Some of my worst experiences with people
had to do with me trying to convince someone else of my “great” idea.
In one way or another, I was displaying what Keith Webb calls my “know-it-all-ism”. It was not pretty, and it did not work nearly as well as I hoped it would. It often resulted in high resistance, defensiveness, or hurt feelings – none of which I intended, but I definitely caused that impact. Turns out, telling people what I think they should do doesn’t work very well for me at all.
I am reading Keith Webb’s book, The Coach Model, in preparation for a coaching training I get to attend soon. So far, the basic concepts are not brand new, but they are excellent reminders of key principles and practical helps. They have convicted me in many places and encouraged me in others. Rather than experience this range of emotions alone, I thought I’d share some of them with you!
First, a summary of the symptoms of “know-it-all-ism” – just in case you want to join me in the painful self-awareness process…
Keith explains that there are two types of “know-it-alls” – aggressive and passive:
- are quick to speak
- listen – until the other person takes a breath
- have an answer for everything
- win arguments, but lose respect
- pretend to listen
- maintain a smug facial expression
- ask questions that subtly point out why the speaker is wrong
- internally mock or criticize the speaker
Ouch. I am guilty of both of these.
How about you? Ever act like a know-it-all?
Thankfully, the book offers a better way. Keith Webb defines coaching as:
An ongoing intentional conversation that
empowers a person or group to fully live out God’s calling.
This kind of conversation eliminates the need for me to know it all. It also releases me from the self-imposed responsibility of changing the other person or correcting whatever I feel that person is not handling correctly (yet).
A coaching conversation of this type puts the attention on what God has in mind for the person and allows it to happen in His timing – not mine. There is incredible freedom in this coaching. Keith writes that freedom often feels risky – like accompanying the person on an unknown journey – but at least it will be their journey, rather than mine. I’ll have less control, but I have a feeling that will work out better for both of us.
I’m looking forward to learning more from this book and from the training. I’ll share more in a next post – stay tuned!