Clients Don’t Pay Us To Coach Them, but Tell Them What To Do!
Tom Camacho is a man who has lived many lives, having served in the military, business world, as a pastor, as well as a leadership coach and author. Undoubtedly, his years of extensive experience provide him a unique perspective to speak into the lives of followers of Christ who desire to invest in and coach others to encourage them to live their fullest life in Christ. In his book, Mining for Gold, he finalizes this work by revisiting the four principles of his leadership tool. He states, “Gold is everywhere… Open your eyes to see it… Learn the skills to draw it out… [and] Develop others continually.”
Kingdom leaders are scarce. In his opening line, Camacho writes, “Thriving kingdom leaders are like pure gold. They are very valuable and they are quite scarce.” What is unique about gold? As we learned from Saifedean Ammous’ The Bitcoin Standard, gold is incredibly distinct, unable to be reproduced, and thus has maintained its value since the beginning of time. Similarly, Camacho observes that gold is beautiful, pure, malleable, and rare. So while he believes kingdom leaders are rare, he also believes that by the very design of God, there is, in fact, an abundance of “gold” if only we will begin to see others as God sees them. Revisiting the four key concepts of Mining for God, we learn the following:
- Gold is everywhere, meaning that by God’s very design, He has created all people in His image and likeness. Thus, as we think about leadership development, we must be convinced of God’s ultimate design and purpose to believe potential leaders are all around us!
- Open your eyes to see it. The truth is, on our own accord, we fail to see others (or even ourselves) as God sees them. Borrowing language from Walter Brueggemann, we serve a kingdom (and King) of abundance, not If only we will open our eyes and ask the Holy Spirit to see others and the world as He sees them, then we will begin to see the gold in others.
- Learn the skills to draw it out. As with anything, developing leaders is a skill. Yes, there are elements of giftedness and calling that greatly influence the effectiveness of a leader (i.e., Ephesians 4 and what is often referred to as APEST – the Lord setting men and women apart as apostles, prophets, evangelists, shepherds, and teachers for the equipping of the saints). However, as with any skill, it needs to be honed and developed. In this book, Camacho provides many teaching points to help grow kingdom leaders to more effectively Mine for Gold as they invest in others.
- Develop leaders continuously. Leadership development, and the investment of people, is not a quick fix. Instead, we need to be prepared to play the long game. Just as the Lord is daily conforming us to His likeness (Philippians 1:6), so are we to be used by God to invest in those around us continuously.
The six key principles. In considering the process of Mining for Gold as a leadership development process, it is worth mentioning the key principles as highlighted by Camacho. They are:
- The Holy Spirit does the work of refining.
- Our true identity is the foundation of thriving.
- We thrive when we cooperate with our God-given design.
- Each of us has a sweet-spot where we naturally bear the most fruit.
- The cross is God’s great refining tool.
- All true thriving is relational.
You may think I only read the introduction, but rest assured, I read the book entirely. I found the writing of Camacho a tad redundant, much like the lapping of water on the shore of a lake. Even so, it proved a valuable read, and with each lap of the waves came a refining of my soul and perception of leadership development. This is a book I would recommend to younger leaders in the ministry context, such as the organization I just left, as I believe Camacho’s pastoral heart for leadership development is very fitting in that context. I can also envision using this book as a discussion point with a group of guys I have been meeting with for years. The content is clear, concise, relatable, and easy to understand. Yet, I would be amiss if I failed to address two points of contention in the book:
- Coaching vs. Consulting. Recently I was with the CEO of The FOCUS Group to meet with a prospective client in Idaho. The trip’s intent was to shadow how these client meetings go so I can facilitate similar meetings. As we reviewed how the meeting went, he stated, “Clients don’t pay us to coach Instead, our job is to tell them what to do within our area of expertise.” This was an interesting statement considering this book. Given my personality type, I find it would be easier for me to take on a coaching paradigm when engaging people, however, I also hear what the CEO is saying. The point is that there is a distinction between coaching and consulting, and in the coming months, I will be challenged to deploy a balance of both in my context.
- Setting up people for disappointment. On page 136, Camacho addresses the importance of helping leaders find their “sweet spot.” This is where the very thing that fires you up intersects with your hardwiring and there is a demonstrated fruitfulness. According to Camacho, leaders should spend 80% of their time working in their sweet spot. Of course, I agree with how he describes the sweet spot, and in thinking about Robert Clinton’s The Making of a Leader, I believe that this is an orientation we should all strive for as Christ’s followers. However, in my experience, this takes time and a lot of it. Not only that, but it takes much effort to do the tasks that no one else wants, a crucial component of leadership development. I fear that a person younger in their walk with Christ may be set up for disappointment with a false expectation of when and how they arrive at their sweet spot.
 Tom Camacho, Mining for Gold: Developing Kingdom Leaders Through Coaching, First published. (Nottingham: IVP, 2019), 182–183.
 Ibid., 1.
 Ibid., 2.
