I couldn’t decide how to “wire” this title. I like the word coach. However, not everyone has positive experiences with their athletic coaches. I thought to use the word mentor but I don’t even like that word. To mentor someone makes them sound like a project before they are a person. I like the word motivate but it is inspiration without instruction. The biblical word is exhort and better translated encourage. The original language defines encourage as: to infuse courage. Much like a great coach, individuals wired to encourage throw a two-fisted punch: courage with pointers.
Individuals wired with encouragement aim their pointers at your heart unlike a teacher. Teachers aim for your head. As mentioned previously, all the gifts can teach. Encouragers are the most interesting and enjoyable teacher. Why do they aim for the heart? The heart is where the courage is infused. Encouragers burn with a desire to see others overcome and live successful lives. They want to help people live up to their full potential and their greatest joy is to be a useful part of a persons personal achievements.
Encouragers are walking “how-to” books. They prefer systems of information that give practical steps of application. In turn that is exactly what they will deliver; prescribed steps of action to aid a person’s personal growth. They get their energy from personal coaching or counseling. They also know their success does not rest on how much they know but on those they are coaching to actually following through with the actions steps given. Encouragers are not quitters but they will discontinue further coaching until the coach-ee follows through on their advice. It is important to them that their time and effort count, they have no problem moving on to someone who will value their counsel.
Encouragers are fluent in communication. I posted a quote from Jeff Goins on Facebook the other day, “Real writers wake up every morning with something to say. Even if the words have yet to come.” I followed it with a comment about how my dad used to call me “windy” and it was not because I was flighty. Well that may be part of it. No really, I talked a lot. It would be the one pattern of behavior I would most frequently get disciplined for in school, talking.
Yes, I had lots to say but there was another side to my trouble. People liked talking to me. I’ve retained one particular memory from a grade school gym class back in 19… ah, whatever. A classmate was talking with me privately, well as private as you can get in gym class and yes I probably did get in trouble for it. Anyway, she was disclosing to me how another girl, a best friend of hers in our class, was hurting her feelings. When she finished unloading she made a very direct point to tell me I was a really good listener and thanked me for helping her. How did I help? Not only was just listening helpful but giving her some grade school-aged advice helped her see things in a more positive light. Yes, I am wired like an encourager almost as much as a prophet.
Fluent in communication, check. Makes decisions easily, check-check. Wants to clear up problems with others quickly, triple check. Known for my positive attitude, most days. Those wired to encourage believe nothing is impossible and all things work together for the good of personal growth. Encouragers do not see obstacles, they only see opportunities and they have the best advise on how to embrace the process to getting to a happy ending. Those wired to encourage think out loud and have to have a sounding board as though they are trying on ideas for size. They need to know they are really communicating.
Builders of People
If you are wired to encourage you are a people person. You are not so much interested in working with abstract ideas and figuring out systems of business or ministry. You are much more interested in building the people who build systems of business or ministry. You also now how to network people and find them to be great resources.
You probably learn your most valuable lessons from life and like to validate them with the bible. In fact, experiences are usually what brings scripture to life for you. Personally, the scriptures I have instant recall on are the ones I learned through a life experience as opposed to reading or memorizing it. These experiences make for the most memorable stories for others to be infused with the courage they need to keep embracing the process to greatness.
Of course, there are some frustrating traits common to this gift that need to mature. If you have a tendency to interrupt all the time because you are eager to give an opinion or advice, you may be wired to coach. Yes, you were created with much to say but wait your turn; you may miss out on some good stuff. Besides, its just rude man. If you give cookie-cutter counsel, you may be wired to coach. Truly effective advice comes from Heaven which makes prayerful advise the most personally fitting advise. Prayerful advise brings about the most fruitful results. If you are outspoken and overly self-confident, you may be wired to coach but not well liked. No one likes a know-it-all. You’ve got to make room for God in your advice and in your confidence. Being self-made is the lowest form of notoriety when you live in God’s Kingdom. Being self-made can be one of your greatest temptations. Be careful that your advice doesn’t encourage a false self-reliance in others. In all you advise, point to the One Who created them.
When it comes to work and ministry they are the “mouth” of the body. Their energy and joy will come from leading, counseling, planning, and teaching all ages. In the marketplace they will be at their best as: advertisers, ambassadors, guidance counselors, ministers, personal assistants, psychologists, public relations, radio and TV. personalities, realtor, social worker, teacher, and travel agents. With a 1987 copyright on the book I am obligated to mention a couple of more relevant careers: motivational speakers and life coaches:-)