Correct, Don't Criticize
“For the Lord disciplines the one He loves, just as a father, the son he delights in.” – Proverbs 3:12
When I first started working towards becoming a head coach, people wondered if I could do it. I wasn’t the type to yell at people. I wasn’t the type to get in people’s faces. They didn’t know if I could control the players. How would they respond to my coaching style? How would I handle being in charge of an entire team?
My style has always been one that relies on motivation, encouragement and teaching. I always want to help people get better. That’s the idea behind correction. It’s not about tearing people down. It’s about helping them improve. You have to let them know when they’ve done something wrong, but the goal is helping them became a better player and a better person.
There are certain things that are going to be done a certain way and they’re not negotiable. The punishment is already set and everyone knows it. But then if a rule is a broken and you have to correct, it’s best to avoid sharp criticisms but instead to discipline with love. That approach gives the person the best opportunity to change their behavior.
Jesus corrected by telling stories. He showed examples. He pointed things out. He didn’t just say, “This is wrong and this is right.” He corrected people by getting them to think. When He corrected His disciples, they walked away understanding that it was for their benefit.
As a society, we desperately need to develop young people that are correctable. The youth generation is sometimes difficult to correct because of the way they’ve gotten correction. They have rebelled against correction because they see it as criticism. When the time for discipline comes, sometimes it’s easier to demonstrate authority. It’s more difficult to build relationships because it takes time and patience.
But when we follow Jesus’ model of correction and avoid the temptation to criticize, we are better able to build long-lasting relationships and we increase our influence over those within our care.
- How would you describe your style of discipline?
- In what ways does correction differ from criticism?
- What are some things that you can do to become less critical and more encouraging as a coach?