The Words of the Saver Family

Coaching: From Followship To Ownership

Paul Saver
February 23, 2011

Arguably the greatest mandate from God in this era of Cheon Il Guk is to finally realize the Kingdom Of Heaven on Earth. Suffice to say, the heavenly world is a world of true families who have realized the Three Great Blessings (Genesis 1:28).

Having said that, each of the eight points of the Family Pledge implore us to become "the owner of Cheon Il Guk" as we carry out God's Will. This implies that without becoming an "owner" we cannot succeed in creating the heavenly world.

So what is "ownership"? Not knowing the meaning of the Korean word I run the risk of providing an unsatisfactory answer. Nevertheless from the English language viewpoint, ownership is a blend of responsibility, accountability and initiative. It means becoming a person whose words and deeds form a straight line, a person of integrity and a person you can depend upon. Adding the context of CIG, and you have a person who fulfills the Three Blessings.

But how does one become an owner and perhaps more to the point how do we educate for ownership? Through prayer, 30 years of experience in leadership roles and via research, I have come to the conclusion that a key part of the answer to that question requires a paradigm shift in the way we educate and raise up people in order that genuine learning and growth takes place. Simply put, it means adopting a coaching role in the way we parent, the way we help our spouse/sibling/friend, the way we teach and the way we lead.

For example how do we effectively help someone grasp the depths of the Divine Principle? Certainly we can begin with presenting a lecture. However having heard a lecture does not necessarily imply that learning has taken place or that the person even recalls what was said.

On the foundation of having presented a lecture and/or having got the student to read the Divine Principle text, the teacher would be well advised to adopt a coaching strategy which would include an experiential component.

To get clear on what a coach does, let me begin by saying that coaching in its pure form is not consulting, mentoring or counseling, although coaching may contain these elements.

Here is a useful description of what life coaching is, which is an excerpt from a book written by Michael Arloski PhD:

Imagine you are a person who is ready to change your life. Imagine that you want to be fulfilled in some areas that now seem wanting, or even empty. Whilst certain dimensions of your life are satisfying, even rich, others are a source of frustration at best, and increasing illness and loss at worst.

Imagine that you have expended, over the years, great energy to change and to grow. You have succeeded in some areas but other areas feel like boggy swamps where your progress is like walking knee-to-thigh deep in failure, sadness, regret and perhaps even self loathing.

Others have tried to help. At times you reached out to them and got information and treatment that kept you going. They may have given you all manner of advice and criticism while imploring and cheering you on. All the motivation seemed to be based on their own agendas for your life. Despite their efforts, and yours to work with them, you once again feel like you are essentially alone and still bogged down in that swamp.

NOW imagine that you begin talking with someone who approaches the process of helping you in an entirely different way. They listen to you-truly listen-not just waiting for their turn to talk. You feel they hear and understand you. Rather than stand above you they stand beside you and with you as an ally. Their agenda is your agenda.

This person does not live with you or work with you, they work for you. You employ them to help you find your way through that swamp that impedes your progress. They require you to look into yourself, to acknowledge your strengths and build upon them in order to confront your fears. They ask questions not so much to gain information, as to require you to seek answers from within yourself, to benefit yourself.

They come equipped with tools that help you take stock of your life and with effective methods for change. They acknowledge that you are ready to make those changes and they ask your permission to delve deeper and push you further. You are treated with respect and compassion, while you are confronted and challenged to do your best. When you make a commitment for action, they help you hold yourself accountable so that you will accomplish your goals in the time frame you allocate.

This person goes beyond gathering information and stresses motivation, helping you find within yourself the motivation needed to initiate, sustain and maintain change. They are there to celebrate your success with you. They are your coach.

Up to this point in human history, leaders, teachers, parents and husbands the world over have considered those who have "followed" to be the model object, student, child and wife. The essential strategy to elicit followship has been to 'direct and correct', that is, to tell people what to do and to tell them when they do something wrong. Being creative and different was shunned and discouraged.

If you are conducting a military operation or as an organization you want to quickly achieve XYZ results, you are best advised to apply the 'direct and correct' model. However it does not mean necessarily that authentic human growth will occur, or that the followers automatically become mature and capable leaders.

Am I saying that there is something wrong in being a follower? No not at all. In fact being a follower is a necessary step on the path to becoming a true owner. Remember the catch cry of Hyun Jin Nim in his speaking tours when he emphasized the need to "inherit and develop" on the path to ownership?

Experience shows that the master craftsman, technician, sporting coach and the like, forged their attitudes, skills and knowledge through the fires of an apprenticeship. Simply put, if you lack the humility and willingness to follow, you do not qualify to lead and become an owner.

However at what point does the follower become a leader who can be called a true owner? Bear in mind that the old school leader of today, who has for whatever reason, resisted change, is not about to open a path for his followers to all become true leaders and owners.

To Your Growth,

Paul S.

PS. This is a huge topic and I have only scratched the surface.

Also I am the first to admit that I have not got all the answers. For this reason I invite you to engage in this discussion on what it means to be a true parent, true teacher and true leader on our path to becoming a true owner in this era of CIG. 

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