Great Coaches Make the Right Decisions at the Right Time

Great Coaches Make the Right Decisions at the Right Time

What lesson can we learn from the best coaches in the world?

What do world-class; truly world-class coaches do that set them apart?

Let’s take a look at the world of professional sports and assess what coaches at the highest level do that translates into the ministry world. For instance, take one of the most successful football coaches in European club football – Zinedane Zedane. Not only was he one of football’s greatest players of his generation; but now is approaching his team’s third European Championship in a row. A feat that has only been achieved by Bayern Munich from 1974-1976.

For our purposes, what can we extract from what Zedane does and apply that to how we approach disciplemaking and leader development?

First, Zedane understands the game.

Second, he knows his players.

Third, Zedane makes the right decisions at the right time.

I realize that I am making a leap to suggest that coaching in the sport’s context can have some relevance for coaching in a ministry context; but these are worth consideration.

Let’s take that third one today – Zedane makes the right decisions at the right time.

His knowledge of the game and innate understanding of his players feeds his masterful ability to make decisions that will advance his team odds of winning. Through a couple of key substitutions in the first leg of the semi-final against Bayern Munich, early in the game, the flow of the game changed. They were able to shore up their defense, build up play from the back, advance through the midfield and eventually score. This was not an accident, this was the result of a tactical change made by their coach, Zinedane Zedane.

This Saturday, May 26 we will see how Zedane matches up against his Liverpool counterpart, Jurgen Klopp (see COACHABILITY TRAIT #3 – SMART blog entry). Two extremely knowledgeable football minds with different approaches to the game. Zenedane makes tactical decisions during the flow of the game and Klopp is capable of making adjustments but is unable to alter his approach – all out attacking football. Mind you, this will be a clash of two similar but very distinct styles of play. Should be an exciting match.

What can we learn from Zedane as it relates to coaching in a ministry context? When coaching disciplemakers and leaders, it is imperative that we know when to allow the person to figure the problem out on their own vs. “fixing” or solving the problem for them. When a coach jumps in and fixes the problem it communicates: “I am smarter” than the person they are coaching. This strokes the ego of the leader and in most cases, undermines the development of the person and ultimately, dis-empowers them. But when the coach allows the person the time to reflect, expand their awareness and arrive at their own solutions, people tend to:

  • Feel Empowered
  • Own the Issue
  • Take Action.

These are just some of the benefits of taking a coach approach with people you develop.

Here are three questions for your reflection:

  • What has happened when you allow people time to process their thinking and arrive at their own solutions?
  • What has happened when you have stepped-in to offer your solution?
  • Which approach is more empowering?

Here are three coaching resources I have found helpful to increase your effectiveness as you coach a person to enhance their problem solving abilities: 

Great Coaches Know Their Players

Great Coaches Know Their Players

What lesson can we learn from the best coaches in the world?

What do world-class; truly world-class coaches do that set them apart?

Let’s take a look at the world of professional sports and assess what coaches at the highest level do that translates into the ministyr world. For instance, take one of the most successful football coaches in European club football – Zinedane Zedane. Not only was he one of football’s greatest players of his generation; but now is approaching his team’s third European Championship in a row. A feat that has only been achieved by Bayern Munich from 1974-1976.

For our purposes, what can we extract from what Zedane does that applies to how we approach disciplemaking and leader development?

First, Zedane understands the game.

Second, he knows his players.

Third, Zedane makes the right decisions at the right time.

I realize that I am making a leap to suggest that coaching in the sport’s context can have some relevance for coaching in a ministry context; but these are worth consideration.

Let’s take that second one today – Zedane knows his players. He knows their personality, strengths and weaknesses, what motivates and demotivates, how and when to challenge. What you also sense from Zedane is, he knows how hard to challenge to get the very best from his team.

When coaching disciplemaker and leaders, it is imperative that we know the people we are empowering. What I am suggesting is that we must know what makes a disciplemaker “tick” and how to help leader’s take that difficult next step in their development. Specifically a coach must know their:

  • Personality
  • Strengths and Weaknesses
  • Motivator and De-motivators

These are just some of the complexities of the human beings that we are called to coach to make disciples and leaders.

Here are three questions for your reflection:

  1. What are the personality traits of the people you coach (for disciplemaking & leader development)?
  2. How do you challenge different people, differently?
  3. How do you motivate different people, differently?

Here are two coaching resources I have found helpful to help coach introverts and extroverts:

Coaching Introverts

Coaching Extroverts

Great Coaches Know the Game

Great Coaches Know the Game

What lesson can we learn from the best coaches in the world?

What do world-class; truly world-class coaches do that set them apart?

Let’s take a look at the world of professional sports and assess what coaches at the highest level do that translates into the ministry coaching. For instance, one of the most successful football coaches in European club football is Zinedane Zidane of Real Madrid. Not only was he one of football’s greatest players of his generation; but now is approaching his team’s third European Championship – in a row. A feat that has only been achieved by Bayern Munich from 1974-1976.

For our purposes, what can we extract from what Zidane does that applies to how we approach coaching disciplemakers and leaders?

First, Zidane understands the game.

Second, he knows his players.

Third, Zidane makes the right decisions at the right time.

I realize that I am making a leap to suggest that coaching in the sport’s context can cross-over to coaching in a ministry context. But aren’t these worth consideration?

Let’s take that first one today – Understands the game. Zidane knows what, how and when to makes adjustments so that his teams score, defend and close-out games. What you also sense from Zidane is, he knows how to handle defeat.

For instance, last week Real Madrird played Bayern Munich in the European Cup Semi-Final in a home and away series. In the first leg in Munich, Real Madrid went one goal down early in the match. Zidane made changes to the squad and they fought back, away from home and won the match, 2-1. In the home series it was Real Madrid that proved their superiority once again with a convincing win, thanks to a critical mistake from Bayern’s goalkeeper.

When coaching disciplemakers and leaders, it is imperative we understand the “game”. What I am suggesting is that we must understand the process of making a disciple; and the process of developing a leader; so that we will know how to help people:

  • make adjustments 
  • do what is required to advance
  • handle set-backs.

These are just some of the complexities of the “game” that we are asked to play as we coach disciplemakers & leaders.

Here are three questions for your reflection:

  1. What developmental process (disciplemaking & leader development) has worked for you in the past?
  2. How do you engage people in a developmental process?
  3. What would make the process reproducible?

I have found the two coaching resources below helpful to define the pathway for disciplemaking & leader development:

  1. Making Disciples Storyboard
  2. Leadership Multiplication Pathway