I know two people who coach sport, grass-roots football and elite hockey in their cases, but the idea of coaching others has gained currency in many other walks of life, including the workplace. I enjoyed an opportunity last night to join a team coaching discussion, not with the sporty types but with practitioners who are called in to coach boards of directors and other organisational teams. As I reflect on the evening there are some great take-away messages. Put simply coaching is helping and enabling others to get the best out of their skills and abilities, whereas mentoring is more about advising and passing on your accumulated wisdom. A coach acts like a catalyst for others.
So, if I was to coach a team I might think about team dynamics, personality types, team roles, what motivates people, what are their individual strengths, what are the blockages to working as a team, or in fact are we just a group of individuals doing parallel tasks at the same location? I was reminded of The A Team, a uniquely diverse set of individuals who accomplished amazing things, albeit fictional, when they worked together as a team – all for one and one for all – like Dumas’ famous musketeers, like the real heroes of Hollywood’s The Great Escape.
I’d hope that as I get older I progress at coaching others to be the best version of themselves that they can be, whether that’s family members, work colleagues, or people in our church family. Wherever God has put you, amongst friends, with colleagues, as a leader or as a buddy, mentor or coach maybe ask how you can be a better team player today. Or, in the words of Hebrews, let us consider how we may spur one another on towards love and good deeds.