“I must admit, I did not want to do this,” my manager confessed sheepishly while staring at a spot on the carpet. “In fact, I didn’t want to join your team because you expect everyone to use this model, and it’s not how I like to work.” He began reporting to me three months ago and referenced the coaching approach I asked my managers to use with their associates.
Then, he looked me in the eyes. His face broke into a grin and he admitted, “But, now that I’m practicing it, I really like the approach. I’m actually having fun with it.”
I appreciated my manager’s honesty and knew what I asked him to do was outside his comfort zone and typical work habits. “Really? Tell me what you like about the approach.”
The answers came spontaneously. “For one thing, I’m not working as hard to see change in behaviors. Like the model suggests, I ask reflective questions, and the associates self-discover where and how they need to improve. Last week a 30-minute scheduled coaching took me only 15 minutes to move the associate to a plan that should yield her better performance.”
I smiled and nodded, encouraging him to continue. “I’ve seen immediate changes in others’ behaviors that I’ve been trying to change for the last twelve months. I’m embarrassed to admit I resisted trying this approach for so long. It works…easily.”
My manager is in good company. I, too, have resisted at times. I didn’t want to stay in uncomfortable situations, or follow God’s leading to take an action, nor place the future or my family in His hands. I preferred avoiding the painful, difficult or possibly impossible. I wished away, ignored, or defied God’s words and the Spirit’s promptings.
Yet, thank heavens God persisted. When I followed His prodding, I discovered pain strengthened me, the hard softened and emptying fulfilled. Why? Because God is busy shaping me into the person He created me to be, like He did with His Israelite children in the desert.
The words Moses spoke to the Israelites as he handed them God’s commandments still ring true, “Hear, O Israel, the decrees and laws I declare in your hearing today. Learn them and be sure to follow them” [italics are mine, Deuteronomy 5:1, NIV.] Christ spoke similar words years later as he taught his followers the importance of obeying the Father. Today, they remind me to yield…even when I don’t want to.
“Why do you call me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do what I say?…the one who hears my words and does not put them into practice is like a man who built a house on the ground without a foundation. The moment the torrent struck that house, it collapsed and its destruction was complete” (Luke 6:46, 49, NLT).