Coaching, and the Learning Curve

My primary employer keeps upgrading my technology. Each time they do I feel just a wee bit dumber than the last time! I’m always trying to catch up – it seems I am perpetually just behind the learning curve.

You ever feel that way?

The #1, single biggest aid I have found for this feeling is coaching. Indeed, I have become a huge fan of coaching.

Through two very different coaching certification tracks and a number of books and articles, I have learned a lot about coaching.

By taking advantage of coaches in my own life, I have found the value to be absolutely true!

Serving as a coach for others has given me the opportunity to watch them grow, take next steps, attempt great things – not because of my input, but because of their own giftedness, dreams, decisions, and actions!

Along the way, I have been surprised at the number of people I talk to who seem afraid of coaching. They think:

  • coaching is like counseling – something people only do when they are in crisis… or
  • coaching is like mentoring, requiring a very time-consuming relationship and up-close model… or
  • coaching is like consulting with the expectation that you be the expert in all things

Now, coaches differ a lot on how they go about achieving desired ends – how much telling they will do as opposed to how many questions they prefer to ask; what is a good, healthy length for a coaching covenant; and so on.

Yet, with all of their diversity, they do all seem to agree on one thing:

Coaching assumes a degree of health on the part of coachees (clients)… a desire to move forward in their life or profession that is not supplanted by some paralyzing dysfunction.

So, when someone seeks out a coach they are not-so-much trying to fix something from their past as they are leaning into their future… a future that is filled with wonderful unknowns, exciting adventures, and the ever-present need to keep on learning.

One of the organizations that I am certified through is Creative Results Management. Their chief executive officer, Keith Webb, recently posted an article about this constant need for learning that I think is spot on. So I wanted to share it with you.

As you read, consider where you are in life right now, think about the implications of some of the declarations that are made, and ask yourself the questions Keith raises. I’ll meet you back at the end of the article. Enjoy!

Continuous Learning

By Keith E. Webb

Traditionally, what a person learned as a young adult would serve them in their profession the rest of their lives. This is no longer true.

“What individuals have learned by age twenty-one,” wrote Peter Drucker, “will begin to become obsolete five to ten years later and will have to be replaced – or at least refurbished – by new learning, new skills, new knowledge.” How much more so by age 31, 41, or 51!

The world is becoming more complex by the day. Change is everywhere and relentless.

  • That “high-tech” website of five years ago is a dinosaur today.
  • The skills to lead a team have changed significantly with the increase in virtual teams.
  • The directive style we admired in leaders of yesterday is now considered disempowering.

What do we do? Keep learning!

The past 8 years, I have been on a journey in retooling of my work, communication skills, and leadership style. And I know there is nothing but more change ahead of me. Three things have helped.

Accept Change
Embrace the fact that 80% of how you are doing things now will change in the next 10 years, perhaps change several times. Values and meaning will continue throughout but using different forms.

Learn As You Go
You most likely don’t need a formal degree, just continued learning. Many professions require 40 hours of continuing education every year or so to maintain a credential. It’s a good number to shoot for. Attend a conference, a workshop, or a training event. Don’t dabble with a 1/2 day or 1 day training, take enough to really learn it.

Get Coaching
Coaching is extremely helpful in seeing new perspectives on old problems and getting into action in new ways. A large part of coaching is in helping people to find ways to learn what they need to move forward.

How About You?

  • What do you need to “retool” in your leadership style?
  • What’s one place you are settling for “good enough” rather than excellence in your work?
  • Where will you look to find the help you need to move forward?

Copyright © 2012 Keith E. Webb & CRM

Dr. Keith E. Webb is a trainer and experienced cross-cultural leadership coach helping organizations, teams, and individuals multiply their cross-cultural impact. Find free articles at


  • What you learned in order to launch is obsolete in 5-10 years?
  • The most effective style of leadership is dynamic rather than fixed?
  • 80% of how you are doing things now will change in the next 10 years – perhaps even multiple times?

Those are some sobering thoughts for anyone; and terrifying thoughts for anyone who despises change.

I have found the best way to see opportunities to improve my leadership style or objectively see areas in my work where I can move from good enough to excellence is through coaching conversations – informal or formal.

So, here’s my advice to all of us: find a coach!

  • Whether it is a casual relationship with a trusted friend who can remain objective in helping you see the proverbial ‘other hand,’ or
  • a covenant relationship with a certified coach who will keep asking questions until you have identified actions you want to take then meet you on the other side of those actions to ask how it went

…find a coach.

There are lots of sources for coaches (just Google!). I would even be glad to share my process with you if you’re interested. Just email me at


About christmasandicecream

Grace & Peace to you all! I'm Randy. I am a follower of Jesus - sometimes close up and, sadly, sometimes way too far away. My best friend, administrative assistant, partner, and high school sweetheart all live with me and go by the same name: Adele. She and I are part of a relationally-focused, small group based Church family that helps us along spiritual quest. Our boys are both grown now. We have a wonderful daughter-by-marriage and 2 truly GRANDchildren... 1 boy and 1 girl. We are Corgi people and now oversee the care of 1 spoiled Corgi puppy named Elly May. I am a devoted fan of 2 'seasons' in each year: Christmas and baseball!! At my house, a Christmas tree goes up somewhere within days of the close of the Fall Classic (baseball lingo for the World Series) and a Christmas tree stays up all the way through Spring Training. In between it is non-stop celebration of the Incarnation. I live in the Mid-Atlantic part of the U.S.A. and, among other things, work as a coach and consultant with an incredibly diverse network of churches that make up the BCMD. My Church-roots are in the Baptist bucket of the Christian ice cream shop. But, just because I have a favorite flavor, doesn't mean I don’t like them all! I do. I work with things like soul care & leadership development of pastor/pastoral team members; with small, simple, organic models of church life; with relational strategies of spiritual formation; and with the health of the Church. I taught at New Orleans seminary for a decade and have served in local churches for 30 years. I am currently part of the faculty of Rockbridge Seminary – a new kind of seminary for a new kind of Church – where I also play a role on the Academic Council. *I am obliged to note that questions, comments, ideas, views,... just about anything you read here, are mine, and not those of BCMD, RS, any other organization or school I work for, or those of most normal people. Thanks for visiting. Come back again.
This entry was posted in RestDay Reflections, simple QUESTions and random thoughts. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s