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DEFINING MOMENTS AND HOW YOU MIGHT MISS THEM

Becoming a growing disciple of the Lord requires that we respond to the “defining moments” placed before us on the path of life. The dictionary defines “defining moments” as: a point at which the essential nature or character of a person, group, etc., is revealed or identified. Though it is not a biblical phrase there are many “defining moments” in the Bible that reveal the character of those involved. We might say that the Bible is the ultimate Book of Defining Moments as it still determines the character that is revealed under pressure of modern-day disciples. This article discusses the nature of defining moments as related to disciples of Jesus Christ and how they might miss those defining moments based on personality types- DISC.

A SEIZED DEFINING MOMENT

On January 15, 2009 Captain Chesley Burnett “Sully” Sullenberger III had a defining moment as he crash landed his stricken U.S. Airways plane onto the surface of the Hudson River with 155 passengers all of whom survived. Captain “Sully” said that he had been preparing all of his career for that one defining moment. Characteristic of defining moments, Captain Sully had no time to reflect and consider, “Is this a defining moment?” Will you be ready for your defining moment?

UNDERSTANDING DEFINING MOMENTS

An online dialogue about defining moments with other leadership specialists revealed several issues. Perhaps some of those points of discussion will help us understand defining moments better and here are some questions:

  1. Is it possible to miss defining moments?
  2. If we can miss defining moments, is it possible to learn to recognize them at the crucial point of decision?
  3. Is it possible to anticipate defining moments?
  4. Is it possible to recapture a defining moment?

We may safely say that every person has missed a defining moment and probably more than several during their lifetime. We are not simply talking about small situations that may be “fixed” after our first reaction or poor decision but we are talking about those life-altering, life changing decisions that are rare. Like lightning strikes, they strike rarely and seldom in the same place, situation, or set of people. They are deal-makers and deal-breakers for people and organizations. They go with the saying, “You snooze, you lose.”

Missing defining moments may help us recognize defining moments as they present themselves. We do not choose defining moments, they choose us. Great leaders learn to recognize them instantly and take appropriate action. Your action or inaction will define you. They are like exams for which you receive the lectures and answers later. The problem is that some defining moments that reveal our character are costly. Those are the ones we regret and replay over and over wishing we could get the moment back.

Defining moments are often missed, as they come and go with no warning because they are often subtle. Defining moments are probably not like the CEO who calls your phone to offer a job, gets a busy signal, and then proceeds to call the next person on the list. They are moments when we may remember later that we should have done something differently.

A MISSED DEFINING MOMENT

When in high school I played on the football team. Small and thin, I was not well positioned as a lineman on offence and a linebacker on defense but that was where I was placed when I went out for the team. The next year during spring training the coach sprang something new on several of us. I found myself in a drill carrying the ball through tacklers. In the drill I was to move forward like a tailback and receive the ball from the quarterback when the ball was snapped. Then of course I was to run through the lines of the opposing tacklers. I did not give it my best effort. I was still trying to figure out what was going on. When I should have been concentrating on giving my all, I was asking myself, “Self, why am I doing this. Yea but I’m a linebacker or a guard or a tackle. What is the coach doing?” It did not take long for me to be defined as a linebacker or a guard or a tackle. It was not until later…years later, that I realized that was a defining moment that I missed. When playing football in the yard, my friends would compliment me on my balance and how difficult it was for them to tackle me. But I failed to make the connection that one day the coach tried me out for a different position. Another day like that never came and I often wonder what it might have been like to score a touchdown for the team. Notice that “yea buts” kill the opportunity presented in defining moments.

Some defining moments cost little but others are costly. So, how can you prepare? If you have a developed life-plan, passion, and purpose you have a better chance to see a defining moment when it arrives. Get a life-coach and work on your plan-passion-purpose as soon as you can.

DEFINING MOMENTS REQUIRE PRESENCE

We live in an exciting time of technology with cell phones that have texting, instant messaging, Skyping, email, music, movies, games, and voice calls at our disposal 24/7/365. The problem is that defining moments attract distractions. Further, the distractions will certainly cause you to miss a defining moment. Acting on defining moments requires you to live in the present which means that you must turn off all of the distractions. Practicing presence is a developed skill of living and being in the moment and making eye contact instead of dozing off. Nobody sleeping ever caught a defining moment wave…they always miss it!

