Sadly, so much management and leadership is focussed on problem solving and ‘areas for development’, (which really means let’s focus on our weaknesses and try and turn them into strengths). I sometimes feel that we are obsessed with fixing problems, pointing out weak areas or lending our expertise to others to put ‘right’ what they are doing ‘wrong’.
What would happen if we spent less time on managing and controlling potential problems and hurdles and spent as much effort as we do on this, on helping individuals grow a vision that was worthy of them in their identity as sons and daughters of the King of kings?
We would probably end up with a bunch of people who were crazy, unrealistic dreamers who believed they could change the world! Yes, the result would most likely be that there would be chaos, as we would have unleashed so much creativity and freedom. But what if we were ok with that and we released these crazy dreamers into impossibly big visions that were only possible with God?
In my experience of coaching people this way, I’ve found that incredible things happen. Outcomes that are way beyond what we have imagined. Stepping into this place of believing the impossible actually allows God to be God and show up with miracles and opportunities that would not have been released if the vision had not been given time, space and freedom to grow.
In our Coach Training Leadership Development Programme, I teach a comprehensive coaching toolset which focusses entirely on coaching the positive perspective. I have been using this approach for over a decade when working with leaders with amazing results.
The coaching process I have devised takes people on a journey of discovery to mine out precious ‘gold’ that lies inside them. Shockingly, I virtually ignore presenting problems, or challenges in preference to seeking out their ‘why’ and their purpose. I have noticed that once we have the bigger vision in place, once they are excited out of their mind about what is possible for the future, somehow, they manage to solve imminent challenges and issues with very little help at all. The energy shifts, from focussing on the problems and limitations to focussing on how to make the bigger vision happen.
So how do we lead people with this approach? Here are a few coaching tools you can try out:
- Create positive ‘vision focussed’ declarations
When Gideon was hiding in the winepress scared, the angel of The Lord showed up and addressed him saying:– ‘Mighty man of valour’ (Judges 6:12). The scriptures are full of examples like this such as Abraham, being held up as ‘a man of faith’, even though he made big mistakes, showing little faith sometimes along his journey towards seeing God’s promises for his life fulfilled.
We can adopt this approach in our coaching. You can coach people towards having declarations over who they are, from heavens perspective. For example, if someone seems afraid or reluctant to go forward into something new and scary, coach their boldness and courage out of them. Help them remember when they were bold. Based on their previous boldness declare something over them, eg, ‘you have the boldness of a warrior!’. Then get them to say it too. The power of death and life is on the tongue (Prov 18:21). Watch as these declarations are said more and more, they will become them.
- Focus on the ideal
Coach people towards what the ideal looks like. This can be used when a problem presents itself or to help someone build vision for the future. This technique stops them focussing on the problem and takes them straight to the solution. You can ask: ‘What ideally would you like to happen here?’ ‘If resources were not a problem what would the ideal look like.’ ‘In your job role in 5 years’ time, what would you ideally like it to be?’ ‘In this difficult relationship, paint me a picture of what it could look like in an ideal world once all the problems have been fixed.’
The trick is to keep focussing the person back to the ideal, asking open questions and digging deeper saying, ‘tell me more’. The ideal picture becomes clearer and the person can focus on what they can do now to move towards it. All of a sudden there is traction, a new idea, movement towards positive change. Even if it is just a seed of an idea planted, hope is awakened that there is a possibility of something that is far superior to what is now.
You can add the declaration tool to this one, to make positive declarations of the ideal. For example: ‘This relationship will be the most fun and enjoyable one I have.’ ‘My job role is moving towards what I truly want.’ ‘This situation is going to activate something positive way beyond what I could have imagined!’
These two tools are just a few examples of how you can use positive focussed coaching when you lead. Start by trying it on yourself:
- Pick an area you feel is part of your future purpose.
- Now make short declarations in this area to speak life on it. It may be the exact opposite of the negative you feel. If you feel like a terrible public speaker, say, ‘I am a gifted public speaker.’ ‘My words bring hope to thousands.’
- Lastly, spend some time journaling about this area, envisioning what the ideal would look like in 10 years’ time.