Disciples of Jesus want to help others become disciples of Jesus. But this is sometimes easier said than done. How can you help people take their next faith step without being too prescriptive? What's the balance between sharing your own thoughts and allowing God's Spirit to move an individual into action?
I've found four skills to be especially valuable in helping people take next steps based on the Leader Breakthru Coaching approach.
Skill #1 - Listening
We all know that listening is important. Yet, most leaders are not listeners. We typically pre-conclude and make recommendations because we think it's more efficient. Leaders like to fix people and things quickly.
Active listening is holding off judgment and really trying to hear what the other person is actually saying and even thinking. To do this, we need to practice the 80/20 rule – listen 80% of the time and only talk 20%.
Here are five tips to help you listen better:
- Listen with your mind – pay attention to what the other person is saying. Don't let your mind drift to other matters, even though they may be pressing.
- Listen with your body – body language often communicates more than our words. Active listening means that we are facing the person and maintaining appropriate eye contact (and not looking at our phone).
- Listen with your words – it's important to summarize what you think the other person is saying, so that you know you're hearing correctly (and so the other person knows you are listening and care about the conversation).
- Listen with your intuition – as you are listening, you will sometimes begin to "hear" things beneath the surface. Your intuition will notice subtle cues that will help you say things that nudge the conversation in productive directions.
- Listen with the Spirit – if you're a follower of Jesus, you can be confident that the Holy Spirit is guiding you. Ask Him to give you insight into the conversation and then to guide your responses.
Skill #2 - Expanding
Expanding is all about asking good questions that help the other person think in different ways. As Terry Walling, Executive Director of Leader Breakthru, has said, "Discovery is about ownership. That which an individual discovers, they have a greater propensity to implement."