DEFINING MOMENTS AND DISC

Disciple’s DISC

Many people in leadership training are familiar with DISC personality type profiles. They are not predictors or definers of one’s actions but they are remarkably accurate in many applications. Each personality type may react to defining moments differently. When it comes to missing a defining moment, each personality type tends to be predisposed to miss it in unique ways:

Dominant (D) personalities have great potential to respond quickly to a defining moment in a positive manner. However, Ds have a habit of being busy controlling situations and events. Defining moments defy control and when controlled they often evaporate. People of this personality type need to slow down and be “in the room,” in the moment,” and sensitive to their intuition that will likely provide the first indication of a defining moment.

Inspiring (I)personality types enjoy being the focus of a group as the leader or in some other role. As the leader they have great positive energy that can inspire others as a defining moment presents an opportunity. However, Is are often so self-focused that they miss defining moments. If you are of this personality type, remember that you cannot be the center of attention if you are going to seize a defining moment. If you are trying to BE the defining moment you will miss it.

Steady (S) personalities are generally laid-back people. With training, experience, or a situation that matches their abilities Ss can be good leaders. Steady personality types have a unique ability to solve conflicts when a defining moment is presented and bring harmony and mitigate conflict. However, they often miss defining moments because of their relaxed approach. If you are of this personality type, be sure to truly live in the moment and be more aware on purpose. Remember, if you snooze, you lose a defining moment.

Competent (C) personalities are somewhat scripted or programmed and can be like a computer, Mr. Spock, or Data on Star Trek. Remember the football story earlier in this article? That was me and I am a strong C. On the positive side, Cs can be strong leaders where structure and strategy is needed. Once motivated Cs are persistent and will get the job done. However, because Cs are often “stuck” in their script, they often miss defining moments. Defining moments don’t ever fit the script and are usually outside the box. If you are of this personality type, learn to be aware, don’t hold on to your script as tight, and be ready and flexible to seize a defining moment.

DEFINING MOMENTS IN THE BIBLE

The Bible is filled with defining moments and we can see what occurred when people acted in with character and leadership and we can see the consequences when they did not seize the opportunity. Here are a few examples:

  • Adam missed the defining moment in Genesis 3 to provide leadership to prevent Eve from taking of the forbidden fruit. Instead he did the opposite of leadership and watched as his soul-mate ate of the forbidden fruit to see if she would die. Defining moments have positive and negative consequences.
  • + Hezekiah was informed of his imminent death and he seized the defining moment by praying to the Lord who could change the outcome. Hezekiah was given fifteen more years.  (2 Kings 20:1)
  • +/- David presents a mixed report regarding defining moments. In regard to his actions toward King Saul, David rarely missed a defining moment that took him higher in his leadership and influence. On the other hand there is Bathsheba. This event appears to define David’s moral character at the core. That’s also what defining moments do.
  • + The Apostle Peter seemed excel at times at seeing and acting on defining moments. For instance, he was the only one of the disciples to get out of the boat to walk on water.

Explore the Bible and identify defining moments. Doing so will help you recognize and react properly to “seize the day!”

QUESTIONS:

  1. Write several defining moments that changed your life because you saw it and acted on it properly.
  2. Write several defining moments that you probably missed and the consequences.
  3. How does your personality type affect your ability to recognize and act on defining moments?
  4. In the comments section, share some of your defining moment stories.

SD Blessings,

Dr. Tom Cocklereece, The Disciplist

——————–
Dr. Tom Cocklereece is CEO of RENOVA Coaching and Consulting, LLC
He is a pastor, author, professional coach, leadership specialist, and is a member Coach/Teacher/Speaker for the John Maxwell Team

Email | LinkedIn | Twitter | Web | Blog | Book | Coaching

EQUIPPED TO LIVE: FINDING THE LEADER WITHIN

A friend of mine is a successful businessman and entrepreneur who also serves as a board member of a non-profit community organization. On the board, Rob (not his real name) often offers insightful comments and good advice that matches his good business sense. Yet when asked to serve as a board officer, Rob quotes the notorious General William Tecumseh Sherman when asked if he would seek presidential office,

“If nominated I will not run; if elected I will not serve.”

To Serve or Not To Serve

Many would-be leaders have the same attitude as Sherman.

  • It is extreme irony that Rob will not serve at a higher level as a leader since he is already leading in a number of roles.
  • Rob will not seek a higher level of leadership because he is fearful of failure.
  • He has not found the leader within…he has not discovered the quintessential leader that he could be.

