“As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another.” Proverbs 27:17
Tuesday mornings at 7:30 a.m. you will almost always find me hanging out with the same small group of men. We’ve been meeting together for over twenty years, nowadays mostly by Zoom, yet unlike what you might think it is not a bunch guys drinking coffee and gabbing about sports and politics – far from it in fact. No, we meet for a specific purpose with a strict agenda that begins with a brief prayer after which each of us share three things: (1) what is going on in our relationship with God; (2) what each of us is studying to increase his knowledge and understanding; and (3) what we are doing individually to help someone else, or to make the community and the world a better place. That hour on Tuesday morning is without question the most inspiring and powerful time I spend during my week, which is why I seldom miss. Nothing I do influences and holds me accountable for the way I live my life from week to week more than spending time with that group of friends. It is for me as the old Proverb so wisely proclaims, “As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another.”
That Tuesday group also serves to keep me centered in my professional life of executive coaching which is also tied directly to the old proverb. Although, often misperceived as advisors, counselors, or consultants who are experts in a particular field, coaches instead are men and women whose primary function is to sharpen others as iron sharpens iron. And as much as those of us engaged in this profession receive pleasure from watching our clients hone their abilities to become more effective at what they do, we often discover, ironically, that we too have been sharpened. For me it is a rare instance when at the conclusion of meeting with a coaching client I have not benefited as much if not more than my client has. And the more I have experienced this dual benefit the more I have come to firmly believe that when people meet together for the purpose of open, authentic and serious dialogue, and are fully present with each other with open hearts and listening ears, the result will inevitably be that both are sharpened – just as iron sharpens iron.
How blessed I am to have a group of friends who gather weekly to sharpen each other, and what a privilege to work in a profession whose function is to do the same.