As a widow and single mom, my friend faced challenges I had never encountered.
We both worked in a corporation where women were considered helpers. She aspired to be the best at technology and eventually became head of the IT department. Her strength and boldness gave me the confidence I needed to jump over my own hurdles into the highest executive ranks of the company. I love strong women who fight for their place in the workplace and in ministry.
In her mid-fifties, my friend married a wonderful man. The two seemed the perfect couple—both successful and adventurous. He loved her and wanted to protect her, but he also thought he knew all the best answers to any situation. She recoiled at his constant directions and doggedly did everything her way. And the tug-of-war began. One day he tried teaching her to grill outdoors—the way he wanted to do it. She rebelled. He turned away in a huff, saying, “You are uncoachable!”
We laughed until we cried and the word “uncoachable” became a trigger for more laughter in the years to come.
That funny story becomes sad if we try to lead in our ability. Leadership brings with it a lot of power and rewards, but leading alone produces feelings of isolation. Trusted relationships are sparse. Responsibility is heavy. Criticism is likely. Every crisis knocks on your door. Adopt a new mindset and shift your thinking by following the suggestions listed below.
1.Confirm you are where God has placed you. In his second letter, Peter gave a mathematical progression to help us make this confirmation.
Start with faith. Then add goodness and knowledge. Then add self-control and perseverance. Intensify it all with godliness, kindness, and love. He said, “Do all you can to show God has really chosen and selected you. If you keep on doing this, you won’t stumble and fail” (2 Peter 1:10 CEV). Spend much private time with God confirming his calling on your life.
2.Open your mind and close your ego.
A closed mindset is the locked door to your growth as a leader. And the key to the lock is your ego. Hear and consider every opinion and input without looking at your phone or thinking of how to dismiss the idea. Even when you disagree with a team member’s comment, listen. Give yourself permission to learn from everyone. Try to hear and understand their perspective. Your humility—shown by listening—builds respect and cooperation.
3. Find a community.
Find others who hold a similar position in other organizations. For example, If you are a women’s ministry leader at a church, invite the women’s ministry directors in all the churches within a 50-mile radius to a joint meeting or luncheon. Cross-denominational boundaries. Learn from each other. Share creative ideas. Solve problems together. Whether your leadership position is in a company, a church, a community, or an educational institution—connect with others who know what your life is like. The benefits will multiply as you discuss them together.
4. Positive feedback is wonderful, but when you lead, negative criticism is inevitable.
Your response will show whether you are coachable. An event planner showed me the evaluation forms from a meeting where I spoke. The positive comments were overwhelming— compliments and praises. I admit I basked in the joy of reading each one. Until I read one critical review. I couldn’t stop the annoying and hurtful words from replaying in my mind.
A friend reminded me of the hundreds of glowing reports and helped me overcome the one bad evaluation. She said, “Consider the negative words. Were they meant to be helpful or were the comments spilling out of an unhappy, uncaring person?” Most people vent their negativity out of their own frustration, anger, or pain. Choosing to handle criticism with grace and a teachable spirit is the high road and is the exact way Jesus would respond.
Be coachable, and you will be a great coach.