Learning Without Teaching
As I sit here on a windy April afternoon I am left reflecting on the power of the Holy Spirit in our lives. As a Christian and as a Life Coach I see the movement of a third person in my coaching sessions that is a distinct difference maker. From the book the Coaching Model comes the following quote. " The power of coaching is in the Process. A coach empowers others by helping them to self-discover, gain clarity and awareness, as well as by drawing Content from them. A good coach helps draw out what the Holy Spirit has put in." If you are not a believer in Christ, humor me for a little while as I talk about what is inside each of us that can be brought out in the midst of a coaching conversation.
For myself, learning to coach is complicated by the very nature of the church itself as well as my background as a counselor. Let alone the fact that I am a man. By my very nature, and perhaps yours as well. We tend to want to listen, discover the problem and dive in to offer a solution. In my nature is the desire to teach, mentor, guide, give sound advice and watch as the person says, you know that is a great idea. It feels like a win - win situation. We help the person and we feel validated in the midst of the moment. Coaching by its very nature feels a bit unnatural. We listen, build connections, ask powerful open ended questions based on what we are hearing and we listen some more. Can I tell you honestly, in my coaching sessions I have to fight the urge to offer advice. Because coaching is not about my giving you answers, its about asking questions that reveals your way to the solution through specific action steps.
There is an old cliché, if you give a man a fish, he can eat for a day. If you teach him to fish, he can eat for a lifetime. In coaching, I don't have to have all the answers about your situation. The fact is, if I listen closely, I can ask questions that help lead to answers. We may discuss who can help you with this situation? Where can you find information about this topic? A coach simply assists people in thinking about their situation and allows the Holy Spirit to work through the questions and to their answers. Back to the cliche, coaching someone helps them develop life patterns to work out future problems they are facing. We may or may not coach this person again. It could be I do just a tune up coaching session and one time together gets them on the path. It empowers the person to deal with their own stuff. When you spend time giving people all the answers they can become dependent on you as the expert. In business, we have to have people that can be independent. Yes its flattering at first for someone to come to us all the time for answers, but the reality is if managers learned to coach their teams, people would learn to be more independent and move into results faster.
So can learning occur without teaching? Yes it can. Obviously there are situations as a manager, supervisor, a pastor or other positions of authority where you need to give specific information as it relates to policy or company position. I just wonder, would you like to be more effective as a leader? Learning inside your position to listen, ask questions, ask questions for commitment to take action and meet again in the next seven days to assess where they are at now. Doing this would change your employees world and it would change your world as well. Empowering teams leads to higher productivity. When productivity is high it leads to greater gains. That is a real win-win situation. Be intentional, learn to coach your teams. If you are sitting here thinking, if only I could learn to coach for better results. You can learn this process. Its a new way of thinking and acting. Its not always easy. Also, know that each of us benefit from having a coach in our lives. Let me know if I could be your coach in this moment of your life.