Can you relate to Rob? I know I can. Even the best of leaders falter at times…me included. On a weekend vacation I was recently doing a detailed reading of John Maxwell’s leadership book Everyone Communicates, Few Connect in which he lists “Four Unpardonable Sins of a Communicator”: being unprepared, uncommitted, uninteresting, or uncomfortable.

Maxwell’s words hit me head on as I recounted my lack of leadership in one of my roles.

The greatest mistake of leadership is not a failure to succeed but a failure to lead.

In fact, the greatest failures of leadership are not a lack of experience, a lack of training, a lack of education, or lack of resources but usually a failure of one to engage.

Avoiding Leadership Failure

Four ways to avoid a failure to lead are:

  1. Engage as a leader.
  2. Engage at the right time.
  3. Engage with enough energy to see the project through.
  4. Engage other leaders around you to help and eventually take over the project.

1. ENGAGE AS A LEADER

The only way to lead is to lead! It sounds ridiculous, but it is true. Many people who are in THE prime place to lead never engage. Perhaps you understand the issues better than anyone else, you have the authority to lead, and people are looking at you and anticipating action, but you are waiting.

Perhaps you are waiting for someone else to step up to the plate. Maybe you are hoping the problem will just go away.

Other excuses may include:

  • I don’t have the experience.
  • I don’t have the time.
  • I don’t have the education.
  • I don’t think others respect me.
  • I don’t want to keep someone else from their opportunity to lead.
  • I’m not leadership material.

Based on the listed excuses, you will never be ready to lead. Moses used virtually every one of these excuses in Exodus 3 and 4 when talking with the Creator and God did not let him off the hook but kept handing the job to him. Moses had to engage. It was during the process and time of leadership that Moses became Moses instead of a nameless adopted son of a pharaoh in Egypt.

Only through the action of leading will the leader in you emerge.

2. ENGAGE AT THE RIGHT TIME

In baseball, the difference between swinging the bat too early, too late, and on time can be either a foul ball or a home run. It’s that way with leadership too.

As a leader you must engage at the right time.

Crisis situations require instant leadership. Other situations may allow decision and strategy time, but a large part of successful leadership is timing. Great leaders have an intuitive understanding of timing which creates the highest possible involvement of others who are empowered to assist…also called buy-in.

By engaging at the right time, they increase the number of others working on the same problem. If you are waiting for the problem to resolve itself or go away…it will probably only get worse.

3. ENGAGE WITH ENOUGH ENERGY TO SEE THE PROJECT THROUGH

Introverted leaders (S & C on the DISC profile) are often tempted to disengage too early before the full success is achieved. The reason for this is that their reserve for directing energy toward others is less.

On the other hand, extroverted leaders (D & I on the DISC profile) have a tendency to either delegate the leadership role too early or declare victory prematurely. Great leaders see the big picture of the project so they pace their energy or know how to replenish it along the way in order to complete the task. I believe the greatest leaders lead out of energy overflow instead of reserves.

The overflow principle is a Psalm 23 concept by which one does not manufacture her own energy but is continuously using overflow from God’s inexhaustible energy resources. Overflow may be defined as finding one’s fulfillment, satisfaction, worth, and esteem in Christ which results in greater energy overflow.

Show me an exhausted leader and I will show you a leader who is leading out of his own exhaustible reserves that will eventually run dry.

The greatest leaders learn to tap in to the Psalm 23 overflow to the point of directing and investing energy overflow into others on purpose to add value to them. Read Psalm 23 again while considering the Overflow Principle:

The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me to lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside the still waters. He restores my soul; He leads me in the paths of righteousness For His name’s sake. Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; For You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; You anoint my head with oil;My cup runs over. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me All the days of my life; And I will dwell in the house of the LORD Forever.

Psalms 23:1-6 (NKJV) (emphasis mine)

Note verses 3 and 5 where the Lord “restores my soul” and “my cup runs over.” These illustrate the Overflow Principle of Leadership.

4. ENGAGE OTHER LEADERS AROUND YOU TO ASSIST

Engage other leaders around you to help and eventually take over the project. A great leader intuitively scans for people in the organization who possess the abilities and willingness to assist and eventually take over a project. “Willingness” is often the only quality that separates a new leader from everyone else.

Mentoring and coaching are often the only disciplines that separate average leaders from great leaders. Great leaders mentor and coach emerging leaders. In fact this may be a distinguishing difference between managers and leaders. The difference between leaders and managers is coaching & mentoring emerging leaders.

Leaders add value to new leaders while managers often feel threatened.

