In the last segment of “Minister as Coach”, we discussed the context of coaching and saw how it blends with our Unity principles. We looked at the principle that our level of consciousness gives rise to our actions and results, and how this is a foundational principle of our Unity faith, and a coaching paradigm. The powerful parallels between the philosophy of coaching and the principles of Unity are due to the origins of the coaching industry being heavily grounded in an arm of philosophy known as ontology. Ontology means the study of who one is being in relation to circumstances. Ontology is a field of philosophy under the umbrella of metaphysics that gave rise to the interpretation of spiritual truth in Unity.
The coaching paradigm operates from the belief that Being generates doing or, stated another way, one’s level of consciousness is what gives rise to one’s predominant way of being, which in turn gives rise to the actions and results that one produces. Therefore how one is being (i.e., one’s attitudes, perceptions, beliefs, emotions and subsequent actions) creates the results that one is producing. A simple image to illustrate this concept is at right.
There are wonderful parallels between how Jesus “ran his ministry” and how we can apply specific coaching skills and paradigms to aid the spiritual growth of others as well as the growth of our ministries. Let’s look at some of those parallels and how we can use specific coaching skills and structures to enhance the spiritual growth and development of our leaders.
Focus on the present.
When Jesus was healing the sick or forgiving one who had transgressed, he did not spend hours (or years!) lamenting the terrible misfortunes of the past. He merely said, “Your sin is forgiven. Go and sin no more.” In other words, Jesus’ coaching was, “Don’t dwell on your failures, focus on where you are going and correct your course of action.” This is a prudent principle because Spirit cannot work through your life in the past. Spirit is only here, in this now moment, calling you forward toward your next highest expression. When ministers run their ministry from a coaching context, it means focusing on the way of being that others bring forth in regard to their circumstances and continually calling forth their true Christ nature.
Deal with “what’s so.”
The second coaching principle requires seeing what is happening in a given situation devoid of fears, stories, projections and opinions. It requires seeing the truth of a situation, regardless of appearances. Jesus did not sit down and discuss why those who came to him were sick or lame or blind. He healed them, with love and compassion, and then moved on. There was no “story,” no drama. This quality of dealing with “what’s so” rather than how we think things should be requires a high degree of spiritual and psychological maturity, and a high level of consciousness. That is how we are called to be in our ministries. Jesus led the way for us to follow.
Be results oriented.
If you ask most people if they focus on results, the answer frequently would be “well, of course.” But if you then ask them to list the results they have produced in the past 6 months, or even year, many people are often sorely lacking. When Jesus was before the 5,000 with a couple loaves of bread and a few fish, he didn’t lament his lot and wonder why there is such scarcity. He got about the work of producing the result he wanted to produce. How many of us follow that example? How often, instead of getting busy producing the result we want, do we engage in analysis paralysis, or get lost in organizational quicksand, slowed down to barely a crawl when the task is creating change in our ministry? To be results oriented means setting clear goals and taking consistent action toward them.
In order to accomplish goals, people must be held accountable for delivering on what they said they would do. It requires a culture in which personal integrity—being one’s word—is prized and modeled. From a coaching perspective, membership in the Unity spiritual center will be more meaningful as people commit more deeply and take more ownership of the center. Numerous Unity centers have been introducing membership accountabilities which support members in having a strong background in Unity principles as they move into membership within the center.
Operating a ministry from a coaching perspective focuses on the present, determining appropriate action and producing results, all grounded in the context of elevation of consciousness. This is where there is a good marriage between coaching and ministry—one that is a natural extension of and a wonderful fit with our Unity principles.