A Coach’s Response to Political Discourse

A Blog Post by Bill Copper

I suppose I could have titled this post A CHRISTIAN Response to Political Discourse as I believe there are some attitudes and behaviors that all believers could bring to the current political climate in the US. However, I am writing largely to Christian coaches and I think there may be some particular insights that apply to us.

First, let me say that I don’t care one bit who you voted for, nor where on the political spectrum you find yourself. I know many, many awesome, well-meaning, sincere, godly, effective, gracious people with whom I disagree on various political issues, and my love, respect, and desire for relationship with them is not diminished one bit by those differences in belief or perspective.

And maybe that’s a good place to start in talking about how we coaches can (should?) respond to those with whom we have political disagreement.

The Only Difference Between a Rut and a Grave are the Dimensions

A Guest Post by Dr Brent Sleasman

By Dr Brent Sleasman, President of Winebrenner Theological Seminary (brent.sleasman@winebrenner.edu)

“The only difference between a rut and a grave are the dimensions”
– attributed to Ellen Glasgow

I’m in a bit of a rut right now.  Our organization has just come through a series of big decisions and the adrenaline is slowing as I take a breath before the next issues surface.  It’s fair to say that things are moving in a positive direction; for example, I have the privilege of building a strong personnel team and, as an institution of higher education, we have recently received an affirming report from our main accreditor.  And, yet, if I’m totally honest I’m finding myself struggling to keep focused while having a general feeling of melancholy as I engage in my day to day tasks.  This isn’t my normal demeanor – many (if not most) times I find myself motivated for the tasks ahead and ready to “be” the leader our organization needs at this time.  But not today.  In fact, not for the past few days.

As an avid reader I’m very aware of the assumptions driving many of the business conversations today.  The mentality that “strong and steady” is best, the idea that “life is marathon and not a sprint,” and the belief that consistency is key seems to permeate much of what is considered “business common sense” in 2017.  Perhaps as nothing more than an act of existential revolt, I am finding great dissatisfaction with these prevailing assumptions.

Humility – A Coach’s Most Effective Characteristic

A Blog Post By Bill Copper

I’m sitting on the plane next to a bully. I had a different name, but I realize the context within which many of you are reading this post. (If you’re curious, the name I first thought of has two words. First word starts with J. Second word starts with A).

I have been flying quite a bit for the past couple of years, and as a result I am in good standing with the airline – which means I get upgraded to first class with some regularity. Far and away, most of the people I meet in first class are sweet, humble, interesting, and gracious. While my own upbringing may have given me a negative assumption about those who sit in first class, I’ve found that assumption to be largely false.

90% of Success is Just Showing Up

Blog Post by Brian Miller

Ethan flicked his strawberry blonde hair with a quick head jerk to the right. He wanted to be able to see clearly as his body slipped into the weight machine. Exercise had never been his thing. He was a band geek, and band geeks were exempt from High School P.E. But there he sat, getting ready to push some weights and put some definition into his gangly arms.

I’ve worked out off and on all my life. Exercise will be a focus for a while, then I will achieve a good chunk of my goal, and then something else will take my focus. Exercise will drop away without fanfare. After my dad died in December, the grief was overwhelming, stronger than I had ever felt before. I knew that exercise was going to be needed to exorcise some of this grief.

By the grace of God, I connected with Pastor Bill who also needed some exercise. He was getting married at the beginning of summer and wanted to be a bit healthier as he entered this new bliss. Bill introduced me to the weight machines at the local YMCA. I hadn’t lifted a weight since high school, but the companionship was agreeable, and the weights reduced my grief. This worked great until April.

Bill’s ministry revolves around Community Gardens. Guess what happened in the Spring? Bill didn’t want to go to the Y as much as before. The gardens were calling him! Through a coaching session, the aha came. Since Bill had partnered with me and showed me the ropes, I would partner with someone else and give them the same gift. I just wasn’t sure who. I limped along alone for a month.

Our 15-year-old son Ethan was out of school for summer. My hope was not high, but I asked Ethan if he would want to start working out with me. I needed a new partner. I thought about what obstacles would get in the way. My focus can sometimes have a laser cutting effect. I can be a little too intense. As Ethan showed some initial interest, I laid out our goal. We would “show up” to the YMCA 30 times. We would shoot for 3 times per week.

As Ethan sat locked in to the weight machine, hair flicked to the left, he was unsure of himself and what he should expect. I asked him, “What’s our goal?” He looked at me and smiled. “Show up.” Then he began his 10-repetition set. This has taken away all the pressure to perform. The reason I’ve lost focus from exercising over the years is that my goal has always been to perform. Run in less time. Do more pushups than before. Lose more weight. But now my goal is much simpler. “Show up.”

Am I sure this is going to get me through one solid year of exercising? I have no idea. I do know that in year’s past I would have grown bored with this routine by now. Having a partner is helpful. Ethan and I always work hard when we go. Bill and I were the same. There is just enough competitiveness in the room to push a little harder. I’ll need to a new partner when school starts in August. Maybe Bill will be finishing up in the garden.

When you coach a client in an area where they have repeatedly started and stopped, challenge them to find a new goal, a new perspective. Take your client’s mind to a new perspective where the actions she desires are as regular as eating lunch. I always “show up” for lunch. Build in the accountability required to lock the activity into place for at least a year. A partner. A reward. A punishment.

We’re often told 30 days builds a habit. That has not been my experience. A habit isn’t just an action we repeat. It is a new way of life. Habits aren’t measured. Habits just “show up.”