Engage Now!

Don’t miss your opportunity to be the leader you were meant to be. Find the leader within! Here is a quote from Kate Chopin’s book The Awakening:

“She was becoming herself and daily casting aside that fictitious self which we assume like a garment with which to appear before the world.”

It is time for you to cast aside that fictitious apparition of yourself as one who fears to lead and allow the leader within you to emerge. Do it now!

QUESTIONS:

  1. What are your attitudes toward other leaders? If you distrust other leaders then you will not want to become a leader until you learn to trust.
  2. What excuses are keeping you from engaging as a leader? There are few legitimate “reasons.”
  3. How are you using the “Overflow Principle of Leadership” or not?
  4. List the leadership qualities you and others see in you that have potential.

(This article by Dr. Tom Cocklereece was originally published on Linked2Leadership May 17, 2011.)

——————–
Dr. Tom Cocklereece is CEO of RENOVA Coaching and Consulting, LLC
Author “Simple Discipleship,” contributing writer L2L Blogazine
He is a pastor, an author, professional coach, and leadership specialist
Email | LinkedIn | Twitter | Web | Blog | Book | Coaching Site

NAME YOUR GREMLIN: Denial

One way you can get out of your way is to name your gremlin. A gremlin in this sense is a self-defeating behavior that reappears in life, work, and relationships that prevents you from achieving a new level of success. Like in the movie by the same name, gremlins usually are latent and easy to live with until they are activated by external or internal factors, either past, present, or perceived future. Naming them can help you to be aware of your self-defeating behavior so you may make intentional decisions that are edifying and rewarding to all involved. The introductory article to this series is at https://renovacoaching.wordpress.com/2010/10/05/get-out-of-your-way/ .

Denial is a common gremlin and usually works best in cooperation with other gremlins. You have probably heard someone jokingly say, “Denial is more than a river in Egypt.” Jokes given in that way often have a seed of truth, as they were probably pointing out your denial about an issue.

We humans have an amazing adeptness when it comes to denial. Some denial is rather harmless and comical. For instance, I know a man in his 70s and his hair gets bluer each time I see him. The explanation is that his hair is naturally white at his age so he tries to color it a distinguished gray. However, because he has severe corneal cataracts in both eyes, what looks gray to him turns out to be a smurfy blue. For years he has denied that his vision was deteriorating.

Denial is more often harmful illustrated in the following bullets:

  • The woman having an affair but thinks nobody else could possibly know.
  • A man has a family history of prostate cancer; has had chronic deep back or groin pain, but refuses to go to the doctor for a simple test.
  • The diabetic who eats three donuts and simply compensates with a little more insulin—on a regular basis.
  • The person sitting down to a double rack of ribs a month after having coronary heart surgery.
  • The woman who returns to her abusive husband only to get beat up again—for the third time.
  • The organization that refuses to change even though their community and target customer has.

The list could go on, and please feel free to add to it with your own comments.

Denial is a refusal to accept or comprehend the external reality because it is too threatening whether the reality is self-inflicted or external. It takes the forms of lying to oneself and others, ignoring, passivity, passive aggression, and even continued inappropriate behavior. (Doing the same thing over while expecting different results)

The remedy for the denial gremlin is 1) naming it, 2) brutal truth, and 3) radical accountability. The initial problem is the denial of denial, as getting the individual to the point of acceptance is indeed difficult. When there is a window of opportunity to help a person in denial—jump through it! By neutralizing the denial gremlin you will likely also eliminate some other paralyzing gremlin.

Links to the Gremlin series:

  1. Introduction
  2. Blamer
  3. Denial
  4. Scaredy 
  5. Jekyll and Hyde
  6. Pigpen

RENOVA regards,

Dr. Tom Cocklereece

NAME YOUR GREMLIN: Blamer

One way you can get out of your way is to name your gremlin. A gremlin in this sense is a self-defeating behavior that reappears in life, work, and relationships that prevents you from achieving a new level of success. Like in the movie by the same name, gremlins usually are latent and easy to live with until they are activated by external or internal factors, either past, present, or perceived future. Naming them can help you to be aware of your self-defeating behavior so you may make intentional decisions that are edifying and rewarding to all involved. The introductory article to this series is at http://renovacoaching.com/2010/10/05/get-out-of-your-way/ .

