Born Again Dreamer

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Intentional Growth as a Professional Coach

Leaders are readers!
I love to read. However, I've found that with all my otherresponsibilities and commitments, reading could easily end up on the ‘to do’list, or more accurately, the to-do-at-some-point-but-probably-not-very-soon-list.

After ignoring my reading for a season, I hadan unpleasant realization; I wasn’t growing.  Or at least, I wasn’t growing at the rate thatI had when I was regularly consuming a variety of books.  

I recognized that it was actually my responsibilityto continue to grow and learn. Why? Because God had entrusted me to walkalongside others as a coach and teacher helping direct their own development; how could I do that if I wasn’tfirst growing myself?  Without reading, aleaders influence and development as a Christian can often stagnate.  As the often spoken and true saying goes; leadersare readers.

My big hurdle to overcome was time. Or more precisely;time management.  I really believed I didn’thave any extra time. After some honest self-evaluation however, I discovered the problem wasn't time. The issue was in what I chose to do in my time. 

Watch T.V. for an hour or read Malcolm Gladwell’s book on the power ofthinking? The choice was easily simplified if viewed from this perspective.  I literally would ask myself: “which would add more value to my life and purpose? Surfing theinternet or reading a book on coaching or leadership?” It was obvious whatthe best answer was. This is an ongoing discipline requiring me to ask myself that question regularly. Fortunately,  it’s gotten much easierwith time to do what's best because the payoff is so huge!

I know there are coaches out there groaning right now (yes, Ihear you), so to move you from jeering to cheering, here’s a list of five ideasto help you fit reading into your busy schedule.

  1. Listen to books on audio tape in your car while driving (I usedto be in the car constantly, and I could easily get through several books aweek!).
  2. Listen to books on an mp3 player while you exercise. Thereare tons of free audio books and pod casts out there! (No, it’s not an excuse ifyou don’t know how to do this, Google it; it’s not that hard I promise).
  3. Give yourself permission to read a book by choosing thechapter that most interests you first (no, it’s not a crime to read books out ofchronological order).
  4. Figure out what topic most intrigues you. Is it financialsuccess? Then read Dave Ramsey. Is it spiritual growth? Then read Ravi Zacharias,Mark Driscoll, or Francis Chan. Is it business growth? Then read Zig Ziglar orMichael Hyatt. Is it practical wisdom? Then read Andy Andrews.
  5. Ask others around you for recommendations. Ask your coach tosuggest a great book. Sometimes the overwhelming part for people is trying tochoose what to read; so ask someone you trust. 

The list of talented writers and speakers is nearly endless!There are scads of current and past authors who could add tremendous value toyour life and practice!

The bottom line is if you want to be successful as a coach,then you must read. Your clients deserve the best you can give them, andreading is a powerful avenue for improving your skills as a coach. Don’t wait,begin today!

Challenge question: what is one thing you can youdo today to make a step toward implementing one of these strategies? 
If you've had success in this area, share some of your strategies with others!

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