“I just don’t have the time or money for coaching right now.”
I hear it all the time.
However, my follow-up questions are always the same: When will it slow down long enough? and What will it cost you if you don’t have a coach?
The bottom line is this: I just believe every leader needs a coach! And there are 10 reasons behind this belief.
#1: Coaching is Biblical. God reminds us over again in Scripture about the importance of seeking counsel and getting advice from wise people around us. Proverbs 19:20 is a great example: “Get all the advice and instruction you can, so you will be wise the rest of your life.” Proverbs 20:18 says, “Plans succeed through good counsel; don’t go to war without wise advice.”
#2: Coaching protects us. I’m proud of the fact that in 20 years of vocational ministry, I never had a train wreck. The ministries I led never went off the rails.
Because I’m so smart? No. Because I stayed in relationship with Godly, wise coaches in my life. It helped keep me sane, centered, married and protected! I sought counsel before every major decision, so it made my decisions better.
#3: Coaching gives us permission. Many times, as leaders, we have a sense deep down of what the issues are. We have a sense of what God wants us to do. We just need to hear someone else say we’re not crazy for thinking what we’re thinking! We need courage to move forward. I call that giving leaders permission.
#4: Coaching talks us off the ledge. There have been many days when I have called a coach because I thought the sky was about to fall. Things were not good. Things were about to crumble. The “stuff” was hitting the fan. My mind was stuck on the worst-case scenario.
However, a few minutes with a trusted coach or mentor helped me step off the ledge. A coach can (and will) do the same for you.
#5: Coaching inspires us. Not one time in a coaching conversation did I ever come away discouraged. I went into almost every coaching conversation that way — but, that was never how I left the conversation.
I can honestly say that I have been most inspired to think and dream bigger, and to pursue the vision God has placed on my heart on the heels of coaching conversations. Coaching has that kind of power! Good coaches inspire their players.
#6: Coaching offers outside perspective. We all have blind spots. We all have a certain lens through which we see the world and the organizations we lead. We all have certain ways of thinking. The challenges in front of us often become like forgotten cracks in a mirror; we don’t see them after a certain period of time.
Coaching addresses all of that with a new, fresh perspective!
#7: Coaching challenges us. Iron sharpens iron. Do you know how? Heat and friction! We need both.
We need to be pushed. We need to be held accountable. We need to execute. We need to read. We need to learn. We need to get and stay healthy.
Coaches are like personal trainers. They challenge us to make us better!
#8: Coaching grows the leadership capacity of myself and the organization I lead. I doubt I’ve had very many original clever thoughts; most of what I know, I learned from someone else! When I spend time with someone who’s been further down the road than I am now, it raises the lid of my leadership — and, therefore, the lid on my organization.
#9: Coaching confronts isolation and loneliness. Sure, we can attend conferences and download content — but where can we sit down and talk through whatever’s keeping me up at night?
What we need more than anything else is relationship. We need a friend who knows us well enough to speak the truth in love and challenge us regarding the nature and health of our relationships!
#10: Coaching gives us an advantage. Learning, growing leaders win. Period!
Isolated leaders? They stop learning and stop growing. Sooner or later, the organizations they lead do the same. Don’t allow that to be you.
The wisest man who ever lived, inspired by the Holy Spirit, once said: “Walk with the wise, and you will become wise” (Proverbs 13:20).
That, my friend, is good advice. So, go. Get a coach. Get the advantage!
Shawn Lovejoy is founder & CEO of CourageToLead.com, where he and his team coach leaders, pastors pastors, and helps them all conquer what keeps them up at night. Previously, Lovejoy served as founding and lead pastor of Mountain Lake Church in Cumming, GA, and directional leader of and the annual Velocity Conference. He has written several books, including The Measure of Our Success: An Impassioned Plea to Pastors (Baker Books, 2012) and Be Mean About the Vision: Preserving and Protecting What Matters (Thomas Nelson, 2016).