Connecting with Culture
It’s been said that culture is ‘what we make of the world’, but what does that look like as Christians? How can we begin conversations about what’s goin...
In the same way the resurrection isn’t just for Easter, personal growth isn’t just for January. But a new year does prise open a window to talk about a powerful tool that can help you and those around you grow. I’m talking about coaching.
Coaching is a huge and expanding industry. Search ‘life coach’, or ‘career coach’ on LinkedIn, and I’ll see you in April when you’ve finished scrolling…
For me, coaching is like magic. Being coached helped me find clarity in a season of life where there were so many options, and it opened up in me healthier and bigger ways of thinking about God, work, and the world.
I see this magic as I coach others, too. Vague hopes of ‘a more balanced life’ turn into real conversations with line managers, gym sessions, and date nights. Unhelpful self-talk that drags people backwards is replaced with language and images that help them move forward.
Forward is the key word in coaching. A coach helps people make progress by asking great questions, listening really well, challenging where necessary, and generally holding a space where insight can emerge and solutions be discovered.
From a biblical perspective, there’s a lot to like about it.
Genesis 1 and 2 paint a beautiful picture of human beings: priest-kings, endowed with dignity and responsibility – with freedom to choose, explore, and create. With its ‘I’m not going to tell you what to do’ approach to conversation, coaching honours that humanity.
It stands proudly in the question-asking tradition of Jesus. Jesus had all the answers. But as a master educator, he knew the importance of drawing out what was in others – creating possibilities to affirm the wonderful, challenge the unhelpful, and imagine alternative ways of being.
Coaching also implicitly challenges the ultra-individualism of our culture, recognising the power of conversation with a supportive other. Sure, there’s stuff we can do by ourselves, but some growth only happens in and through relationship.
Even if you’re just hearing about coaching for the first time, we can all use coaching principles to better connect with and serve people in our daily lives. In the conversations you have — as a church leader, manager, teacher, friend, parent, some other capacity — how might you utilise the power of questions and active listening to help people grow and move forward?
In a frantic and fractured world, where everyone has their angle, taking time to ‘draw out’ rather than ‘put in’ is a rare and precious gift.