Did I Say The God Part Out Loud?

Business people, waiting room and man standing out for interview, meeting or opportunity against a .

“First I want to thank God for giving me this platform and putting so many amazing people around to help support this dream I’ve had since I was a little kid.  Without him, none of this would be possible.” 

Who said this?  Hint: Not me.

Patrick Mahomes.  The quarterback of the Kansas City Chiefs and three time Super Bowl champion.  What struck me about this quote, among others he made post Super Bowl victory,  is that no one questioned his bringing God into his workplace.  No one, of consequence at least, was upset with his declarations of faith and beliefs in the Almighty.   As far as I can tell, NFL HR didn’t show up and sanction him for bringing God into the room.

In fact, articles were written to subtly praise him for praising HIM.  While I’m not necessarily a fan – heck I don’t even watch the NFL – this immediately caught my attention. It should also be noted that Mahomes’ opponent; Brock Purdy, quarterback of the San Francisco 49rs, also invokes God in his job.

As coaches, why do we seem to shy away from our faith when connecting and engaging with our clients and prospective clients?  I’ve just completed my seventh year of professional coaching.  I am fortunate to hang with some really talented coaches whom I highly respect, in a group I hold close to my heart, a group that made me better as a practice owner and practitioner of my craft.  I hardly ever hear in any venue or forum of coaches talk about God.  Almost. Never.

Recently I was in a group mastermind with these same very talented coaches and we were talking about love and coaching.  Specifically, coaching with love versus coaching without love and is it possible to coach someone without the presence of love?  I was bewildered by the lack of mentioning God during our conversation.  So much so that I brought it up in an open forum for, really, the very first time. I’ve basically kept silent about my spiritual and social beliefs among coaches for at least seven years! 

There was a noticeable silence.  Some followed with sidebar comments, voicing quiet agreement (or maybe just placating the Jesus freak).  They might have been intimidated to say more.  Others gently seemed to check me and postulate that not all of our clients wish their feet washed, nor coaches to be the washers of feet. There weren’t any post call notes of disagreement or encouragement either, so maybe this wasn’t so provocative after all?  

Since then, I’ve thought about those moments a lot.  Did I say the uncomfortable part out loud? Was it preachy?  Offensive? SCARY!? Am I currently being too preachy? Offensive? SCARY?

Here’s what I’ve come to realize (and learn) so far on my coaching journey. And, while these are my realizations (and learning), perhaps some will also resonate with you. They are not in any particular order:

  1. Without love, coaching is at best consulting, very transactional and ultimately not something that comes from the heart.  
  2. Can there be love without God?  Since God is the ultimate creator and purveyor of love, I say no.  Even if you don’t think you believe in God, God believes in you and loves you. Beware though, knowing him, believing in him can have serious positive effects.
  3. We coaches are full of ourselves.  After reading the Bible last year for the very first time, it seems that many of the problems we experience are problems people have been experiencing for many years (try thousands!).  We sometimes approach clients with all the answers…well, obviously we don’t have all the answers because humans are still experiencing the same challenges!
  4. The heart has its own language. It isn’t about coaching with love, it’s that coaching is loving. When I originally wrote this I thought;  I don’t have to like you, and you don’t have to like me. And that’s ok, as long as we love each other. Now, this: It’s really not enough to just love someone, we have to like them.  To get inside their skin to understand why they are like this, what’s driving them to behave in a way that initially disconnected me from them.
  5. Coaches talk about the difficult client, e.g. one who might hold much different opinions and lifestyle choices than theirs.  Give yourself permission to let them go if there isn’t chemistry. Any great coach will tell you it’s OK to pass on an engagement for a variety of reasons.  Show the love you hold for them by connecting them to others better suited for their needs.  And yet, how amazing would it be to move to “Like” mode and “Love” mode?
  6. Don’t be afraid to be truly authentic.  This word has become a cliche of sorts, especially in the leadership coaching arena.  Are we truly being authentic though? To be truly authentic we must be free. Free from fear: of cancellation, of the offending term, of being accused of not being inclusive enough.  Of being racist, or homophobic, or religious (gasp!). Be bold!  Fortitude is one of the great cardinal virtues. To be authentic is to be free.  Without that freedom, we cannot love.
  7. Are we just using the cool kid words?  We talk in coach platitudes with words like integrity, honesty, accountability, values, empathy and vulnerability.  Do we actually practice any of that and to what extent?  It’s getting boring and repetitive, and feels less authentic and more required, an obligation.  Such a difference to introduce the freedom to love each other, our clients. Add God – let it rip.  
  8. If you believe in nothing supernatural, then consider why you are trapped within the walls of natural law, the “What” and the “How.”  Do you ponder the “Who” and the “Why”?  (Most atheists believe in alien life form if you ask them, yet there is no proof there. We have a need to believe in things bigger than ourselves)

Too much?  Well there’s more, –  “I mean, I always ask God to lead me in the right direction and let me be who I am for His name,” – uh, that’s not me, that’s Mahomes again!  If you substitute football for coaching or any other job that the less famous of us does for a living, is it different? 

Sometimes we cooperate unknowingly, unwittingly, and sometimes we cooperate knowingly by deliberately surrendering our hearts and our lives by entering into God’s plan.

I’m challenging all coaches, mentors, leaders, to step into a truly more authentic and courageous way of serving others.  Invite God into the room with your client!  I’m not talking about preaching, about buying a tent and renting space in some farmer’s field for a revival.  And, I’m not even talking about washing feet and getting feet washed, (which as we stick to Super Bowl connections, was a truly controversial commercial; that’s for another blog). The secret is he’s already in there with you. How you embrace his presence is the decision.  IMO, coaches are a perfect place to start this movement.  Our persona and personalities lend to opening up to this perspective. It’s not just me that’s challenging you to be bigger, bolder.  “He [God] challenged us to make us better.” Um, yeah, that’s Patrick AGAIN stating the ultimate value of embracing God in everything you say, are and do.  If you don’t want to listen to me, will you listen to him dear Hippo? Maybe have a bucket and soap at the ready…and a lot of love, God’s love, just in case.


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