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Year-End Coaching Questions

Each month I do one-on-one coaching with all of our ministry leaders. Each person discusses the same questions (which change from month-to-month), allowing me to listen across the spectrum for common issues, patterns, and opportunities. It also ensures all of our leaders are reflecting on the same themes at the same time.

Yesterday, I sent all my monthly coaching appointments their questions for December. While not likely to generate as much intense debate as Christmas advertising before Halloween, it did feel a bit strange doing so before Thanksgiving. What I like to do at the close of each year is ask them to reflect on the past twelve months. By sending out the questions early, it allows them time to go a little deeper than just responding off the top of their head.

Here are the questions I’m asking them to reflect on:

During 2019, where did you most feel God’s pleasure?

This question comes from Chariots of Fire, the movie about Eric Liddell and the 1924 Olympics. Liddell, a devout Christian and missionary, is asked why he likes to run so much. He answers, “When I run, I feel His [God’s] pleasure.”

When you’re doing what the Creator has created you to do, you will feel his pleasure. It’s noticeable when your gifts, talents, education, and experience all line up at the same time. Athletes and researchers call it various things: in the zone, flow, or sweet spot.

By paying attention to when we feel God’s pleasure, we are identifying what we need to be doing more of.

What are the ways you have grown spiritually over the last 12 months?

As people made in the image of God, we cannot ignore the spiritual dimension to life. Many people will focus on getting physically or emotionally healthier while overlooking the spiritual component.

What I’ve learned over the past fifty years is the mind-body-spirit connection is real. When we suffer in one area, it affects the others. As a leader of a spiritual enterprise, I want to know how my teammates are nurturing the spiritual side of life.

What was your greatest challenge in 2019 and what did you learn from it?

Identifying our greatest challenges is relatively easy; identifying what we learned from them requires self-awareness.

Whenever I discuss this particular question with people, they are often amazed at how small the challenge looks in retrospect. In the moment, it feels impossible. Big. Scary. Did I mention impossible?

We are more resilient than we often give ourselves credit for. By looking back at what we’ve successfully overcome, it prepares us for future challenges.

The same is true if we didn’t overcome the challenge. Since it obviously didn’t kill you, it provides you the opportunity to look at what you could have done different.

What did you try this past year that didn’t work out? How did it make you a better leader?

As a leader, I want people on my team who make mistakes. As long as the mistake isn’t fatal, it can be a tremendous learning experience. In fact, the opposite of success isn’t really failure – it’s failing to learn from what went wrong.

When it comes to making mistakes, there are two circumstances that will cause me to automatically raise the red flag:

First – when the person can’t find an example of something they tried that didn’t work. Either they didn’t recognize the failure or they simply didn’t try anything that could have failed.

Second – when the same mistakes continues to be repeated. At that point, it’s no longer a mistake but a pattern. I deal with patterns differently than I do mistakes.

How are you a different person today than you were 12 months ago?

How many of us consciously chart the progress (or regress) of our lives? From my experience, it’s not too many. We either assume we’re getting better or we just don’t care to look.

If we are growing, developing, expanding, and learning … we should be a different person today than six weeks or six months ago. A few questions to consider when comparing snapshots of your life from one year to the next:

  • Am I nicer person?
  • Am I more patient?
  • Am I more compassionate towards other?
  • Do I eat better? Exercise more?
  • Am I more aware of God’s presence?

There are many other questions you can use to gauge your progress. Determine what matters to you and ask the hard questions.

These are the questions I’ll be using in December. For January, I’m already working on a new set of questions. I’ll wait until after Christmas to send those out!

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  • Professor at Warner University
  • masters in business administration (mba)
  • presenter at the WFX National Conference
  • former president, Church Planters of the Rockies
  • helped start 2 for-profit tech companies

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