Says a wise Dallas Willard,
I can think of three types of someones God has given me along the way who proved invaluable. There are types of someones we need who fall outside of these categories but you will never go wrong seeking out a coach, a counselor, and a comrade.
A coach is someone who is in a similar line of work but is ahead of you. Not necessarily WAY ahead, but enough to know the road you’re on and aware of possible obstacles in. John Maxwell describes a coach in his 15 Laws of Growth as someone who…
One other aspect of a good coach I would add is someone who doesn’t need anything from you. I’ve had good potential coaches but one common issue was their hopes of roping me into whatever project they were working on at the moment. Part of this was bound to happen due to the kind of coaches I tried to secure. The nature of my work has been entrepreneurial so potential coaches were those who happened to be just as excited about recruiting someone as much as I.
You might only be in for a few meetings instead of something more long term. A coach can be an irreplaceable part of your personal growth. An old Chinese proverb says, “To know the road ahead, ask those coming back.” It needs to be someone who is far enough ahead so they can give you solid advice, but also someone who is close enough to remember reality. Securing a coach, or coaches, means you stack the stands with people that will cheer you on in a game they love, simply because they have skin in the same game.
A counselor is someone who provides crucial emotional resources. Someone who calls “time-out” in the game of life. I ignored a pastor friend of mine who recommended I secure good counseling when I started a church back in 2010. You’ll never know how many people love to see someone with ambition succeed and also those who love to see someone crash and burn on the wheels of a new venture. A counselor helps to translate the issues of the heart. They serve as a bit of an interpreter to life’s most challenging issues.
Don’t make the mistake I did by going once or twice so you could tell your spouse an effort was made but didn’t see the value in it. It takes more than a couple of sessions for your counselor to assess the situation and get to know you. Talk to people in your area who’ve gotten help from a good counselor and make the appointment.
Peer level friendships are essential for your personal and professional development. These are the someones you go to the conference with, share stories and perspective from fresh experience, and a bit of a competitive streak that keeps you on your toes. Let’s face it, good competition is a great way to keep score. Yes, you can take competition to an unhealthy level, but having healthy levels of competition from someone in a similar field can take you farther than you could’ve gone on your own.
I’ve been a part of many leadership teams made up high level people who have accomplished a great deal. Currently, I serve on a church staff with around 65 coworkers. Some of them have become the closest friends I’ve ever known. Your city or county may have different types of associations if you don’t have the luxury of having any comrades. The meetings may not be the best but there’s bound to be someone in attendance looking for a friend just like you.
Leave a comment if you know of another kind of someone a person needs as much or more than the ones listed. Thanks for reading!