Back to Cru.org

A New Perspective on Coaching

Recently on The Today Show, Tom Brokaw shared a video segment on the latest workplace trend, WeWork, a communal office space, which, not surprisingly, is a trend that is being driven by Millennials.

The Four minute video can be seen here on Yahoo, but it was something Brokaw said in the post-piece discussion with the other Today Show hosts that caught my attention.

He said that “this [Millennial] generation is changing everything that we have taken for granted over the years. Often they change jobs. Between the ages of 20 and 31, they’ll change jobs SIX times. They don’t want a permanent [work] place.”

In my experience with Millennials, I’ve found this to be generally true. The Millennials I know are often transient and seem to be changing jobs or moving frequently.

Research shows that twenty-somethings change jobs frequently, which may be partly influenced by a lack of clarity regarding calling and direction.
Research shows that twenty-somethings change jobs frequently, which may be partly influenced by a lack of clarity regarding calling and direction.

I can’t say for sure what’s driving this need and desire for frequent change, but one thing that I can say, is that Millennials are concerned with and often confused about their calling, which may contribute to frequent job changes.

In just the past few weeks, my wife, Jen, and I have met with several Millennials who’ve all asked similar questions, such as, “how did you know you wanted to do what you do?” Or, “how do you determine your calling in life?” Or, “how do I know if this career is right for me?”

These life questions are rooted in a deep-seated desire to make a difference in the world. Millennials want to make an impact on others yet they often don’t see how their job is directly contributing to any positive change.

Part of our ministry with Millennials is to help them understand God’s calling on their life, learn to integrate their faith and work and learn how to advance God’s Kingdom purposes by serving in their community.

A big role we have is that of a coach. But my understanding of what it means to coach others is being challenged through some of the professional learning we’ve been pursuing.

Coach Liam Clemons gives the Trabuco Hills JV Cross Country boys final instructions and motivation before the League race.
Coach Liam Clemons gives the Trabuco Hills JV Cross Country boys final instructions and motivation before the League race.

You see, when I think of a coach, I tend to think of my Little League Coach or my high school wrestling coach. When I think about those coaches, there was a lot of instruction and teaching (“do it this way”, “here’s what you’re doing wrong”, etc.), which makes sense because those coaching scenarios largely involved skill acquisition.

So when I think about coaching Millennials, I tend to think about imparting my wisdom, experience and expertise to those who are less experienced. My tendency, then, is to give advice and suggestions to help others move forward and make decisions.

My wife and I are reading a book that has challenged that thinking somewhat. The book, The Coach Model, suggests that the role of a coach (a life coach) is NOT to give advice or make suggestions. Instead, the coach’s role is to listen, ask questions and empower others to be equipped to think through and handle situations on their own.

The author makes the case that God is already at work in the life of all believers. Though all believers have the Holy Spirit, not all believers listen to His voice and know how to respond well. Coaching integrates a discernment process that empowers others to learn to seek and listen to God’s voice in their own discernment process.

In a sense, our job as coaches is to help others mature spiritually in such a way that they become more and more reflective and dependent on the Holy Spirit as they seek to overcome obstacles and meet the demands of life.

It’s a different perspective on coaching, but in the end, Young Professionals will be empowered to discern GOD’s calling on their life, instead of simply adopting the desires and calling that others may have for them.

Once a person understands their calling and their passion, they’re released to experience an amplified life – an authentic life of meaning and purpose. As a result, lives are impacted and communities are transformed.

How about you? How have you viewed coaching in the past? What are some areas in your life where you think you could benefit from a coach?

If you’re a Millennial, living and/or working in Orange County and you’re confused about your calling, contact us. We’d love to talk to you and see if coaching might help you more effectively reach the goals and dreams you’re pursuing for God’s Kingdom!

David Lowe