“Coaching makes all the difference.”
“Accountability is the secret sauce to success.”
“You definitely need a coach.”
I knew those words. I TAUGHT those words. But when was the last time I put them into practice and had my own coach for partnership development? 7 years. Yup. In my defense there had been at least twice that I had sought out people and invited them to fill that role…but they weren’t a good fit or I didn’t properly set up expectations. I could tell myself “Callie, you TEACH people how to raise support, you probably are the exception to the rule of needing a coach.”
It’s amazing what excuses you’ll buy from yourself.
Coaches are there so you DON’T take the easy way out.
Last year I was entering into another season of increasing support and this time I finally was a little wiser and put some thought and action into identifying someone who could fill the role to coach me—which meant coaching someone who didn’t need “how-to’s” but did need an occasional kick in the pants. I’ll admit it, I am not the easiest person to coach, but I found someone who was willing to jump in with me. She kept me on task, had an incredible listening ear, and having her walk with me meant I powered through to wrap everything up in a timely fashion. It was my most successful increase sprint ever.
Why? Because I knew she wouldn’t buy my excuses. “They probably don’t need to be on my list.” “I tried to reach them but I can let them slide till next time.” “I raised enough, I don’t need to keep going.” Those are all the excuses I need to throw in the towel, and were excuses that I had used in the past. Having a coach held me accountable to stay the course to the very last inch..
Coaches are also there when you NEED a way out.
I was coaching a current staff member through a summer of her own increasing. She was giving it her all, and it was breaking her. Everybody has limits, and especially when other life circumstances are heaped on top of partnership development—it might become too much to hold onto. I looked at her efforts and saw the alarming strain and the lack of sustainability with growing concern. But she was committed and wasn’t about to take any sorry excuses from herself. She needed me to hold her to realistic goals instead, to be the permission to slow down to a healthier pace.
Hard things in life are, well, hard. Why would you want to make it harder on yourself? Usually we fall on one side or the other of too much or too little effort—we drop out too early, or are so determined to not drop out that we miss the warning signs that we are past the point of exhaustion. A coach is that outside perspective to affirm your effort, push you past when you feel like stopping, and to pull you back before you hurt yourself. They help you persevere and also give you the permission to take a break when you need it.
We need coaches!
Well, we need each other. We are stronger together (Ecc 4.12). That is just as true in support raising. The why we need each other is so that we can do our best work—neither giving in to less or unhealthily overworking. Coaching leads to being able to achieve the most in the best way possible.
Don’t walk the journey of raising a team of partners alone, and don’t do it with someone that will have a negative effect on your efforts. It is worth the time investment and effort to find a good coach, make sure there are clear expectations as you get started, and it’s okay if you see that they aren’t a good coach for you and you transition to a different one.
This article is submitted by Jessica Wood of Support Raising Solutions. Support Raising Solutions is a Missio Nexus member. Member organizations can provide content to the Missio Nexus website. See how by clicking here.