Relational Leadership

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If you have played baseball for any amount of time you have run across your fair share of good coaches and bad coaches. But can you specifically identify why some coaches are good and some coaches are bad? Is it in the x’s and o’s, teaching ability, game management, poor people skills, or is it a combination of many of the above. I am not sure how many coaches are out there reading this, but I hope that you have thought critically about coaching and how you do what you do.

In my 25 years I do not have a huge amount of coaching experience, I coached at Colorado Christian University for a short time, Denver Christian High School, and Hitstreak Academy all in Colorado during my time there, none of which give me the insight to speak on a great level to you coaches who have much more experience than I do. However in my few years of work experience I have been put in many leadership positions, and since moving here to the Dominican Republic and being put in a cross-cultural leadership position, I have reflected often on what I do, how I do it, why I do it, and how it bears fruit in leading people, which I feel speaks into both the leadership and coaching world.

Currently there are a myriad of great resources out there that speak to the world of leadership. Many of these resources say a great deal, and many of them seem to contradict each other in strategy to get the most out of the people you are leading. However, I believe if we truly look at great leadership, we cant go further than looking at the person of Jesus, how He did what He did, and how He sparked a movement with twelve men that has continued and strengthened over the past 2000 years.

What was Jesus’ primary mode of leadership? Looking back at the Gospel accounts (Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, the first four books of the New Testament), we can see that Jesus did a lot of things. Jesus healed the sick, preached to the masses, cleared the temple, stood up to the Pharisees, ate with tax collectors and sinners, walked on water, ultimately died for the sins of the world and took our punishment on the cross. However, in looking at Jesus’ life and ministry, His development of the twelve disciples far exceeded anything else. How did Jesus train His disciples; “time”.

We have a resource with FCA called 3Dimensional Coaching, and the premise behind this program is that coaches typically speak to the 1st dimension of the athletes, the fundamentals, x’s and o’s of how to play the game, but in order to be a better coach we must move beyond the 1st dimension to the 2nd and 3rd which are the mind and the heart of the athlete. What must we do to lead the mind and the heart of the athlete? We must “know” our athletes and there is no way to know them without investing the time to understand them. I would call this “relational leadership”.

We have been working through a book “Master Plan of Evangelism” here with our staff for the past few months, and recently we looked at the amount of hours Jesus most likely spent with his disciples, lets say 8 hours a day, by 350 days a year (lets say they got 2 weeks vacation), by 3 years and you get an estimate 8,400 hours that Jesus spent with His disciples. Ultimately, in those 8,400 hours we can guess that Jesus taught, laughed, ate, hung out, prayed, etc. all of which created and instilled in them the necessary tools to continue the movement that He started, ultimately leading to us talking about this today.

Like I said earlier, I don’t know how many coaches are reading this, but if you are I want to encourage you, your athletes are more than x’s and o’s, your athletes are hearts and minds that are being strengthened and equipped to take the world by storm. Coaches, you have an incredible amount of influence, you can speak life into your players! Model Christ, spend time, and use your platform to encourage a generation to take the world by storm, and try to win some ball games along the way!

Coaches I want to hear from you, if you are reading this, if we can encourage each other, please reach out to me at lsawyer@fca.org.

In Christ!