I coach pastors. All kinds from all over the country. Years ago, I learned that in each conversation I create an experience with that client. It is the experience the client has—and not the content of our conversations that are enduringly influential in changing their lives.

58 GatsbyHave you seen Baz Luhrman’s The Great Gatsby?

Every scene practically overwhelms the senses.

The costumes, props, sets, lighting, sound, and cinematography together cause the audience to have a specific experience.

You’re caught up in it.

58 LuhrmannYou find yourself in the scenes.

You feel the dizzying opulence of the party scenes, the nervous tension as Jay and Daisy are about to meet, the arresting shock of the auto accident… You experience it.

Baz is masterful at causing his audience to have an experience.

Great communicators are, too.

One of my favorite examples is Dr. Martin Luther King’s I Have a Dream speech. Through it, he causes his audience to have an experience. To imagine a very different future from one corner of the US to another. 58 King

With his words, he takes us around the Country, to Georgia, Mississippi, Alabama, New Hampshire, New York, Pennsylvania, Colorado, California, Tennessee, and to every village and hamlet, state and city. Listening, you are invited into a day far from 1963 when black, white, Jew, Gentile, Protestant, and Catholic stand together to thank God for their freedom.

These are spectacular examples of creating an experience, chosen to illustrate the distinction. But, as I said, we’re always causing an experience for others.

Flying first class and you have a different experience. On most flights, the difference transcends the width of seats and extra leg room. I fly so often I’m sometimes “bumped up” from coach to first class. And, when I step into that first class cabin I feel differently.

Valuable.

Special.

And, it happens on purpose. The flight attendant speaks to me by name. Is attentive in a way that never happens in coach.

I’m the same guy wherever I’m seated. I pay the same fare. I arrive at the same destination. Yet, up front, I have a different experience of air travel. And, it’s exactly what the airline is committed to cause.

I love Mangia Bene, an Italian restaurant my family and I frequent … frequently. 58 MangieThe food is fabulous, affordably priced, and the service is attentive.

One waiter is too attentive.

If the building were on fire I’d want this guy—and only this guy—to get me any my family out!

But, the building’s not burning. Yet, he waits on us as if it is. Dashing from table to kitchen, interrupting to make sure we always have all we want.

When I’m in a rush, I want him. Quick. Efficient. Assiduous.

But, he causes a stressful experience. And, that’s the last thing I want on a gorgeous summer’s night relaxing and connecting with those I love.

What do others experience with you?

Ask them and find out.

 

Coaching distinctions #58.doc