 Ibid., 5.
 Ibid., 6.
12 responses to “Clients Don’t Pay Us To Coach Them, but Tell Them What To Do!”
Leave a Reply
You must be logged in to post a comment.
I appreciate your perspective on the book. I agree with you that we may be setting people up for disappointment by overemphasizing one’s sweet spot. I would be interested to hear how you anticipate blending your more coaching style self in this new consultant role.
The answer to that question is yet to be determined! I do forsee a “blend” of the two, however. Desiring to ask question and help explore what God is leading them to do, but also realizing that I have some practical tips and wisdom to offer (as more of a consultant) to help them actualize those God-sized dreams.
Incredible distinctions you have made. Coaching has to take on a different approach for each situation. For example, a client does not want to be asked a question in response to a question. But sometimes, a question response amid frustration, anxiety, and disappointment can go a long way, especially when someone is looking for someone to blame.
Eric, great summary and insightful thoughts in your final two paragraphs. Thanks for pointing out the difference between coaching and consulting. I still do not have complete clarity about the distinction between coaching and mentoring, and you offer another avenue to engagement with others. I know a man who consults with local churches. As you mentioned, they “tell the churches what to do.” Sadly, he said that the vast majority of churches do not follow through on the direction given. Why do you think that dynamic exists? Consultants are not cheap, so the money is spent and then little to nothing is done. Why? Also, do you think that lack of response is unique to churches or have you seen or heard of it in your new role?
You ask some great questions, Roy. I will be honest in saying that at this time I am still too green to answer! However, if I had to answer it now, I would make parallels to parenting. You can model and teach your children in the way they should go, but when the time comes for them to go, it is up to them. Why do some respond well and others don’t? I think it is the same with consulting. Just because you hire a consultant doesn’t mean you are yet ready to execute and do the things that are recommended.
Roy I had to go look at definitions of Coaching and Mentoring. I found this site helpful
Eric B: Nice distinction between consulting and coaching. There is a place for both and I would think when you have to do both, like you will be doing in your new capacity, it would take some practice and wisdom to know when to use each approach. I read the entire book too; it really hit me that I could use a coach. Nice post.
This quote is interesting:
“Clients don’t pay us to coach Instead, our job is to tell them what to do within our area of expertise.”
I am curious as to when TELLING might be indicated in your consulting practice and when ASKING might be indicated?
The title of your blog caught my eye. My husband is a business consultant and I partner with him in training executives. I am eager to run this quote by him. I am curious- How does it go for you or others when you TELL (my assumption is to educate) and how does it go for you or other consultants when you ASK (How do you think this could be accomplished? How have you seen this done before and has that been the best way to get the job done?)?
In my experience it is easier to TELL vs. ASK. I wonder what your thoughts would be on the benefits of ASKING and the benefits of TELLING? I am curious if some distinctions might be made?
I hope you do not mind me jumping into the discussion! I pray blessings on you in your leadership role! I am sure you are gleaning a lot from the Dld. program which will help in facilitating the meetings ahead! Go for it!
Thanks for reading, Kristy. You ask some great questions! First, let me say that the title and quote in and of itself is a strong statement to invoke a response. However, I did hear some honest truth from the CEO in that statement, and believe it to be true. In my new line of work, we come alongside ministries, schools, and churches to help them actualize the vision God has given them to do. Often time, this involves money. Thus, we come along organizations to share best practices as to how they can raise money in a spirit of stewardship, gospel-partnership, and kingdom work.
I am VERY NEW to this role (as in Jan. 3), so while I have been involved in Christian nonprofit work and church planting for 20+ years, I have a lot to learn in this role as a consultant. However, I imagine in all actuality it is a balance of BOTH. Asking good questions, probing, helping the leaders gain clarity regarding what the Lord is asking them to do, but then we provide them some hard skills to see it come to fruition.
I would love to hear your thoughts and the thoughts of your husband!
Blessings in your studies!
Eric thank you for a great summary!
Are there correlations between the “sweet spot” and concepts in an “Everyone Culture”? If so how may those help a coach navigate the possible “disappointment” with the coachee? How can disappointments be utilized in coaching to reframe the “sweet spot”?
I paused with Camacho’s urging that we need to be functioning in our sweet spot 80% of the time. For me, I have realized that my sweet spot has changed over the years and I’m curious to know if you’ve also found that true in yourself given the new role transition. If so, do you think functioning in the other 20% aided towards that adjustment of your sweet spot at all?
Hi Eric. Thank you for your thoughtful engagement with Camacho’s book. I appreciate hearing more about some of the new leadership journey unfolding for you. Over the years I’ve found myself aware of a tension between the ‘sweet spot’ approach to leadership and leadership development and what I hear in scripture that also includes the place that ‘thorns’ hold in our leadership formation and the reality that often it is our places of weakness and how we allow the Lord to work in and through our weaknesses that can most transform a situation or others. I’m curious how you understand that tension or how you’ve experienced that tension?