Great Coaches


By John Hanson

Millions of people throughout the world take a good deal of interest in sports teams and athletes who have distinguished themselves as exceptional. Maybe this is because we all want to win or become the best we can be. Usually great athletes and great teams are profoundly influenced by great coaches. This begs the question, “What makes a coach great?” Below are a few philosophical insights about coaching from coaches who have proven track records.

* • “I won’t accept anything less than the best a player’s capable of doing, and he has the right to expect the best that I can do for him and the team… To solve big problems you have to be willing to do unpopular things.” –Lou Holtz
* • “Coaches have to watch for what they don’t want to see and listen to what they don’t want to hear.” –John Madden
* • “Probably my best quality as a coach is that I ask a lot of challenging questions and let the person come up with the answer.” –Phil Dixon
* • “A good coach will make his players see what they can be rather than what they are.” –Ara Parasheghian
* • “I have found that being honest is the best technique I can use. Right up front, tell people what you’re trying to accomplish, and what you’re willing to sacrifice to accomplish it.” –Lee Iococca
* • “Be more concerned with your character than your reputation, because your character is what you really are, while your reputation is merely what others think you are.” –John Wooden

Notice the sound principles, the firmness and the honesty of these successful leaders. Similar characteristics are what make great pastors. A pastor’s role is very similar to that of a coach. Here are some of God’s strong opinions about what makes a preacher either terrible or great:

“Don’t listen to the sermons of the prophets. It’s all hot air. Lies, lies, and more lies. They make it all up. Not a word they speak comes from me. They preach their ‘Everything Will Turn Out Fine’ sermon to congregations with no taste for God, Their ‘Nothing Bad Will Ever Happen to You’ sermon to people who are set in their own ways. Have any of these prophets bothered to meet with me, the true GOD? bothered to take in what I have to say? listened to and then lived out my Word? You prophets who do nothing but dream— go ahead and tell your silly dreams.

But you prophets who have a message from me— tell it truly and faithfully. What does straw have in common with wheat? Nothing else is like GOD’s Decree. Isn’t my Message like fire? … Isn’t it like a sledgehammer busting a rock?” (Jeremiah 23:16-18; 28-29 MSG)

We live in a time when spiritual coaching is not always welcomed. Pastors are often encouraged to keep things light and positive. Many people are calling for “Everything Will Turn Out fine” sermons. The results speak for themselves. Pastors need not be mean or bigoted, but, according to God’s philosophy, they are coaches and if they do not resolutely represent God, they render themselves ineffective. I am so thankful for the people who have spoken truth into my life — people who did not cave in to political correctness or popular opinions. If you have been blessed to have someone like that in your life, please let them know how much you appreciate them. We need more great spiritual coaches just like them.

The above article, “Great Coaches,” is written by John Hanson. The article was excerpted from Just a Thought from Acts II Ministries.

The material is copyrighted and should not be reprinted under any other name or author. However, this material may be freely used for personal study or research purposes.