By: Bryan Sampson
Take a moment and think back to your childhood and recall that teacher or coach who made a big impact in your life. Does a specific person come to mind? For me it was Mr. Stowe, my eighth-grade basketball coach. I won’t ever forget Mr. Stowe because he made such a profound impact on my life. What made Mr. Stowe so impactful on my life? It wasn’t that he had the greatest techniques and skills, it wasn’t even that he was an excellent coach, no, what made him the greatest coach of my life was that I knew I needed him to teach me so I could improve to be a better basketball player. I knew he cared, I respected him, and I needed him, so I absorbed everything he offered. The coaches’ impact can only have an effect if we are aware of our need for them. Sadly, most of us don’t believe we are in need of anyone to coach us in things outside of sports. Stanley (2003) makes a great observation when he states “In the world of leadership we have a tendency to operate under the misguided assumption that because we are leaders, we don’t need to be led. Once we are recognized for our ability to “perform,” we think we don’t need outside input in order to enhance our performance” (p.105).
To be the best next generation leaders we can be, it is essential to enlist the help of others to evaluate us and help us see how we can improve in our leadership skills (Stanley, 2003, p.106). This must become a priority if we are ever going to meet our full potential. To think that we can just coast through life only comparing ourselves against other people would be an erroneous assumption which would have detrimental affects to our growth and development (sanctification). We have a tendency to measure ourselves against the people around us and not asking the critical question of “how am I measuring up to my potential?” How can we become all God created us to be if we aren’t aware of our own potential? This is where a coach comes in. A coach will take us to the next echelon in our leadership development, as they will help us measure ourselves against our strengths instead of against someone else’s. A coach will know what we are capable of and will push us to our limit. The only question is do we want it? Do we want the feedback and critical insights that can help us reach our full potential?
So take a moment and honestly examine yourself today. Do you feel the need for a coach in your life? Why or why not? What may be preventing you from seeking the feedback from a respected colleague or leader?
The great news is that you can start today, just simply ask another respected leader or colleague for honest feedback on how you have been performing, teaching, mentoring, holding meetings, etc… I pray we all can walk with the humility needed to receive the feedback and insights that can radically shape us into the next generation leaders God is calling us to be for His glory and purpose.
Stanley, A. (2003). The next generation leader: Five essential for those who will shape the future. New York: Multnomah.