What I Write About

I write about the infinite number of intersections between every day life and the good news of the God who has come to get us.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Life Coach Jesus, Part 1

In yesterday's Grab-Bag post I briefly touched on a book that I'm finishing up called "Coaching for Performance." In it, Sir John Whitmore (it'd be much easier to read if I could conjure up his British accent) argues that the key to developing people is a coaching approach that taps into human potential and unleashes it.

Whitmore boils the coaches' job down to a couple of core concepts. The job of the coach is to raise the coach-ees awareness and personal responsibility.

Awareness, Whitmore argues, is imperative. People must be made aware of their own inclinations, made aware of group dynamics, made aware of goals and desires of the individual as well as the group/team/company.

People must grow most of all in self-awareness. Towards the end of the book, Whitmore gets super-deep into the psychology of coaching.

He argues that a good coach understands that all of us have multiple sub-personalities. And that the coach helps the "I" underneath all those sub-personalities eventually act as the conductor of the orchestra. The fully integrated "I" stands over and above all the potential warring personalities and voices (say, the voice that tells you to get out of bed early to exercise v. the voice that tells you to hit the snooze bar) and brings them into harmony.

And this, of course, leads us into the responsibility piece. The coachee must not only be aware of the multiple personalities at work in his psyche, but must also take personal responsibility to master them.

If this combination of awareness and responsibility is the key to awakening a healthy, motivated, fully functional human being/employee, then it's obvious that the old top-down methods of high-control in management are utterly useless in Whitmore's understanding.

If the employee only does exactly what they're told because they're afraid of consequences, it does nothing to increase their awareness of a situation or their ability to fix it OR of their sense of responsibility to take the initiative to do the fixing.

It would seem that this talk about awareness and responsibility lines up rather nicely with Jesus' talk in the Sermon on the Mount. Jesus goes to great lengths to shake us up out of our self-righteous stupor--to make us aware of the sin at work in all of our hearts. And he calls us to go to great lengths to own the corrective: gouging one's eyes out, for example.

And yet all of this talk of awareness and responsibility, as helpful as it might be, ultimately can't really deal with our most essential issues in life. But at this point, this post is too long already.

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