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
Coachability Trait #3 – SMART

Coachability Trait #3 – SMART

Very seldom do I watch the footage after a football match; but when Liverpool plays I enjoy watching Jurgen Klopp celebrate, encourage and, if necessary, console his players. His self-awareness sets him apart from other managers. This is why he is considered one of the most emotionally intelligent coaches in the game today.

Klopp is one of the most successful and sought-after football managers in the world today. He coaches Liverpool FC of the English Premier League. He is also a Christian and willing to share his views about faith – read more here.

In a BT Sport interview, “The Man Behind The Manager”, Klopp was asked: “How would you describe your style of leadership?”

His response was spot on: “Giving the right advice in the right moment.” He also expressed his desire to manage each of his players differently by remaining “close to the human being”. And finally, his commitment to helping the club, fan and players succeed by giving everything of himself “freely and expect others to do the same”.

Klopp’s ability to manage and get the best from his players is exceptional. He admits that he is not the smartest (or has the highest IQ); however, his EQ sets him apart and is legendary in the highly competitive, highly stressful and highly compensated sport of football at the highest level.

In the book Emotional Intelligence 2.0, Travis Bradberry and Jean Greaves break down EQ into four key areas:

  1. Self-Awareness: is your ability to accurately perceive your own emotions in the moment and understand your tendencies across situations.
  2. Self-Management: is your ability to use your emotions to stay flexible and direct your behavior positively.
  3. Social Awareness: is your ability to accurately pick up on emotions in other people and understand what is really going on with them.
  4. Relationship Management: is your ability to use your awareness of your own emotions and those of others to manage interactions successfully.

Consider the people you are currently coaching and developing, assess their EQ using the 3-point scale below:

  • Low = unaware
  • Medium = somewhat aware
  • High = always aware

Now consider people you want or should be developing, using the same scale.

What new insights do you have?

If you would like to process this further, please e-mail us to schedule a complimentary, 25 minute coaching conversation with Gary Reinecke.

Hungry like Pep Guardiola

Hungry like Pep Guardiola

Last week I introduced three virtues of a coachable person based on Patrick Lencioni’s book entitled: The Ideal Team Player. The three virtues: Hungry-Humble-Smart are also wonderful traits of a coachable person. I will address each of these in the upcoming blogs beginning with the trait of a “hungry” person.

In case you missed it, Pep Guardiola led Manchester City to the English Premiership title last weekend. To no one’s surprise, the club completed the feat with 6 games remaining in the season. This gives them the chance to accumulate the most points ever during the course of a single season – and chances are, “Pep” will see his team reach that goal.

Beyond his desire to win is a relentless thirst to learn and be a student of the game so that he can find new ways to surprise his opponents. He is regarded as THE BEST manager in the game of football (soccer) today – and perhaps of all time. *He was the third of four children born to Valenti Guardiola, a bricklayer, and Dolors Sala and raised in a working-class home with solid family principles and a clear sense of dignity.  His unquenchable thirst drives him to succeed, challenge his players and feed the wild beast within.

*If you are interested in reading more about Pep Guardiola here is the link to an article highlighting his journey that created his incredible appetite and work ethic.

When identifying leaders to coach, having a hunger to learn, continually improve and achieve, is critical to a fruitful coaching relationship. Nothing is more inspiring than a person who has the desire, that drive and grit to grind it out when hard work is required. This hunger will drive the agenda for many a coaching relationship.

Consider the people you are currently developing, assess each by their willingness to word hard using a 3-point scale

  1. Low = lacks drive
  2. Medium = solid work ethic
  3. High = crushes it at every opportunity

Now consider people you want, or should be developing, using the same scale.

What new insights do you have?

If you would like to process this further, please e-mail office@infocusnet.org to schedule a complimentary, 25 minute coaching conversation with Gary Reinecke.

Do you have a leadership pipeline?

Do you have a leadership pipeline?

Not too long ago I was asked to recommend a book to help churches design a leadership pipeline. A “leadership pipeline” is a leadership development process that helps local churches establish, grow and reproduce leaders. At that point in time, when I searched my mental files, I came up short. Today, I can answer that question with a resounding “yes”.

“The Leadership Difference”, by Robert Logan, offers principles for the leader who’s vision is to develop other leaders. Reflection questions with related resources enable reproducing leaders to create their unique development process.

When discussing leadership development with other leaders, I’ve discovered the lines between discipleship and leadership are often blurry. In fact, some would argue, discipleship = leadership development. There is some truth to that statement. Logan makes the case and captures the essence of that dynamic; the relationship is one of interdependence:

Discipleship is the often less visible but absolutely essential foundation upon which leadership must rest. Without it, everything else collapses (p.19)

But there are also differences. The author makes a clear distinction between Discipleship Competencies and Leadership Competencies:

Discipleship Competencies:

  • Experiencing God
  • Spiritual Responsiveness
  • Sacrificial Service
  • Generous Living
  • Disciplemaking
  • Personal Transformation
  • Authentic Relationships
  • Community Transformation (p.21)

Leadership Competencies:

  • Personal Development
  • Developing Leaders
  • Leading Teams
  • Organizational Development
  • Communication Skills
  • Pastoral Skills (p.26-27)

This alone is worth the price of the book. A more complete list is presented in Appendix A and B. Clarifying the two creates a clear distinction. This allows a leader to design her/his own leadership pipeline, with the end in mind.

Logan is one of the leading thinkers in church planting and leader development today. His extensive experience as a coach, consultant and trainer in 30+ countries, spans four decades and gives him a broad base from which to draw. Logan is constantly asking God: “What’s next for the church to grow and reproduce healthy disciples and leaders?”

I highly recommend “The Leadership Difference” when you are being asked to build a leadership pipeline in the church or ministry you serve.