Beyond Applause


Most of the feedback we give and receive is not actually feedback. It is applause. “Well done. That was great. Good job!” This feels nice to give and to get. But there is a problem here. We are not developing people. We are not growing and improving ourselves.

Applause is nice, but we need to go far beyond applause if we really love people and want what it best for them. 

To give great feedback in Enjoying Jesus, take a “generous skeptical” approach. Always be generous to the person, but be a little skeptical as well. Where did the person play it safe in their project? Where did they have something deeper to say, but left it out due to fear? Did they avoid a part of the project prompt? What area can they lean into and improve? 

Your generous skeptical posture will help people bring their best work to Enjoying Jesus. 

Don’t let any group members hide. Don’t let them give the “Sunday School answer” instead of the real answer. 

We do that far too often in Christianity. We know the “right” answer so we give that answer instead of being honest and vulnerable with each other (or with God). Then we suffer some damage to our integrity. We don’t feel whole.

But in this course, we will love each so much that we don’t let people hide behind the “right” answer.

Therefore, we have to go beyond applause and take a generous skeptical posture. 

Next, let’s talk about coaching. Good coaches give a lot of advice. Great coaches ask great questions.

Which of these approaches do you see Jesus doing?

As you grow into being a great coach to others, you will lead people to discover truth instead of you giving them all the answers. The greatest life change happens when people discover truth about God and His ways. I think this is why Jesus asked so many questions.  

A side benefit of having a coaching habit instead of an being an advice giver is that it will prevent people from being overly dependent on you. Co-dependence is not healthy for anyone.

Asking questions also takes the pressure off from you needing to have giving right advice and knowing the right answer all the time. That is a burden too heavy to bear.

By being a coach, you can freely talk to people about major issues like who to marry or some major career decision. And you will not have the the pressure of “What if I tell them to do the wrong thing? This decision will affect the rest of their life!” 

A good coach doesn’t tell people what to do. Instead a coach asks penetrating questions that helps people get the relevant information and perspective, then people discover their answers. This is good news for anyone who has given advice to someone and it didn’t work out well!  

We want to give feedback that helps people discover things for themselves. You will be amazed at how simple questions lead to profound results. This also leaves a lot of room for the Holy Spirit to guide people in their answer instead of you supplying all the answers. When you ask someone a good question, you can be cooperating with the Holy Spirit in a huge way. 

Here are some great coaching questions to get you started. Use these and similar ones often in the Enjoying Jesus and in life. 

  1. “And what else?” This questions helps people realize what they left out. Sometimes the real issue is not what a person is talking about. We can ask this question two or three times to see if something deeper comes out.

  2. “What’s the real challenge here for you?” This question helps people with a messy or complicated situation focus into the core challenging issue. Then they are working and thinking about the real issue not a symptom of the real issue.

  3. “What do you want?” This question helps people lift their head, get a broader perspective, and see where they want to go. This helps them discover solutions and a direction to take.

  4. “If you are saying yes to this, what are you saying no to?” This question helps people actually accomplish the new things they want to do by taking something else off their list. People can’t infinitely add things to do in life and actually do them.

  5. “What was most useful for you?” This helps people stop and reflect on what just helped them the most. Then it fixes it in their brain and helps them carry it with them.

By the way, these questions come from a great book called The Coaching Habit. If you want to go deeper into this topic, read this book.  

Those are just some starter questions to help you get into the coaching mindset, but of course you will come up with your own questions that are relevant to the project you are giving feedback on. 

Next read: 

The only way to mastery