It is likely that you have known someone who has the gremlin named “Blamer,” that is, they seem to always blame somebody or something for their failure. They rarely accept responsibility for anything and even when they do, their statement usually includes some measure of blaming. If Blamer is your gremlin, you need to know two things: 1) you are sabotaging your success and relationships, and 2) your future opportunities will gradually diminish. If this is what you want out of life then keep Blamer as your pet and feed him well with criticism of others at every opportunity. On the other hand, if you desire to improve your relationships and increase future opportunities, always be aware of your latent blaming potential and critical spirit. Then,…stop,…accept responsibility,…and do your best with no excuses (another gremlin). You will enjoy improved relationships and more opportunities. However, you may need to get to the heart of the matter.

Blaming is often disguised as unhealthy guilt that has never been resolved. Remember that when you point to others there are three fingers pointing back to you—four if your thumb is double-jointed. Ask yourself several questions:

  1. Has there been a cataclysmic event in my life that provides me with an unending well of anger and resentment?
  2. Have others ever told you that you are always critical or blaming?
  3. Do you see accepting responsibility and admitting your failings a weakness?
  4. Do you repeatedly share blame stories with family and friends? You may find that it’s like a fish story in which the fault blamed on others get bigger with each telling.

I like what Rick Warren teaches in his well know book The Purpose-Driven Life: “Don’t get bitter but choose to get better.”  Forgiveness of others and self is the remedy.

Links to the Gremlin series:

  1. Introduction
  2. Blamer
  3. Denial
  4. Scaredy 
  5. Jekyll and Hyde
  6. Pigpen

RENOVA regards,

Dr. Tom Cocklereece

Hire me as your coach. I useGoToMeetingfor online distance sessions. Coaching sessions and our relationship is confidential but your success will be visible to all. Contact me for a complementary session at drthomreece@bellsouth.net .

GET OUT OF YOUR WAY!

Have you ever found yourself experiencing a challenge or failure that had a déjà vu feeling as if you have been here before? Then there is the realization that yes, you have repeated some of the same self-defeating behaviors that achieved a similar unpleasant result before. Call it DNA, mental loops, or whatever you want but you have the life, marriage, relationships, marriage, etc., that you have built for yourself one decision at a time. We tend to hope and pray for a new start only to find that after receiving it, we wind up in the same situation—wishing we had a “do over.” Of course you have heard the definition of insanity—doing the same things over and over while expecting different results.

Whether you get a mulligan or not, what will you do to change the next chapter of your life’s story? You cannot change your DNA but there are three things you can be aware of as you dig yourself out of that hole or start over again:

  1. Spiritual Transformation
  2. Change your values
  3. Tame your gremlins

Three ways you may “get out of your way” are 1) spiritual transformation, change your values, and 2) tame your gremlins.

SPIRITUAL TRANSFORMATION

The one act that can bring the desired change is receiving Jesus Christ as Lord. For those who have never made a heart-felt decision to accept Christ, they cannot comprehend how this step would change their life for good. One the other hand, those who receive Christ often wonder why they did not make the decision long before they did. Indeed there is a mystery to the transformational change that takes place as the new Christian’s values are changed as a result of accepting Christ. Romans 10:9-10 is one of the best Bible passages that illustrates what is required for spiritual transformation:

9 That if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. Romans 10:9-10 (NKJV)

CHANGE YOUR VALUES

Changing your values is easier said than done but it can be done! Why are values so important and how do they affect your life? Values form the template or filter through which most of your decisions are made. There are essentially two kinds of life-shaping values—intrinsic and extrinsic. Intrinsic values are heart values that seem to come naturally to you. They were formed unknowingly and often unintentionally through experiences, relationships with family, associations with friends, and DNA. One’s DNA rarely works alone to shape one’s behavior but rather it works in tandem with one of the other factors. When one decides to change their values, they find that it is difficult to do. Intrinsic values are the basis of what are called Underlying Automatic Commitments (UACs) meaning that many decisions are made with little thought. Think of UACs as a traffic signal with the common red, yellow, and green lights, but with UACs all three lights are green. Here is a way to understand UACs:

  • Underlying—decisions are made below one’s awareness and require little thought
  • Automatic—decisions are made automatically with little intentionality
  • Commitment—since decisions are underlying and automatic, an obligation has essentially been made once two of the three “switches” have activated

As you may see, great intentionality must be exercised in order to make a decision other than that which the UAC has already mandated. This is not to say that one cannot arrest the UAC process in order to change the outcome. In fact, that is exactly what must take place but it is incredibly difficult to do. There is one exception, however—an epiphany experience with God through which HE changes the person’s “operating system.” In such cases, the template and filter through which decisions are made is transformed.

