The Art of Coaching Well

Attending coaching clinics, reading books on coaching, listening to podcasts about coaching – all of these are good ways to acquire information that can potentially help you be a better coach.  But you still have to figure out how to apply that information to your setting and the unique individuals who make up your team.  To make matters more complex, the players on your team change each season: you add new players and lose other players, and even your returning players often change in terms of their maturity and skill development.

Here’s what this means: being the best, most transformational coach possible takes more than the acquisition of information about coaching.  You need wisdom.  In the 3Dimensional Coaching curriculum, wisdom is defined as “the ability to see the end result of present action.”  In his book The Holy Wild, Mark Buchanan further unpacks what wisdom is: “Wisdom is more than knowing things; it’s knowing what to do with the things you know.  It’s the art of living well, living so that you and all around you benefit.”

Wisdom is the art of living – and coaching – well.  It’s knowing how to utilize helpful information to take the right actions now that will lead to the best possible future results for us and those we influence.  We all want to live and coach with wisdom.  How can this happen?  Through looking to the ultimate source for wisdom: God, who is “wonderful in counsel and magnificent in wisdom” (Isaiah 28:29).  When we place our faith in Jesus Christ, who is “the wisdom of God” (1 Cor. 1:24), we have access to the Lord’s wisdom in every situation.

Here’s how we can grow wisdom:

  1. Worship – We must be convinced of who God is and respond to him appropriately if we desire wisdom from him.  “Fear of the Lord is the foundation of true wisdom.  All who obey his commandments will grow in wisdom.” (Psa. 111:10)  As Eugene Peterson writes, to fear the Lord is to be brought “to awesome attention before the overwhelming grandeur of God.”  It’s to have our hearts captured by the greatness of God so that we genuinely worship him.  As we’re increasingly awed by God, we will trust what he says about the best way to do all parts of life.
  2. Study – To trust what God says about how to live wisely, we actually have to know what God says.  God speaks to us through his Word, the Bible.  We grow in wisdom as we diligently study what God says in the Bible about living with wisdom.  “The instructions of the Lord are perfect, reviving the soul.  The decrees of the Lord are trustworthy, making wise the simple.” (Psa. 19:7)
  3. Ask – Ask God for direction in specifically applying his wisdom from his Word in everyday situations.  James 1:5 says, “If you need wisdom, ask our generous God, and he will give it to you.”  When trying to determine how to respond with both godliness and grace in a challenging situation, ask God for wisdom to apply what you know from his Word.  When considering how to influence your players for Christ while being respectful of the parameters of a public school setting, ask God for wisdom to know what it means to be an ambassador for Christ (2 Cor. 5:20).  In every situation you can ask God to give you the knowledge of what to do with the things you know about who he is and how he desires for you to live.

Confidence in God is built on knowing him and his character.  Coach, be confident in this: God is magnificent in wisdom, and he will give you his wisdom as you worship him, study his Word, and ask in faith.  As you live with this confident dependence upon God and his wisdom, he will empower you to know what to do to honor him day by day.  This is the art of living and coaching well.