Friday, November 5, 2010

What's it like to be "coached"?

We are about to enter week eight of our twelve week LK10 Apprenticeship. There are several elements that go into making this a unique learning experience. One of the most important is coaching. Everyone in each cohort receives a coaching session every other week. I asked Sean Hyatt to reflect on what he has experienced so far. As you read what Sean wrote (below) you will gain a clearer sense of what we mean by "coaching".


I grew up in a church denomination where there was a lot of "pouring in" but very little "drawing out". All of my life I have "sat under" good teaching and preaching. A lot of pouring in. Even in counseling sessions with church leaders it was a lot of them trying to talk sense into me, and me doing a lot of listening. This had its value, but recently I have been learning that this could have been so much more effective.

Over the last 6 weeks participating in coaching sessions with John White, I am slowly (but surely) coming to an understanding of the value of "drawing out". We have had three coaching sessions now, each under an hour long -- and in all three, I have left the conversation feeling incredibly clear and edified in the topic we ended up coaching around. The first session had to do with frustrations and fears and lack of direction in my relationship and mentoring of my 11-year-old son. The second, regarding my wife and I butting heads over a certain stressful issue. The third was about an upcoming teaching session on prayer that I will be teaching that I needed some clarity on.

On all three topics, I came into our coaching session honestly doubting that it was going to help much (thanks to my old traditional mindset). Nothing against John - if there is anyone whose counseling and coaching abilities I truly believe in, they are John's. It is this unfamiliar process - how can just talking about something, and me answering a bunch of questions about it help get me the answers I am in such deep need of? But go figure - on all three topics after a short time of discussion over the phone, I left with so much direction, clarity, and understanding that I could not have asked for more!

What adds to my feeling of pleasant surprise on this coaching thing, is that in two out of the three sessions, I didn't even know what I wanted to talk about - and so we approached it by me simply mentioning a number of things that were on my mind and heart, and then trying to pick one of those topics I mentioned (awesome - coaching around want I need coaching on!).

John has been careful to point out to me at the end of each of these sessions, that the majority of our coaching time was me simply talking about these things, and discovering things for myself. He's simply there to be a good listener, ask some key questions, and make sure I am noticing what I am teaching myself as I am talking. I love it!

So, my experience in being coached so far has been both eye-opening and powerfully edifying for me. Personally, this has been the most powerful and formative aspect of this apprenticeship thus far. It has even given me the desire to be a coach myself - to learn "how" to coach others, so that I can be this helpful for my own friends, family, and brethren in the Lord too!

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