Perhaps there are extrinsic or aspirational values one may adopt in order to “fix” one’s decision-making process. This at least may change the Underlying Automatic Commitmentto an Underlying Automatic Contingency—meaning that there is an intentional pause for thought BEFORE a final decision is made.  Remember that it takes only 21 days to develop a bad habit but it takes 66 days to develop a good one, which speaks to the reason why positive change is so difficult.

TAME YOUR GREMLINS

You may remember the 1984 movie Gremlins about a cute little pet given to a boy as a Christmas gift. There were three rules about keeping a gremlin: never expose it to bright lights, don’t get it wet, and never feed it after midnight. Of course all three rules were broken in the movie and the cute gremlin became many little monsters. The connection is that even with good values and a contingency process for decision-making, you may find that you often make impulsive decisions that are almost always poor choices. Rick Carson suggests that we often listen to our inner voices that are “gremlins” created out of one’s experience and desires that become our own worst enemy. (Taming Your Gremlin, 11)

Indeed, there are some good spiritual lessons here for the one who is interested in transformation, but even Christians sometimes struggle with destructive “inner voices.” I’m reminded of a tweet by Rick Warren that said, “Before you sin Satan says “It’s no big deal!” Afterwards he says “This is so big; you can never be forgiven” Both lies.” Gremlins tear down self esteem of the person who needs it; builds up the ego of the arrogant person; influences people to make the wrong decision with “eyes wide open;” and laugh at people after the damage has been done.

Unlike the fictional movie, these gremlins are real and people struggle with them often. Apply the opposite of the first of the three rules in the movie: expose gremlins to the light. Gremlins are tamed by identifying and naming them. When you are aware of your self-defeating behavior, you can make better decisions that will change the story of your life. This article begins a series that will help readers overcome self-defeating behavior.

Links to the Gremlin series:

  1. Introduction
  2. Blamer
  3. Denial
  4. Scaredy 
  5. Jekyll and Hyde
  6. Pigpen

RENOVA regards,

Dr. Tom Cocklereece

Hire me as your coach. I useGoToMeetingfor online distance sessions. Coaching sessions and our relationship is confidential but your success will be visible to all. Contact me for a complementary session at drthomreece@bellsouth.net .

HIRE A COACH

After a long day I turned on an old movie on television only to hear a commercial break a few minutes later. The break went right to a ridiculous discussion between a “life coach” and her client. Of course the vignette was meant to be comical and entertaining; however there may be some who form their opinion of the coaching profession from such presentations.

According to the International Coach Federation, professional and life coaches earned $1.5 billion in 2009 and the figure will likely go up steadily. Of course we are not talking sports here but we are talking about organizational, team, and personal development. Indeed, some do not think highly of the coaching profession and I don’t blame them if their experience is limited to an entertainment segment intended to make fun of coaches and those who hire them.  Many people are skeptical of hiring a coach because they are not sure what they do.

WHAT COACHING IS…AND IS NOT

For some, their idea of coaching is of a personal mentor like Mr. Miyagi in Karate Kid giving instructions, “Wax on…wax off.” For others, their idea is of a personal counselor who tells them just what they want to hear. Coaching, counseling, and mentoring certainly share some characteristics but there are distinctions.

  • Coaching forms a co-active partnership that seeks to empower and equip the coachee to achieve greater competence and growth in areas they desire. The coachee is essentially healthy and able to work with the coach to partner and develop a plan for growth. In coaching, the coachee is able to co-actively establish goals for the process.
  • Counseling usually involves some area of disorder, pathology, or dysfunction that essentially disables the counselee in one or more areas of life. The counselor tends to set the agenda and plan for counseling.
  • Mentoring begins with a clear and set agenda for the mentee or protégé. The mentor tends to serve as a supervisor of the training by sort of looking over the shoulder of the protégé. (Simple Discipleship, 97-8), http://drthomreece.wordpress.com/2008/09/14/start-a-christian-coaching-ministry/

A competent coach brings great experience and knowledge of human relationships to bear within the collaborative relationship of the coachee. By great experience and knowledge of human relationships I do not mean the local beautician who transitioned to life coaching. Hearing many years of gossip does not train one to be a competent coach any more than watching many football games qualifies one to coach a NFL team.

