Learning about the Gold Rush of 1848 and 1849 is a part of most California education. In 4th grade is when I learned all about California history, from the missions to the pioneers who came panning for gold. In my school, our section on the Gold rush culminated in Gold Rush Day, where our parents put together our best mining outfits, we brought our pie pans to school, and our outdoor field was littered with pyrite (or fool’s gold). We had different stations where we could participate in different aspects of forty-niner life. We could find our claims and mark them, jump each others claims, pan for gold and use long toms to find larger groups, and help build a sluice all around the school yard for the water to travel into. If you didn’t grow up in California or done extensive research on the Gold Rush, those terms probably mean nothing to you, but just know that iIt really made the Gold Rush come alive for this 4th grader.
In the same gold vein, Tom Camacho’s book Mining for Gold: Developing Kingdom Leaders Through Coaching really helped me understand what’s so majestic about coaching. Coaching, as is mining for gold, is hard work on a moving target, but Camacho gives such practical advice on how to do this work. He starts by giving four key concepts of Coaching, which spell the acrostic of GOLD to help us remember: Gold is everywhere; Open your eyes to see it; Learn the skills to draw it out; Develop others continuously.
“Much of the leadership models of the past have placed the responsibility for development in the hands of the mentor of coach. In coaching leadership, we don’t bear the weight of someone’s growth. We simply draw out what’s inside of them. We don’t own their outcomes or manage their behavior. We empower them. We give them permission to be themselves and use their gifts.”
This is an incredibly helpful reminder. In the same way that the forty-niners didn’t put the gold in California in the first place, it’s not our job to put things into others that aren’t there. Our job is to do the good, but hard work, of digging. Digging for gold takes patience but continued work, and sometimes miners might only find one small piece of gold in their life. However, when it’s done well, one small piece yields many more pieces of gold in the end.
Gold miners are experts at knowing what tools are needed to do the right job. In the work of coaching, we need to know what resources are available to use to dig in ways that are getting to the core of each issue, while not doing more harm than good. I appreciated Camacho’s questions at the end of each chapter, reminding us again, that our job is to provide the safe space for empowerment – not dependency. Overall, I really appreciated this work and I am excited to hear what gold nuggets Camacho might have to share with us.
 Tom Camacho, Mining for Gold: Developing Kingdom Leaders Through Coaching. (Advance Copy), pg.5-6.
 Ibid., 23.