By Ron Marsh
"Well, I've made a decision. I don't think I can do this any more. So, I've decided to quit!" murmured Pastor Josh on the other end of the phone.
His coach responded with empathy, "Wow, sounds like you've come to some serious conclusions."
"Yes, after all that's happened, I just can't see how I can continue to pastor here. I've done all I can do and feel like it's time...time to move on." he sighs.
"You mentioned you just couldn't see how you could continue. What would you need to see to stay?" his coach asked.
"At this point, a burning bush would work!" Both chuckle. Then the pastor responds again, "I guess I'm just not seeing any fruit in what we're trying to accomplish."
"What are you seeing Josh?"
Coaching the Vulnerable Moment
Over time, perhaps the vision fades, expectations go unmet, setbacks take their toll, and discouragement finds a home. In the coaching relationship however, that does not mean that all is lost. Most of us know that challenges exist in any endeavor God calls us to pursue. The difficulty comes when the challenge seems to bring us to a place of overwhelming defeat or despair and it seems that all is lost. Our emotional, physical, and spiritual tanks are often depleted.
It's relatively easy for others to begin to give advice on what to do next and how to overcome. In fact some well-intentioned individuals will see fit to begin to play the role of "spiritual doctor" administering biblical prescriptions for the perceived ailment. While some of these may be helpful, the majority of advice and external direction seems to be of little help.
Coaches understand that a time of crises like the one above is filled with transformational opportunities where God's agenda can be revealed. These are moments in the leader's journey when they are perhaps most vulnerable -- blinded by doubt, confusion and various emotions. Yet, this is the time when the person is the most pliable in the hands of the Lord. A coach's role is to help them see clearly during this dark time, looking to the Lord for revelation and clear sight.
Webster defines revelation as: "An act of revealing or communicating divine truth." Dynamic coaching relationships are formed when both the coach and the person being coached agree to look for and anticipate God's revelation. It's vital that both identify the coaching process can be the catalyst to what God wants to do.
Mark 8:22-25 records the healing of a blind man that gives us some interesting insight to the process of revelation. The passage reads:
They came to Bethsaida, and some people brought a blind man and begged Jesus to touch him. He took the blind man by the hand and led him outside the village. When he had spit on the man's eyes and put his hands on him, Jesus asked, "Do you see anything?"
He looked up and said, "I see people; they look like trees walking around." Once more Jesus put his hands on the man's eyes. Then his eyes were opened, his sight was restored, and he saw everything clearly.
Notice how "some people" brought this man to Jesus. These helpers not only physically brought him but also "begged" that Jesus heal him. Sometimes that's the role of the coach to exercise faith by simply bringing those who are faced with temporary blindness to Jesus and ask that He do what man cannot.
Then we see that Jesus was considerate and took the man away from the crowds outside the village and away from the familiar. There he used methods that the man understood (spit and touch). After the first touch, only partial sight was restored so Jesus touched him again and he "saw everything clearly."
This passage is a good reminder that the clarity Jesus provides is often a progression rather than a one-time "ah-ha." It begins with a little insight at first and then as we're continuing to look for it, a full revelation.
Perhaps you or someone you know is navigating some blinding moments in ministry or life calling. This coaching worksheet provides some coaching questions to spark the process of gaining greater clarity.