COACHING METHODOLOGIES

There are several general coaching methodologies that are employed by a wide range of life, executive, and professional coaches: personal therapeutic coaching, personal performance coaching, organizational therapeutic coaching, organizational performance coaching, and renewal coaching whether personal or organizational. By the term “therapeutic” I do not suggest the medical definition but rather the meaning from the psychotherapy discipline that suggest “self awareness of behavior leading to improved personal growth and interpersonal relationships.” (http://www.reference.com/browse/psychotherapy?o=100074) Indeed, I am not suggesting that a professional coach is a psychotherapist but in order to demonstrate a reasonable level of competence, the coach must have an understanding of basic human behavior and relationships.  (These examples are listed in Renewal Coaching by Reeves and Allison, 2009, pp. 14-17)

  1. Personal therapeutic coaching may tend to “tell the coachee what she wants to hear.” The focus of the coach is to help the coachee achieve their goals. Generally speaking, the coach resists challenging the goals established by the coachee. Don’t misunderstand, many coaches in this realm are able to help their clients achieve personal objectives and manage their time and relationships better.
  2. Personal performance coaching includes sales coaching to name one area where results of the coaching relationship are quantifiable through tracking past and future sales performance of the coachee.
  3. Organizational therapeutic coaching suffers from the same anomaly as its “personal” cousin—the coach tends to tell the organizational executive what they want to hear. Coaches in this realm provide short term benefit to organizations in conflict but they fail to address underlying organizational behavior problems that tend to repeat conflict. This example may be seen when big businesses go “off track” and executives lead their company to act irresponsibly. Most certainly CEOs and executives have advisors and coaches, but they may tend to be “yes men.”
  4. Organizational performance coaching is focused on quantifiable results and seeks to change the behavior of the organization in order to sustain improved results.

The problem with each of the listed examples is that each may provide short-term improvement and do not address the underlying foundation of behavior whether personal or organizational—values. This is where Renewal Coaching, also known as values-based coaching comes in. Don’t confuse renewal coaching or values-based coaching with evidence-based coaching. Each of numbers one through four listed above may include the evidence-based methodology that is unsustainable because foundational values remain unchanged.

RENOVA COACHING IS RENEWAL COACHING

I make it no secret that I am a Christian pastor possessing twenty years of experience dealing with human behavior and helping people change…not easy! The word “RENOVA” is a derivative of a French term “rénover” meaning “renovate” or “renewal” and is descriptive of my coaching methodology. Sustained change moves from the activator out to others in concentric circles as seen in the ripples after a small drop of water impacts the surface of a pond. Likewise, the relationship of the coach and coachee results in change activity reflected in concentric relationships for the greater good. I learned that for change to be sustainable values on which behavior is founded must change. You do what you value and you don’t do what you don’t value. The same is true of organizations whether profit or non-profit, secular or religious, private or government.

Renewal coaching seeks to form a co-active and collaborative relationship with the coachee to develop an “eyes wide open” plan for sustainable change and improvement. By “eyes wide open” I mean that the coaching relationship begins with mutual agreement on several points:

  1. The coach is expected to challenge values and behaviors of the coachee without the threat of retaliation of any kind.
  2. The co-active and collaboration activity within the relationship is expected to challenge and motivate the coachee to achieve the goals of the relationship.
  3. The coachee will strive to change self-defeating behaviors or circumventing the mutually agreed upon activities and goals of the coaching relationship.
  4. The relationship is founded on a mutual goal of improving personal and organizational performance and behavior for the greater good and not just for the coachee.

The above concepts are derived from my own work in Simple Discipleship and Reeves and Allison’s book Renewal Coaching.

When you hire a competent renewal coach, you are not hiring a yes man or an advisor who is going to tell you nice things to make you feel good. In contrast, a great coach will challenge your status quo and it takes a mutual partnership to overcome inertia. Please, don’t shoot the messenger. Many business executives, professionals, and politicians wish they had not.

Helpful Resources:

Renewal Coaching: Sustainable CHANGE for Individuals and Organizations by Douglas B. Reeves and Elle Allison, Josey-Bass Publisers, 2009.

Simple Discipleship: How to Make Disciples in the 21st Century by Tom Cocklereece, Church Smart Resources, 2009.

Co-Active Coaching:New Skills for Coaching People Toward Success in Work and Life by Laura Whitworth, Karen Kimsey-House, Henry Kimsey-House, and Phillip Sandahl, Davies-Black Publishing, Mountain View, CA, 2007.

