How do I define success?

September 8, 2021
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By Shannon Caughey

If coaching success is defined by the number of wins you have, how many wins are enough to be considered successful? You might be tempted to respond, “Just a few more,” no matter what your win total is in any particular season or over the course of your career.

There is nothing wrong with desiring to win and doing your best to coach your team toward victory. This is part of your DNA as a coach or you probably wouldn’t be in coaching. However, is success as a coach ultimately about how many wins you get?

In InsideOut Coaching, Joe Ehrmann says that every coach must be able to answer four critical questions. We previously looked at the first three: Why do I coach? Why do I coach the way I do? and, What does it feel like to be coached by me? The fourth is How do I define success?

According to Ehrmann, “Success can be measured only according to my stated purposes as a coach.” Is your purpose as a coach merely to win as many games as possible? Or is your “why” for coaching far more significant and eternal: coaching for God’s glory, coaching in ways that express your love for Christ and for your players, and coaching with the goal that your players have a chance to experience Jesus’ transformational work in their lives?

In writing to those he had the chance to lead/coach, Paul says this: “After all, what gives us hope and joy, and what will be our proud reward and crown as we stand before our Lord Jesus when he returns? It is you! Yes, you are our pride and joy” (1 Thess. 2:19-20). The way Paul defines success provides a great model for coaches who are committed to Christ. He measures success by the transformed lives of those he has the chance to lead and serve. That’s the “win” Paul is after – and there’s no greater joy for him.

There is also no greater joy in coaching than to see the lives of those you coach transformed. If you pursue this definition of success, you likely won’t see it right away. The fruit of God’s work through you to bring lasting transformation often unfolds over several decades. But as God gives you glimpses of how he is using you for this glorious purpose, it will mean far more – eternally more – than how many games you win.

For reflection: Take a few moments to prayerfully reflect on how you define coaching success. Is your ultimate desire to be used by God as a channel through which he can transform the lives of those you coach? Ask the Lord to help you define success according to his heart and pray that he would bring about eternal fruit through your coaching.



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