Finding Your Place in the Community of Coaches by Tony StoltzfusJul 6th, 2009 | By Tony Stoltzfus | Category: Featured Content
In the last week (even though I’m on sabbatical) several exciting coaching opportunities came my way. They weren’t so much chances for me to use my own skills, make money or accomplish something, but to connect others to the opportunities they needed to fulfill their calling. I get fired up when I have a chance to connect people and opportunities in a way that helps them succeed.
Unfortunately, in all these cases I didn’t know how to make the connection. One individual had an opportunity for coaches who work with parents and teens to write about what they were doing. Another was coaching in New Zealand and not seeing a lot going on with coaching there–I’m sure it would have been a great encouragement to connect him with other leaders in his nation with the same passion! A third was hosting a specialty workshop for coaches and was looking for people who’d benefit from being part of it. Another was simply an e-mail from a friend from years gone by who’d started coaching worship leaders. I would have loved to put him in touch with other coaches doing the same thing, but after scanning my internal database I couldn’t think of anyone.
All these opportunities (so far) have gone to waste. What makes this doubly sad is that there are probably people out there I don’t know who are praying for just such a connection and aren’t finding it. Life is filled with missed opportunities, and many are missed simply because of a lack of network connections within a community.
This type of networking is an integral, biblical part of the calling journey. Barnabas went looking for Paul in Tarsus, and brought him into apostolic ministry. When Moses was called back to Egypt, Aaron went out in the desert and found him. After Saul died, the elders of Judah came and found David and offered him the Kingship. The baker remembered Joseph and recommended him to Pharaoh to interpret his dream. For all these biblical leaders, at a crucial juncture in life God sent someone to recruit them into an opportunity that fit who they were.
Part of the dream for the Christian Coaching Center is to help coaches build those connections. Your chances of fulfilling your destiny greatly increase when you are part of a network of likeminded people. The odds go up even more when you learn to trust each other enough to trade opportunities, relational connections and recommendations.
This kind of community is a powerful thing.
Finding Your Place
CCC can help you find your place in the community of coaches. Communities can have a lot to offer: connection with like-minded people, friendship opportunities, fellowship and much more. But communities only have something to give back when people take initiative to give in. If nobody knows you are out there, you are going to have to take the initiative to invest in the community to reap some of its rewards. Here are some places you can start:
- You have not because you ask not.
Want a friend? Then be a friend. Find someone on the site that is talking about what interests you and strike up a conversation. Contact someone who might have something you need, and ask what you can do for them in return. Instead of putting the writers on CCC on a pedestal, treat them like peers and get in touch. The leader usually can’t be everyone’s friend, but the more people who get in touch with the leader of an area, the better chance he or she has of connecting you with someone who can.
- It is more blessed to give than to receive.
About half of our CCC moderators are actively (sometimes desperately!) looking for people to contribute. What do you have to offer? You could guest post, comment, start a dialogue on a topic, or offer to follow up with people. If you want to get something out of CCC, start by asking, “What can I give?” (I’ve asked moderators who are looking for guest posts to comment after this article, so check the comments below.)
- Become a Lightning Rod.
If you want to connect with other coaches who are doing similar things, why not simply put something out there and say, “I’m coaching in Australia, who else out there is?” Or, “I want to create a list of all the Christian coaching materials in Spanish. Who out there is aware of something?” Nothing will get you more connections than being the hub of the wheel.
- Don’t Hoard Your Rep-Use it!
I used to be very careful about giving recommendations or connecting people. I felt that my reputation was at stake-that I had to ensure these were great people and an excellent fit, and if they weren’t, I had violated my integrity. One day I realized that that was a pretty selfish approach. I was afraid to use my reputation and my relational capital on others’ behalf. I was hoarding my reputation for myself, to make sure people would think well of me, instead of being willing to risk it by standing behind others for the good of the Kingdom. Obviously, I still try to give great recommendations, and I am careful to remind people to check things out on their own, but I am much more prone to give people the benefit of the doubt when I am not in self-protection mode.