Timothy Johnson Photo in Header

« Superman's Paperboy | Main | The Project of College Instruction »

The Carpe Factum of Coaching

2006_top_eight_junior_division On the heels of my London trip, this week was spent in Louisville with a team of 7th and 8th graders from my church that I've been coaching for the past two years.  They compete in a Bible quiz program called Bible Bowl.  I was recruited to coach them when some people in our church found out that I had competed in the same program in junior high and high school, and the parents of those in the program asked me to create a strong Bible Bowl program for our church.  Interestingly enough, there are quite a few parallels between coaching this program and the work I do for my corporate clients:

  1. Define the Goals of Coaching - Before I coach anyone, we sit down and define where it is they want to go.  Do they want to manage projects better, change behaviors, or learn a new skill?
  2. Set the Model for Success - What does a win look like?  For some people, it's managing a project within the triple constraint.  For my church team, it meant finishing in the top 8 teams nationally in their division.
  3. Lay Out The Path - Coaching to success is a process.  If it were instantaneous, nobody would need coaching.  I've mentored some people for months before they changed their behavior to achieve success; others made the leap within a few weeks.  This was my second year of coaching Bible Bowl, and it was this year we made the top 8 (6th place, to be exact).  Success takes time, and as a coach, you have to be willing to invest that time.
  4. Give Them Tools - I'll never send somebody off to manage a project without providing them with some basic templates, nor will I let them proceed without ensuring that they are proficient on at least one project management software tool.  So it was with my church team.  I provided them with lists, software, and information on the book of Acts (the text for this year's competition) that facilitated success.
  5. Understand That Some People are Uncoachable - "Ya gotta wanna" is the key to anyone who is being mentored or coached.  Dealing with Junior High kids, I've dealt with my share of adolescent apathatic defiance (which is why God asked Abraham to sacrifice Isaac when he was still young instead of waiting until he was a teenager....).  No matter how badly some people need to be coached, they may not think they need it.  That horse won't drink.
  6. Let them Fail - Failure is the best teacher for success.  There are clients and friends that I've coached that I've allowed to make bad decisions, knowing full well what the outcome would be.  I challenged their thinking with strategically placed questions before I let them execute, but I realized that the best thing for them would be to fall flat on their face.  My church team has had a few months where they've returned from their monthly round robin meet with egg on their face.  And they knew it.  And it motivated them to try harder.
  7. Celebrate Their Success - When they have a win, make a big deal out of it.  Tomorrow is Sunday, and I'm confident that our congregation will recognize these young people for their accomplishment.  It's a very big deal to place at the national tournament.  When you're coaching somebody and they hit a milestone or create a high quality deliverable, whoop and holler and cheer.  According to Thorndyke, "behavior that is rewarded tends to be repeated."

So congratulations to my 2005-2006 Bible Bowl team on their national junior division 6th place finish (and to all the other teams who finished well).  I'm proud of you all.  Carpe Factum!

Technorati Tags: , , ,


TrackBack URL for this entry:

Listed below are links to weblogs that reference The Carpe Factum of Coaching:


The comments to this entry are closed.

Like What You're Reading? Buy A Book

subscribe to feed

  • Click the button for the free RSS feed. (What is RSS?)

    Or get the feed in your email. Enter your email address:

    Delivered by FeedBurner

Follow Me!

Search Carpe Factum

  • Google

    carpe factum
Powered by TypePad