October 05, 2022

Are you feeling the pressure of leadership?
You’ve been working hard. You’ve strategized, implemented, and followed through but things just aren’t working out as you planned. Even the best of leaders will discover their limitations when circumstances are challenging. Here are 4 things you can do to help you stay the course. 

Written By Gary Reinecke

ICF Master Certified Coach, Resource Designer, Mission Strategist : InFocus
Have you ever gone through a tough set of circumstances when things out of your control went sideways? Did you feel your world caving in or everything going against you? Is the pressure of leadership making it a struggle to enjoy life?

How you navigate those seasons in your life and work is a testament to the way you lead yourself.

Not losing can be a win

In the English Premiership (top soccer league) the best of the best know how to grind out a result, even when things are not going favorably–or at least they can figure out how not to lose, walking away with a tie. While not ideal, a tie earns 1 point versus 0 points for a loss and 3 points for a win. Last year, Liverpool came in second by the slimmest of margins to Manchester City – they had one less point over the course of the season.

As I’ve moved through these seasons (and helped others do the same), I have discovered four important aspects of self-leadership. Focusing on these during times of crisis can help recalibrate us and can help us move more purposefully through challenging circumstances.

4 signs of self-leadership

4 signs of self leadership

1. Remember your purpose (Why)

As a human working in the business of Christ it’s always good to check your motivation. The pressure we feel is often of our own making. Are you striving for personal success? Or are you motivated by the grace and mercy of God (Romans 12:1)?

2. Be clear on the end game (Win) 

In ministry, it’s easy to get distracted by quantitative metrics. The numbers are low—you must be off track. But God’s metrics are qualitative as well as quantitative. Your purpose is to love the Lord with all that you are, to love your neighbor as yourself, and to help others do the same.

3. Embrace the responsibility of leadership (What)

Paul summarizes Christian leadership succinctly in 1 Corinthians 11:1, “Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ” (NIV). A solid personal relationship with Christ is more effective than strategy, ministry flows, classes, and sermons.

4. Surround yourself with people that care for you (Who)

The lives of leaders are under a microscope. It’s a tough way to live. Trusted, honest, and loving support from mentors, friends, and family is invaluable to sustained healthy leadership.

An example of leading well

Dietrich Bonhoeffer (1904-1945) was a model of someone who led well. He understood his purpose. He was clear on the win. Even under immense pressure, he embraced his leadership role. He surrounded himself with people who cared about him and with the things he cared for: establishing the Kingdom of God and the fall of the Third Reich!

Few people have had such an impact on the world as Bonhoeffer. It was his ability to stay calm and resolved in the midst of a life that was disrupted by arrest and imprisonment in concentration camps–and eventual execution–that inspired his fellow prisoners. His writings on discipleship, community, and ethics are classics. His views were tested in real-life circumstances not in an academic institution. 

A radical call to discipleship

“The restoration of the church must surely depend on a new kind of monasticism, which has nothing in common with the old but a life of uncompromising discipleship, following Christ according to the Sermon on the Mount. I believe the time has come to gather people together to do this.” —Dietrich Bonhoeffer

Are you feeling pressure to perform?

Here are three questions you can use for your reflection (or to help others) when confronted with challenging circumstances:

  1. What is the worst-case scenario?
  2. What are the most critical things you need to do in this situation for success?
  3. Who can you lean on during this time?

See if these questions guide you when you find yourself in need of grinding out a result.

Cover Photo by Nik Shuliahin 💛💙 on Unsplash

Photo by Jamie Street on Unsplash

Coaching spiritual growth

There are ministries and even bible studies filled with Christians who can’t answer the question, “What is God doing in your life?” How can you help them jumpstart into renewed spiritual growth?

Coaching Groups that Grow Disciples

You see the same people at church doing the same things over and over again. They are faithful but they aren’t really becoming more like Jesus. How can you as a coach help Christians break out of a spiritual growth plateau? 

4 Ways to Build Redemptive Relationships

You want to see people come to Christ but there seems to be a growing chasm between the churched and the unchurched. So how can you build redemptive relationships? 

7 habits to nurture mindfulness in your coaching

Your clients have thanked you again and again for listening both to them and to the Lord with them. That is mindfulness at work! It’s one of the most powerful practices you can bring to your coaching.

The Barnabas Questions

If you have excellent listening skills and are armed with good questions you can empower people to live into all that they can be.

Five Questions to Greater Clarity

As a coach, it’s helpful to have a few hip-pocket questions that are useful in a wide range of situations. 

A risk that will make you a better coach

As a coach, you are great at asking hard questions—but they generally aren’t about you. Turning the tables on yourself with your clients is a risk you need to take.

3 Essentials When Establishing a Coaching Relationship 

Getting off to a good start interpersonally is an essential part of a well-functioning coaching relationship. Although coaching is not counseling or friendship, it’s still at core a relational process. Find the essentials for establishing a coaching relationship here.

That was a great coaching moment!

Most coaching assumes a formalized coaching relationship with a beginning, a middle, and an end, with clear goals to be accomplished along the way. However, you can also use your coaching skills in less formal ways– just as a way of relating and interacting. Think of it as a “coaching moment” instead of a “coaching relationship.”

Steps to Help You Make Decisions with God

You’ve got a big decision to make. When you make a decision based on the human intellect alone you might come away with a “good decision”; in contrast, when you consider God’s perspective on a matter you engage the spiritual dimension. This will lead you  down the path of prayerful decision making.