RENOVA regards,

 

Dr. Tom Cocklereece

 

 

Hire me as your coach. I useGoToMeetingfor online distance sessions. Coaching sessions and our relationship is confidential but your success will be visible to all. Contact me for reasonable rates at drthomreece@bellsouth.net

OPTIMIZE, ORGANIZE, AND ONBOARD TO BE AN EXCEPTIONAL LEADER

Tim was a CEO of a large and growing medical clinic in a major metropolitan city. His clinic had recently expanded by opening more offices, added more doctors and personnel, replaced the software used throughout their offices, and begun a process of converting to electronic medical records (EMR). Tim had come to his present position from a series of positions with much smaller clinics. He had felt for some time that his present position had outpaced his personal growth and ability. The board of directors had adopted the present expansion and upgrade strategy at a time when the economy and projections were favorable, but then things changed. The economy turned south and much of the strategy was placed on hold or at least delayed. Jim heard comments that confirmed his concern that the board might lay the blame on his desk. He took a deep breath as he prepared to enter the board meeting. If he was terminated, where would he go, and how would it affect his career? If he were not terminated, what could he do?

The character named Tim in this article is fictitious and is meant as an illustration but he is typical of many of the readers of this blog. Gone are the days when one’s education provides all that a leader needs for a whole career. In fact, those days never really existed but it was our perception. It is true however that life and work once moved much more slowly allowing leaders to adjust gradually or maintain their level of performance. The job market was not nearly as competitive as it is today. If Tim survived the board meeting what do you think he should do? I would suggest three things he should have done the moment he felt that his position was stretching his abilities— optimize, organize, and onboard.

OPTIMIZE: EXCEPTIONAL LEADERS DEVELOP A PLAN

Optimize means “to make something function at its best (Encarta). Tim may be able to kick his performance up by up to 10% by improving his efficiency but probably not much more without some help. It is easy to suggest that one optimize but you don’t know what you don’t know. That’s why we need a coach…in this case an executive coach. A good coach would set Tim on a renewal plan that takes advantage of his current abilities and develops a process of continued development. Renewal coaching will motivate Tim to dig deeper and achieve higher and raise his performance level by at least 30%. When coaching is done correctly an individual may be tempted to believe that they could have achieved the new level without a coach. A good coach does not seek the credit or attention and makes the coachee feel that they “had it in them all the time.” Consider that the national champions of last year could not have achieved their success without their coach even though everything the coach engaged and empowered in the team was there all the time. A coach is the catalyst that optimizes all the ingredients that go into success.

ORGANIZE: EXCEPTIONAL LEADERSHIP DEMANDS LIFE BALANCE

Indeed, an executive coach is going to encourage Tim to organize…his life, resources, and habits. This also means to prioritize every area of life. It is essential to recognize that to achieve optimal efficiency, it is also necessary to organize and maintain balance in various life dimensions. Again, a coach can help Tim achieve balance in life, family, and career. These life domains would not disappear in a perfect world but balance would be easier to maintain. Life balance requires a disciplined application of four things—clarity, movement, alignment, and focus (Simple Life,Rainer and Rainer, 2009), and a coach can help you define and refine your process to organize.

ONBOARD: EXCEPTIONAL LEADERS GET AHEAD

Getting even with supers, peers, and reports on a professional and performance level is not enough. Exceptional leadership requires that you get ahead. Many modern executives are familiar with the concept of onboarding. While human resources executives refer to onboarding as an orientation process, professional coaches describe it as a process of accelerated development. A coach would work with Tim to develop an onboarding process that would get him up to speed with all of the current objectives included within the business plan of his organization. Certainly, Tim is able to acquire the information needed regarding EMR, but his coach would hold him accountable to his onboarding plan. Included in a great onboarding plan are intentional relational connections within the organization up, down, and laterally to strengthen and broaden Tim’s relational capital. Thus, he is onboarding both personal knowledge and collaborative knowledge within his organization. Developing the 360 degree relationships within the organization will greatly strengthen Tim’s position with the board, doctors, peers, and reports.

The benefits of optimizing, organizing, and onboarding should not be underestimated. If you have reached a plateau in your organization or you are beginning in a new position, consider hiring a coach before the board meeting next quarter. You may be amazed at the results.

Looking to your success,

Dr. Tom Cocklereece

Hire me as your coach. I use GoToMeeting for online distance sessions. Coaching sessions and our relationship is confidential but your success will be visible to all. Contact me for reasonable rates at drthomreece@bellsouth.net

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