June 28, 2017
 
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DR#: 22 Coaching a Dream Team of Leaders


Introduction

In this directed reading, the first thing that John Maxwell states about potential members of his team is: “I want the people close to me to know my heart.” (p. 153) As leaders in the Institute of the Brothers of the Sacred Heart, our first responsibility is to know the Heart of Christ and to teach the love of that Heart to those we serve. Thus, the unifying force in developing a team of leaders is a heart, the Heart of Jesus.

Jesus mentored the disciples to be the messengers of his Heart. He did not choose them at random, but chose them because of their capacity to grow in the knowledge of his Heart. This tutelage of the twelve required much patience. How many times did Jesus say to the apostles, “You still do not understand.” Throughout his ministry, Jesus fulfilled the role of a good mentor or coach. He modeled the characteristics of a dream team coach that Maxwell outlines. He used the Sermon on the Mount to introduce his “game plan.” He took them aside to pray and reflect. He encouraged, cajoled, and kept them on message. He sent them out two by two to minister on their own, and when they returned, he used their experiences to deepen their understanding. He recognized their different gifts and talents and treated them as individuals and not all the same. He used Andrew to recruit Peter, and Philip to call Nathaniel. He taught Peter to be their leader through questions like “Who do you say that I am?” and “Do you love me more than these?” Jesus challenged Peter to grow through reprimands such as “Get behind me Satan” and “You of little faith.” He shared the splendor of Mt. Tabor with Peter, James, and John. He confronted Thomas’s doubt. Jesus understood that the future of his Church depended on the understanding of his disciples and their openness to following his Spirit.

Similarly, Father Andre Coindre played coach or mentor to the early brothers. This role is particularly clear in his letters to Brother Borgia, the first director of the Pieux-Secours. He encouraged: “There is more good being done than you imagine.” He respected the individual and reassured him: “I shall only demand from you things that are fair and within you grasp. I shall not allow you to be crushed.” He promoted modeling of good behavior: “As for the rest, it is up to you to engender it, to cause it to be loved as much by your own zealous practice as by holy and salutary counsels.” He understood human nature: “Man is like a poor old clock that must be rewound each day, but oh so gently.” He advised reasonableness and moderation: “In your dealings with everyone, show force without bitterness or inflexibility and goodness without weakness. Trust and a bit of fear, these are the two reins with which to drive your cart.” He understood his mission and trusted God: “You are walking in the footsteps of the apostles…. You are where the Good Lord wishes you to be.” Father Coindre knew that the future of his Institute depended on competent and inspiring leaders among the brothers.

Through this directed reading, the participants will:

  • recognize essential characteristics needed to mentor leaders around you;
  • evaluate their own effectiveness in mentoring others.
Readings
  • Developing the Leaders Around You, John C. Maxwell, Chapter 8: “Coaching a Dream Team of Leaders,” pp. 151- 179.
Options for Additional Readings
  • Rule of Life, 1984, Rules #208, 209, 210
  • Formation Guide of the Institute, 1991, “Formation personnel and formation,” paragraphs 153-156.10
  • Educational Mission and Ministry, 1990 edition, pages 4 and 5: “Role of Administration” and “Selection and Formation of Faculty”
Suggestions for Journal Reflection

1. Recall the individuals who have served as coach or mentor for you. What gifts or insights have they given you for which you are thankful?

2. In your current position, do you see yourself as a mentor for others? Name specific individuals you mentor and specific things you do to mentor.

3. Take the self-evaluation on page 177 of Developing the Leaders Around You. What are your strengths and weaknesses in “coaching your team”? How can you compensate for your weaknesses and better utilize your strengths?

4. The future of your institution depends on your mentoring of good leaders. What impact does this realization have on you? How does your approach to your responsibilities need to change?

Prayer

 Lord, bless my heart,
as you blessed the hearts of Father Coindre, Brother Polycarp, 
and the first brothers.
Make my heart a living temple of your spirit, full of warmth and love,
so that it may inspire others to emulate you.
Lord, guide my actions,
so that they are in keeping with your will.
Let me model the patience, understanding, and nurturing
that you showed your apostles.
As Father Coindre and Brother Polycarp
encouraged and empowered mentors for our first brothers,
give me the grace to show care, concern and guidance.
Lord, direct my decisions,
so that they promote the building of your kingdom.
Gift me with the prudence and the fortitude
to know when to prod, when to affirm,
when to allow others to learn from their mistakes
You have blessed the brothers 
with great leaders over these many years.
Allow me to learn from these men 
and teach me how to pass on those lessons.
Grant me, O Lord, wisdom, courage, and confidence!

Amen.

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