I have always been a lover of sports, so the term “coach” is firmly established in my lexicon, yet I have never known where the word itself comes from and what it actually means.  This thought occurred to me one morning as I was leafing through my son’s dictionary.

The term “coach” originates in Hungary as the word kocsi and originally referred to a carrier of Kocs which is the village where the horse-drawn carriage was built.  Simply put, the word literally came to represent a vehicle that transported people from one place to another.  A coach, therefore, carries someone – perhaps a student, athlete, or leader – from one place to another.  The coach, with wheels harnessed to horsepower, goes where the passenger desires to go.  Think of a coach as resembling Fred Flintstone’s car where all the drive came from Fred’s solid legs and speedy feet!

How can a coach get me to where I want to go while navigating over, around, under, and through the roadblocks, bridges, tunnels, and pain points that often impede my progress?  First, I think a coach honors the person as God’s handiwork, as gifts called to holiness, knowing that “Jesus came that we might make the journey from the people that we are to the people that we know we can be.”  This quotation from Matthew Kelly reminds me that I am on a journey and that my travels require a companion who can ennoble me through shared discovery, new possibilities, and definitive action helping me reach my destination. 

A coaching culture, then, is the above relationship multiplied and flowing in all directions.  People come alive, seek feedback, and welcome accountability because they have discerned a definitive direction and destination.  How do we come to know and understand where to go?

Presumably, the early followers of Christ referred to themselves as followers of the Way (see Acts 9:2) because of Jesus’ statement in John 14:6 that He is “the way and the truth and the life.”  Luke says that Aquila and Priscilla explained to Apollos “the way of God” more fully (Acts 18:26).  Peter refers to Christianity as “the way of truth” (2 Peter 2:2).  And the writer of Hebrews says that Jesus’ broken body is the “new and living way” for us to enter the Most Holy Place (Hebrews 10:19–20).

We come to know the way by following Jesus Christ who is “the chief way for the Church.  He Himself is our way ‘to the Father’s house’ and is the way to each man” (Redemptor Hominis, 13).  We follow Jesus Christ who is both the way and means.  We build a coaching culture by doing for others what He has done for us.