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Friday, December 14 , 2018, 6:41 pm | Fair 58º


Jim Langley: Believe Me, Coaching Counts!

There have been times in my life when I’ve toyed with the idea of a coaching career. When asked, I’ve always enjoyed helping someone with their golf swing, since I have a good grasp of the fundamentals of the game and still play fairly well.

There are moments when I’ve felt compelled to look into coaching baseball, but I’ve been away from the game for a long, long time.

Instead, God has taken me in a very different direction by instilling in me new individual coaching skills that I’ve enjoyed implementing over the past few years in helping some acquaintances get back on track in their personal and business lives. Believe me, coaching counts!

Whether coaching an individual or team in a given sport or taking on the task of personal coaching, the approach needs to be one that emphasizes observation skills and the ability to communicate in different fashions to maximize the potential of the student.

It also requires the student to willingly learn and apply the principles being taught.

As an example, a golf professional may be faced with an unenviable task in making needed changes to the golf swing of a student who’s been hitting the ball improperly for years. The golfer’s tendency will be to naturally revert to old habits while under pressure on the course.

In personal coaching, the coach must also deal with assisting the student in changing old habits that often stymie personal growth. The Christ-based coaching program I successfully completed several years ago can benefit anyone willing to work within the guidelines of the program. Certainly followers of Jesus Christ can more easily relate to the emphasis placed on the Holy Spirit in this particular program.

Yet all the sincerity in the world and faith in God to complete the work won’t bring success, if the student is not willing to make the needed changes for personal growth.

I’ve found what works best for me is to simply come alongside someone who indicates a true desire to improve in some aspect of their life and help them through a simple approach that takes them from Point A to Point B. Once Point B has been reached, it then becomes Point A and the student determines the new Point B they feel they can handle with the help of the Holy Spirit.

My job is to get out of the way, watch the progress on their journey, encourage the student, observe the results and thank God for the work that’s accomplished.

Nearly 20 years ago, I contracted a life coach to prepare me for my 12-month stint as president of our local Kiwanis Club. I did not feel fully qualified and wanted to get a better handle on my strengths and weaknesses as a leader.

I found the three months spent working with my life coach to be challenging, intensive and enlightening. My coach’s training approach was fairly effective yet quite bizarre. I had never heard a woman feel the need to cuss so much to convey her message. I finally had to call her on the carpet and ask her to clean up her language, if we were going to continue the process. She did, and the process went well from that day forward.

In life coaching, we first look for a change in the heart. Once the heart changes, the person quickly begins to learn and grow and understand themselves better.

In Psalm 139:23-24, King David rightly proclaimed to God “Search me O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.”

These days, my personal coach is the Holy Spirit, but I do have others who I call upon to give good counsel during challenging times. We can all gain from a little coaching in this challenging life journey.

In Proverbs 3:5-6, we’re reminded “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight.”

Please at least consider utilizing some form of coaching in your life journey. It has proved beneficial for me, and I’m certain you can benefit from godly counsel as well.

Passages to Ponder

» Proverbs 8:12-16

» Proverbs 15:21-24

» Proverbs 27:9-10

» John 14:15-17

» 1 John 4:18

— Jim Langley has been writing for more than 30 years while working as a life and health insurance agent in Santa Barbara. In recent years, his passion has turned to writing about his personal relationship with God, and his goal is to encourage others to draw near to Him as well. As a longtime member of CBMC of Santa Barbara (Christian Business Men’s Connection), he started writing Fourth Quarter Strategies columns in 2014, and he now reaches an international audience through the CBMC International devotional Monday Manna. Click here for previous columns. The opinions expressed are his own.

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