How To Identify A Coach Over A Critic

Every person on the planet lives in what’s called survival mode. Meaning that whatever we interact with during the day we filter it through survival mode. While doing this, we don’t realize it but we default to thinking or listening to whoever is pointning out the worst in us.

We all do this – but the great news is, we can overcome it. We really can block out critics and live a life listening to voices that help us get better. We can live realizing while yes, we are in constant survival mode asking “will this product or relationship help make my life better?” we don’t have to listen to the critics.

The key here is knowing how to see the difference between the two voices. When I figured this out (it took me a while and I never realized I was doing it until someone pointed it out to me 🙂 ) I was able to live a much better life.

A Critic

The single BIGGEST way to see who is a critic is this simple truth:

A critic will be quick to point out all the wrongs about you but often will not do anything to help you get better.

Listening to these types of voices are dangerous because we’ll think we’re doing all the wrong things and living a terrible life.

I remember I had someone constantly telling me that I was doing something the wrong way. They wouldn’t give it up telling me how wrong I was. This person told me time after time what they thought and how they could do it better. Here’s how I used the truth I showed you above: Although this person told me how wrong I was, they never offered to help me. Not even once. They were doing what a critic does best, point out a wrong and do nothing about it.

The faster you separate yourself from people like this the better off you’ll be. It doesn’t matter if it’s someone on social media, someone at work, someone on the street or someone you met at the gym. If they aren’t actually doing anything to help you in the area they are criticizing you in, say goodbye.

It’s foolish to allow someone who doesn’t know you, your struggles, your pain or that doesn’t have any skin in the game tell you who you are and what you should do.

My favorite coach in the world is Dabo Swinney of the Clemson Tigers. I’ve been watching Dabo for years and he’s won multiple national championships with Clemson and you know one thing Dabo has never done: Dabo has never called a timeout during the football game and turned up to the fans in the stands and asked, “what should I do next everyone?” He knows better than to ask people for advice that don’t have any skin in the game.

The last thing about critics, when we give them attention we’re showing them that what they are saying has value with us. The best way I’ve found to handle critics is to ignore them and done give them a voice.

A Coach

A coach will identify areas for growth while walking with you until you achieve that growth.

Coaches are not meant to set us back but to help us grow. Coaches act as a voice to trust that gets you where you need to be in whatever area it is that you’re trying to grow in. They can be friends, coworkers, supervisors or someone like a consultant helping you grow.

There was one time in my ministry career where I was having a difficult time with a situation and I turned to someone I knew I could trust and they told me: “We’re going to figure this out together. First do x and then come back to me with x.” See how much of a difference there is?

A coach won’t leave you but instead stick beside you. They’ll be with you through rough times and successful times. They won’t care if you are on the mountaintop or in the valley, they’ll be there for you.

I’ve had so many people in my life tell me “I’ll be there for you through whatever” and then after I quit doing what they wanted me to do I never heard from them again. Do whatever you can to surround yourself with people who care, who love you enough to tell you when you’re wrong but point to the horizon and help you get there.

Wounds from a friend can be trusted (Proverbs 27:6)


  • What coaches do you have in your life?
  • Who are the critics in your life?
  • Do you often focus on the critic or the coach more?
  • What is a practical step to help you focus more on the coach?

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