Tom Brady, quarterback of the New England Patriots, is possibly the Greatest of All Time (GOAT). His development over the past eighteen seasons has been aided by coaches, all designed to maximize his performance. Tom has directly benefited from a head coach, offensive coordinator, and strength, flexibility, nutrition, and throwing coaches who have focused their efforts into making Tom better each day. Of course, Tom’s willingness to be coached up has contributed to the stellar career he has forged and sustained. If the GOAT receives regular coaching, how much should we in Chi Alpha Campus Ministries consider the place and role of coaching in the personal and professional development of our campus missionaries?
In his Gospel, Luke describes Jesus as growing in wisdom and stature, in favor with God and man (2:52). We desire that our Chi Alpha staff will similarly be growing mentally, physically, socially, and spiritually. We focus on healthy staff in Chi Alpha because in addition to their own practice of holy habits, our people need help in becoming the best Christ-honoring missionaries they can be. Coaching is a critical aid to self-development as well as our professional service.
In Christ-Centered Coaching, author Jane Creswell suggest two ways Christ-Centered coaches can help: 1) They help a person on a micro-level find his or her untapped potential to make each day productive, and 2) They help a person on a macro-level rediscover his or her focus/call/purpose and move toward leading a life of significance. The kind of coach we are developing in Chi Alpha won’t provide the answers, make decisions for you, or tell you what to do. But they will aid you in self-discovery by asking questions to help you determine what you need to be and do.
Paul Austin introduced the Pioneering Boot Camp over ten years ago to Chi Alpha Nation. He started with the premise that the leader’s self-identity needed time and attention before addressing campus strategy. Paul has used coaching questions to assist pioneers to pursue self-development, and ultimately team building and campus pioneering. Paul’s coaching approach has valued people over the mission, and they appreciated being believed in.
Second, by listening, Paul has valued what the pioneers valued, which creates a strong connection. Third, Paul added value to pioneers and their teams by coaching them to improve their own attitudes and abilities. Last, Paul watched them become better people and pioneering campus missionaries, which not only aided them personally but also added benefit to their team and the mission.
In order for Chi Alpha missionaries to serve well for a forty-year career in our mission organization, we believe coaching is a skill we want our personnel to benefit from. Once you complete new staff training (i.e., Reach the University Institute and a residential Campus-Missionary-in-Training internship), most of us need to go on staff for a few years and learn to hone our craft under the supervision of a local Chi Alpha director.
How deliberate are Chi Alpha directors investing in developing their teammates? Where (and to whom) do Chi Alpha leaders at the campus, district, area, or national level go in order to sharpen their vision, character, and skills? Tom Brady got drafted out of college for pro football, but it took him many years of energy, effort, practice, games, and coaching to become a high performance player. He has learned the value of coaching to his personal development.
Our national leaders in Chi Alpha Campus Ministries believe we need to utilize coaching in order to develop the character and skill of our campus ministers at every level of our organization. Therefore, this is a call to be coached up and to be trained as coaches.
Four takeaways for your consideration:
- Read Christ-Centered Coaching by Jane Creswell.
- Contact Delyn Cole (firstname.lastname@example.org), our Coaching and Assessment Specialist, about becoming a coach. We aim to train and release Chi Alpha coaches in each region.
- Ask Delyn about finding someone who can coach you.
- If you are a coach, how can you increase your competence and confidence one percent in the year ahead?
My mentor, Bill Hybels, says, “Everyone wins when a leader gets better.” Let’s improve ourselves because Jesus deserves our best. Coaching is one way our campus missionaries can get better.