Saturday, April 30, 2011

Tell Me What to Do

Scenario 1
While not the people from the story,
these are young leaders we work with
Our encounters had a regular pattern: student “A” would explain the details of a situation she was worried about (with her church, family or boyfriend) and I would listen closely, trying to get as clear a picture of the issue as I could. Then she would ask me what she should do. Instead giving advice, I would try to help her think through the issues surrounding the situation so she could decide for herself what she should do. All the while she would continue pressing me for my opinion.

I confess that the first few times we met I gave in. I had an opinion and was happy to share it with her if it helped. But as time went by I realized that my feedback wasn’t helping and I began to resist giving it. Then I heard from student “B” that student “a” had asked her to be her mentor, so she had a new source of advice. This didn’t solve student “A”'s problems or quench her desire for my input but it helped me see the situation more clearly and it strengthened my resolve not to tell her what to do but to make her responsible for her own decisions.

Scenario 2
For weeks I had been talking with student “C” about a very tense situation where he is youth pastor. A misunderstanding with the senior pastor about work expectations which could have been resolved between the two of them was exacerbated and affected the whole community when the pastor publicly removed the youth pastor’s teenage son from the worship band without talking with the father/youth pastor. I had been talking with him about the situation for weeks but as things reached a critical point he set up an appointment to bring his wife to meet with me and Tim. I was dreading the encounter because I was out of ideas.

a training exercise during our week-long coaching training
Providentially our Spanish colleague, Felix, just happened to be passing through Buenos Aires that afternoon and was willing to meet with us all. Not only does Felix have more experience and more wisdom than we do, but he had recently received training in Coaching. He had told us about the program but that afternoon we got to watch the process. In about forty minutes he was able to find a path through the jungle of details and emotions and help the student and his wife to identify what their next steps should be, create an action plan and a timetable for their implementation. We were all tremendously grateful for his help and I was in awe of what Felix managed to accomplish in such a short time.

coaching training with Sara, Nell and Kyle (friends and colleagues)
These situations highlighted my need to add some more tools to what we use to help people grow and mature. So in April we went through the Coaching training Felix had recommended, along with his wife Sara and OC colleagues who also work in the Spanish speaking world. It was some of the best training we've ever received  and this week we have begun using what we learned

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