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Keeping the Main Thing the Main Thing

Let me be very clear.     I am a former Southern Baptist who attended Southwestern Seminary.   When I was a young minister, fellow alum Rick Warren was a role model for pastors.     He was not only a challenging teacher and preacher, but he was emerging as a successful church planter with Saddleback Community Church. It is now one of the largest congregations affiliated with the Southern Baptist Convention.   My respect for Warren as a pastor continues.  I have a couple of his books on my bookshelf.  Due to some family experiences, Warren has been a strong champion for Christians to address mental health issues.   He championed evangelicals fighting AIDS overseas.  In recent years, he led the Saddleback church to ordain three women as staff pastors. His successors in pastoring Saddleback will be a married couple with the wife recognized as “teaching pastor.”   Even so, Warren misses the boat on some key issues.  As the recent meeting of the Southern Baptist Convention mulled over wheth
Recent posts

The Mentor’s Guide: A Book Review

The Mentor’s Guide:     Facilitating Effective Learning Relationships has just been published in its third edition, a clear testimony to its importance in the practice of mentoring.    Authors Lois K. Zachary and Lisa Z. Fain have updated this “bible” of mentor practice to reflect new insights, developing theories, and contemporary reality.   The authors see the mentor relationship as a mutual experience that generates growth for both mentor and mentee (although I prefer the word protégé).  As such it requires investment, preparation, and reflection on part of both participants.    The revised edition considers not only evolving theories about adult development and mentoring, but also incorporates insights about the global nature of organizations, the importance of innovation, the reality of diversity, and the necessity of innovation.   One insight relating to innovation is the idea of SMARTER goals to augment SMART goals.  We are all familiar with the idea of SMART goals—specific, mea

The Great Digital Commission: A Review

A few short years ago, a seminary student asked one of his professors, “When are you going to start teaching online?”  The professor replied, “When you start leading worship online.” We know where that went, don’t we?  During the pandemic, most churches learned how to take their services to Zoom, Facebook Live, or some other digital platform.   In The Great Digital Commission , author Caleb J. Lines encourages the church to go even further, embracing social media not only to connect those who are already involved in a local congregation but to use digital platforms to reintroduce itself to those outside the church.   Just as Jesus and the early apostles developed community to reach and disciple believers, Lines argues that community is still at the heart of the Christian faith and the social media can be used to engage the unreached and to nurture believers.  He defines social media as “applications and websites that enable social networking and the creation/sharing of digital content.

The Coaching Triangle: From Dyadic to Triadic

In our coaching and coach training, our focus is usually on the partnership between the coach and the client.     In this process, the coach leads the process with the client providing the agenda—the subject for discussion, resource discovery, action plans, and achievement.    In a recent online presentation, Professor Peter Hawkins suggested a new perspective for the coaching relationship. His presentation on “From Ego to Eco Coaching:  Creating Value Beyond the Client” offered a challenge to place the coaching relationship in a larger context.  How can the coaching relationship benefit the organization, society and the world?   Hawkins outlines the change in perspective in this way:   For the coach it means moving “from facing the person you are coaching as your client, to going shoulder to shoulder with them as your partner, jointly facing what their world of tomorrow is asking them to step up to.”   For the coach and client, the new orientation is one “where coach and client are jo

Team Emotional Intelligence 2.0: A Review

Through the work of Daniel Goleman, most of us have been exposed to the concept of personal emotional intelligence (EQ) and its components—self-awareness, self-management, other awareness, and relationship management.  Understanding our own EQ contributes to our mental health, resiliency, and allows us to relate to others effectively.   The authors of Team Emotional Intelligence 2.0 have applied this approach to teams with the goal of developing high-performing teams.  They identify the four skill sets involved as emotional awareness, emotional management, internal relationships and external relationships.     Under each set, they offer strategies to enhance the awareness, health, and effectiveness of a team and give concrete examples of successful application as well as planning ideas.  The approach is very practical.  The primary concern is that the leader or group facilitator not become overwhelmed but focus on a few key strategies.   I have used the individual Emotional Intelligen

Recognizing Differences in Coaching

A friend got very upset with me once when I said, “I don’t treat all of my children the same way.”  He thought this was very unfair, but I tried to explain that my desire was to relate to them in a way that was appropriate to them as individuals.  I am sure that I did not always succeed, but I realized that each of them was unique--the needs of one were very different from the needs of another.  I loved, and still love, all of them but the important thing was that I attempted to provide what I thought each one needed.   So here is my secret:  I don’t coach all of my coaching clients in the same way!  Why?  Because they are individuals with different needs, experiences, and capacities.  Each person has their own particular way of processing experiences, learning, and acting.  If I fail to take that into account, our coaching relationship will not be effective.   For example, one client may know what she wants to work on and comes prepared for the session.  She already has some action st

Coaching: A Guide for the Journey

The first real “job” for which I was paid was as a math tutor.     Considering that I failed Calculus in college, this is rather ironic.     I was a junior in high school and my math teacher recommended me as a tutor for an eighth grader.    The parents paid me ten dollars a session.   As I began working with this young man, I realized pretty quickly that he already knew what he was supposed to do.  He understood the calculations and was probably a better math student than I was!  The key was focus.  He needed someone who would just sit with him, respond to his work, and provide encouragement.  I did not need to be an expert; I just needed to be there.   I find myself in the same situation very often as a leadership coach.  As I talk with a client, I discover that not only does the person have the best knowledge of the situation we are discussing, but he or she has some ideas about how to address it in a positive way.  So why does the person need a coach?   One of the things that a coa