Wise coaching: Coach with trust

by Shannon Caughey

I’ve heard multiple coaches share something like this: “When I was a young coach, I was overly confident in myself and my ideas. I wanted to do my own thing rather than listen to what the older coaches around me said. But I soon discovered that this was not very effective. I was far more successful when I paid attention to the guidance and instructions of these older coaches. I discovered the benefits of trusting them rather than thinking I had it figured out myself.”

Determining who or what is ultimately worthy of our trust is a big part of becoming a wise coach. As we saw in the previous devotion, wisdom in the Bible can be defined as “being skilled at living well in this world.” The foundation of biblical wisdom is the fear of the Lord. We develop skill in living out God’s good design for our lives – including in how we approach coaching – as we recognize and rightly responding to his awesome greatness. Developing this further, a significant dimension of wisdom is where we put our trust.

The book of Proverbs is all about wisdom, and Proverbs 3:5-6 is one of the better-known passages: 5 Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. 6 Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take.” How do we grow in wisdom? Put our confidence in the Lord rather than depending upon ourselves. Here’s why this makes sense: there is only one who knows and understands all things, who is sovereign over all, and who is all-powerful…and it’s not us! We grow in skill in living well in this world as we pay attention to the guidance and instructions of the God who created us and created the world.

We can be tempted to compartmentalize our life, thinking that the “spiritual” part of life is separate from the “coaching” part or the “work” part, and so on. Wisdom comes through trusting in the Lord “with all your heart.” In the Bible, the “heart” encompasses more than our emotions. It includes our thoughts and our will that lead to our actions. Our heart is the core of who we are. To trust in the Lord with the totality of who we are at our core is to resist the temptation to compartmentalize our life. It’s to put our confidence in God’s design for us in every area of life.

Verse 6 reinforces this: “Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take.” How you carry out your role as a coach is included in “all you do.” Do you want to develop skill in relating well to your athletes, to parents of your athletes, to your fellow coaches, and to others connected to your program? Look to the Lord and what he makes clear in the Scriptures. Do you want to make wise decisions in challenging coaching situations? Seek God’s guidance through prayer and through his Word. Coaching that reflects the Lord’s character and the Lord’s ways leads to Christ-honoring results.

As you trust in the Lord and seek his will, the promise given is “he will show you which path to take.” This doesn’t mean this path will be easy. In fact, living for Christ often means swimming against the current of what many around you are doing. But as you courageously follow the Lord Jesus out of your confidence in him, you’ll be living and coaching well according to the definition of the One who ultimately matters.

Do you want to be a coach who is truly wise? Let Proverbs 3:5-6 define you: “Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take.”

For reflection: Are you truly trusting in the Lord, or are you trusting in yourself or something else? Pray for a growing confidence in Christ that leads you to seek his will in all you do, including coaching.

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