Mining for Gold by Tom Camacho has been a fun book to be our last leadership book together. Coaching is still on the rise and I think that is because people have discovered it’s much more than a fad. About 7 years ago the district office of my denomination launched a coaching initiative, and since that inception of that idea, it has begun to be rolled out across multiple districts. Although often still mocked in tv and entertainment, the role of a life/leadership coach for all stages of life should be pursued and admired. With the rise of the demand, we need some helpful principles for coaches to be able to lean on. Camacho provides that for us in this book.
On a side note, I think one of the reasons that coaching has become more popular is because we have vastly surpassed the “information age” and we are now in the “information-overload age” and quite possibly on the cusp of the “artificial-intelligence age.” But with our current age, what becomes most crucial is not someone to create more content and tell us more things. We mostly need someone to curate this huge overflown vat of knowledge and point us to the one cup of water we need for that moment. That’s why I think coaching has taken off over the last decade and will continue to do so.
Back to our book, the first important principle that Camacho articulates for us is in the title itself. Digging for gold! This means a lot of things, but the most important is the assumption that the coach has to have about the mentee. That there is Gold in there somewhere! Believing that there is gold in the person they are coaching. This means two things, first, the coaches should only select those they really can believe in. And secondly that person doesn’t necessarily need that value put into them, but as Camacho emphasizes, drawn out. This is an important distinction for two reasons. First, to grow self-confidence and courage in the mentee, and secondly to remind the coach that coaching is night and day different from lecturing. This concept of digging for gold reminds of Steven Covey’s parenting advice which is to genuinely believe your child has what it takes to handle things on their own. This attitude prevents the parent from swooping in prematurely and gives room for more growth opportunity.
Another of Camacho’s core messages for us, is the lesson to work, live, and minister out of who we are. This means to know ourselves more and begin to work with our unique identity. Previously I’ve fought against many ways I’ve been wired, and I think that’s why I went right into Youth Ministry. In my Prezi a weeks ago, and final PDLP presentation I put an image of a Vinn Diagram in my second quadrant that represented me trying to find my sweet spot. And behold, another of Camacho’s core messages. I’m not sure this is a principle I need to focus more on because of all the work I’ve done to really try and find my sweet spot. This week I’m looking around and seeing many of my youth pastor friends getting ready for summer camp, and I can’t help be feeling sooooo good that I don’t have to do those trips anymore Most of all because I no longer have to put up with my stress-induced nausea I would get surrounding the execution of large events. Why do I need to put myself through that? My old answers used to be, I just need to try harder and be better, and etc. etc. But now I simply ask, is running events the sweet spot that I am supposed to be operating in?
I have weekly coaching meetings with at least 6 apprentices. These meetings are always different and although I have an agenda, I’m probably not intentional enough in the long-term arch of their development. I can use Camacho’s work in both my short-term implementation as well as my long-term implementation. Specifically, I think I can be more intentional with my coaching process by using some of the principles that Camacho covers in section 2. Two particular principles that really will help me is, #2 Our True Identity is the Foundation of Thriving, and #6 All True Thriving is Relational. The #2 principle is important for me because although this is something I know, I tend not to emphasize it very much in ministry. This is because I have often considered this to be something, most people know, and most people get, so I end up glossing over it to much in my single teachings as well as my curriculum plans. I’ve learned about myself that I may sometimes know something in my head, and forget that other people haven’t been taught that same material at all. It’s kind of like when I was in Algebra and I could do some problems in my head, but then wouldn’t show my work on paper and get docked for it. This is something I feel I know in my head, and have not taken the effort to show others how to work to that point. If that makes sense…
Lastly, Camacho’s principle #6 is important because all of my coaching should help people continue to thrive beyond just their relationship with me. I should also work to help people be able to live a leadership lifestyle after the graduation of my program that encourages to build mentoring relationships, and to do so on both the giving and receiving side.
Since our books next week are about Oxford, this is our very last blog together about leadership. I’ve enjoyed this journey, and tried to relish in the opportunity to meditate and engage with difficult things with a designated and dedicated group of other leaders and ministers.
Thank you all for the feedback and encouragement you’ve given me along the way. It’s been an honor to do the same for you.