The esteemed 20th-century Baptist preacher John Claypool once preached a sermon titled “God is an Amateur.” He used the word “amateur” in the original sense of the word: not as a novice or inexperienced person, but one who does something for the love of it. God’s only motivation is love.
My vision – indeed my passion – for Christian coaches is that we be amateurs. May we be fueled by love. May our motivation be a deep love for God that expresses as love for those God loves. May we be driven not by a vision for status or financial gain but by a vision for God-filled human flourishing.
To coach as amateurs requires us to step into an apparent tension. You see, if love of God and others is our basis for coaching, we must strive to develop into professional-level coaches.
What do I mean by the term “professional-level coach”? Three things.
First, a professional-level coach provides coaching of high quality and value, no matter the pay. Motivated by love, we provide excellent coaching regardless of whether we are paid, not paid, or how much we are paid. In a world of value exchange, better coaching fetches higher rates. However, in a world of love, every coach strives to be his or her best as a coach, no matter the payment. This means you and I should strive to display the core competencies of coaching at a professional-level.
Second, a professional-level coach acts like a pro. I once knew a coach who conducted sessions while driving. His client told me the coach put him on hold while the coach ordered at the drive thru. Not professional! Beyond how we display the core competencies, a love-fueled coach should conduct him/herself as a pro. Professionals take their game seriously. They show up on time. They put in the work. They focus.
Third, a professional-level coach treats every client with high regard. Not every client is the president of a successful company or an esteemed artist or whatever criteria signals that this person warrants your ‘A’ game. Every client deserves your best. Every client should be treated as someone who is truly special and unusually capable. You and I should act as if every single client were the most creative, most capable, most important client ever – because they are!
With all this talk of professional-level coaching and being and doing our best, let’s not let go of the fact that God can use coaches of all sorts. God can use a coach who talks too much. God can use a coach who fumbles for the right question. God can use a coach who sometimes gets distracted. Even less-than-professional coaches can be a part of the wonderful work God is doing in the world. However, we should not let this fact lull us into laziness and poor stewardship.
Why do I care that you, as a Christian coach, develop into a professional-level coach? Simple: I believe joining God in the work God is doing deserves your best. What is your best?