to hear what you have to say? How effective are your stories, directions, encouragement, guidance, or teaching? And as a Christian coach you need to listen effectively in order to say things in the best way so they can be heard.
(James 1:19 (NIV) – My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry.)
Sixth, bring an optimistic approach toward what you do and where you’re going. Everywhere you go you bring Christ with you. That’s incredibly special when you take the time to think about it. You should be enthusiastic about what the Lord is helping you to do.
(Romans 15:13 (NIV) – May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.)
Seventh, build a plan. Leaders should always have a plan. You can call it a business plan, strategic plan, or improvement plan, but whatever you call it, you need to have one. Here again you want to check in with the Lord because he wants you to plan with him.
(Jeremiah 29:11 (NIV) – For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.)
Eighth, you persevere when things are not going the way you want them to go. Life and leadership seldom go as planned so you have to keep running the race that God has set before you and not quit when things get rough. Don’t give up just because one thing hasn’t worked out the way you initially thought. God never wastes any experience you have. Great leaders lead with “grit.”
(Hebrews 12:1 (NLT) – Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us.)
Ninth, great leaders are strong and courageous. Being strong does not mean pushy, arrogant, or demanding. It means having the moral courage to do what is right based upon your knowledge, training, preparation, and God’s word. The world may never like or acknowledge you, but you’re courageous because your God is with you wherever you go.
(Joshua 1:9 (NLT) – This is my command—be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.)
Finally, the tenth level of leadership is your integrity and ethics as a Christian. Your character is built in 24/7/365, time frames. You are who the Lord says you are. When you say you’ll do something, you follow up and do it. You keep biblical ethics and even when the systems of the world try to get you to compromise, you maintain your Christian ethics. You live each day knowing that the Lord is paying attention and keeping track. You recognize that it is the Lord who you are really working for.
(Colossians 3:24 (NIV) – Since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.)
If moving from Good to Great was easy, then everyone would do it. But it is God who has called you to move in that direction. He wants to take to you places you’ve never been before. When the Lord wants to do something new in your life, you can’t keep doing the same things you’ve always done. Moving from Good to Great may require additional prayer, sacrifice, effort, or risk. But if you’re willing to move where the Lord wants to take you, you’ll realize that you didn’t really risk anything at all.