I’ve been thinking a lot about coaching.  I find myself more and more being asked to coach clients/owners/managers on how to be better bosses, better leaders.  I recently assisted an employee through the journey of finding his passion and purpose in his career.  Last week, I sat with a management team frustrated with their leader and walked them through a reality check of the organization.  As I take on these challenges, I want to be constantly improving and become the best coach I can be.  Sure, there are a number of techniques and methods I can use in my coaching.  But I have to ask – what really makes a coach great?

The Game took place this past Saturday – Ohio State versus Michigan college football.  One of the greatest rivalries of all time.  Ohio State was victorious for the 8th straight year, first year under new head coach Ryan Day.  Michigan lost for the 5th straight year under head coach Jim Harbaugh.  Commentators on multiple newscasts talked about the vast differences in coaching styles between the two, particularly the ability of Ryan Day to attract top talent to Ohio State. 

What is truly remarkable about Ohio State’s season this year is the defense.  They have erupted as an elite force to be reckoned with, the best in the nation.  Here’s the crazy part – it’s virtually the same roster as last year.  The difference?  Coaching.  Ryan Day is known as an offensive coach, but he knew something was wrong with the defense and he made coaching changes.  I’m sure it wasn’t easy, but it had to be done.  As the leader of the team, Coach Day made a decision and as a result, now has the top-rated defense in the country and a defensive player contending for the Heisman trophy.  Not too shabby.

I consider coaches to be great who can inspire and help one to hold up the mirror.  A very important coach in my life is my pastor, Pastor John Morris.  Pastor Morris inspires me to be a better Christian and he challenges me to ask the tough questions.  I honestly love going to church on Sunday because I leave fired up and ready to take on the world in the name of Jesus.  Pastor Morris gave a wonderful coaching sermon lately on the topic of the Second Coming of Christ.  We don’t know when Jesus is coming again, but here are 5 things that we ought to be doing if Jesus is pulling in the driveway.

  1. Treating one another with respect.
  2. Putting an end to violence and bloodshed.
  3. Thinking about our words and the impact they have.
  4. Forgiving one another.
  5. And getting our priorities in line.

(Now, whether you’re a Christian or not, I think we can all agree that these action items are good for everyone.  Can I get an ‘amen’?)    

Besides the content, what really resonated with me was Pastor Morris’ delivery of the message.  He is never ‘preachy’; he doesn’t discipline or lay on the guilt.  He just holds up the mirror and asks every member of his congregation to do better, be better.  To think about things in new ways. 

So a great coach is a decisive leader who does what is best for the organization and is able to attract and retain the right talent.  Great coaches inspire and promote self-actualization.  Think about the great coaches in your life and please share tips and tricks with me on Twitter (@christie_engler).  I can’t wait to learn more! 

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