Embracing Fierce Conversations: Two Important Lessons for Coaches

By Dino Senesi

“While no single conversation is guaranteed to change the trajectory of a career, a company, a relationship or a life—any single conversation can.” Susan Scott, Fierce Conversations

The Bible is filled with them. And as I look back over my life, I can remember plenty too. What am I talking about? Conversations that changed everything.

One of those conversations happened in the basement of a Baptist church almost 50 years ago. Someone invited me to follow Jesus, and I did. That conversation may have seemed insignificant to a casual observer—but not to me.

Another conversation occurred with my first coach, Bob Logan, almost 40 years later. After a one-year coaching relationship, I invited him to “speak into my life.” And that he did.

Bob said, “Dino, there seems to be a lot of drama in every room you enter, and the best I can tell, there’s only one constant in each of those rooms: YOU.” He didn’t fix me that day, but God used Bob to usher in a new era of self-awareness.

When I asked, Bob took off his coaching hat and put on a mentor’s hat. And that was exactly what I needed.

Certain Conversations for You Alone

Bob had a conversation with me that no one else could. What if he would have said nice things, instead of fierce things? What if my teacher decided to back off of the claims of the gospel?

Recently, God challenged me with a new reality. If I refuse to have fierce conversations with certain people, nobody else will. I’ve been given unique roles and responsibilities in the lives of people around me. Some of them are like me – they will not listen to “just” anybody.

Two important lessons for coaches:

1)   Always trust the Holy Spirit. Abandon your training for “God moments.” Don’t be afraid to be fierce. Some conversations are simply a matter of obedience.


2)   Your next coaching conversation could be life-altering. Great questions have had the same effect on my life as Bob’s direct statement. Coaches ask the tough questions. Your job is incredibly important.

Jeff Christopherson sees the Kingdom impact of fierce conversations. In Kingdom Matrix he wrote: “When the words I speak are true, no matter how difficult they may be, the Kingdom of God is forcefully advanced.”

Take Next Steps

1) Think back on some conversations God used to change everything for you. If possible, send a text or email thanking those He used.

2) Do a quick study of “fierce conversations” in the Gospels. They aren’t all coaching conversations—but they will inspire you in your coaching role and other leadership roles as well.

3) Listen for the Holy Spirit’s promptings. God has conversations planned for you alone. Discover the next conversation He has planned. Those conversations can change everything.


Published January 9, 2015

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Dino Senesi

Dino Senesi serves as the Director of Coaching for the Send Network of the North Mission Board, providing leadership for creating indigenous coaching systems to help serve and develop church planters.