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  • Writer's pictureJustin McGee

What We Do: Seminars

Over the next few weeks, we are going to explain our services and why we do them in a series of blog posts.

Today: Seminars

One of my professional mentors was an education professor of mine at the University of Dallas, Dr. Jo Ann Patton. Before she retired a year or two after my graduation, I had the pleasure of taking 3 classes from her.

Dr. Patton was an English teacher for many years in districts throughout the DFW area, and when she retired from the secondary school world, she began teaching at the university level.

When I entered her classroom as a junior in college, I had zero voice as a student. I always viewed my intellect as “less than” others, and I attempted to hide in the back of the classroom behind a smile or a well placed classmate blocking the teacher’s view of my sleepy eyes.

Usually this wasn’t much of an issue for me. Most of my teachers’ method of teaching centered around lectures, so my voice wasn’t needed or valued. I had many teachers who were winsome and compelling in their lectures, so while I never raised my hand, I followed the tenor of their voices wherever or whenever they sung and was glad to be a part of their classes.

There were other teachers, that, well, you know, cause you to dream about the lunch menu, the girl you want to ask out, or the intramural game that evening.

Dr. Patton, though, taught with this beautiful mix of lecture and formal/informal seminars; her knowledge and experience intermixed with our knowledge and experiences. Because she didn’t just speak at me for 3 hours a week, she expected all of her students’ voices to be heard.

Therefore, she refused to let my voice cower in the corner with my uncertainty about myself. In her kind, graceful, and somewhat passive aggressive ways, she would corner me in the hallways after class with her cart full of books and resources, and say in the gentlest way:

“Justin, why didn’t you speak in class today? Is everything ok? At school? At home?”

Me, ashamed by her kindness, responded uncomfortably: “Yes, Dr. Patton, I am doing great. Nothing is wrong.”

With her cart inching ever closer to me, pressing me up against the wall a bit more: “Well, you have so many good things to say. The other students really need to hear your perspective. I really hope you speak up in our next class.”

I would squirm a bit and lift up an embarrassed, “Yes ma'am,” dreading the next class I had with her

But you know what? As the semester moved along, and as I took two more classes by her, Dr. Patton drew out of me a voice I never knew I had. She created an environment in her classroom where her voice was not the only one to be heard, and she valued the voices of her students.

Her encouragement to speak up was not simply about me learning how to communicate in front of a classroom -- while undoubtedly, my experience in her classes prepared me to stand in front of middle schoolers, high schoolers, and adults alike for the last 13 years.

It was more about me learning who I was as an educator and as a human being. Dr. Patton asked purposeful questions in class and invited me to participate in the community of learners. In doing so, she helped draw me out of my shell to understand who God made me to be as a leader of people, and she gave me the confidence to speak it clearly and without fear.

Her methodology to teaching was not primarily didactic; it was an invitation to learn for myself, with her guidance, about who I was to be as an image bearer of the Father. She was the Bob Stoops to my Lincoln Riley; the Beatrice to my Dante.

At Incarnational Coaching, when we lead professional development seminars for coaches, or Incarnational Coaching seminars for parents and the broader community, we model the way of Dr. Patton. We don’t stand up for 3 hours and dispense every jot and tittle of information we have learned over the years, expect you to soak it all in, take a bow, and leave. Yes, there will be moments of lecture, but instead, the lecture is the framework of what it means to be Incarnational as a coach, athletic director, and/or community. We then supplement our words with pointed questions directed toward you to help you realize who God has made you to be and what he is calling you to be in your particular role. These questions are meant for you to not only consider after the seminar, but individually and communally, you will chew on them while we gather together.

The work in our seminars is as much about learning from Incarnational Coaching as it is about learning from yourself, what God is doing in your life, and who he wants you to be. The easy, less effective way of transformation is passive and consumer based. The hard work of formation and development is active -- where you take stock of who you are, and individually and communally wrestle with what it means to Incarnational as a coach in your setting.

We hope to create safe, meaningful spaces where you participate with the work of the Holy Spirit in your life so that you care about what matters most as a Christian coach: being used to transform the entire lives of our athletes and to do so for the glory of God.

We would love an opportunity to talk to you about our Seminars for your coaches and community. Shoot us an email at:, so we can set up a time to chat about how we can serve you as you make evident the way of Jesus in athletics!

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