Today’s Saint

Daily Journey with the Saints


March 5 | Coaching

Saint John Joseph of the Cross

A.D. 1654–1734



Nobody achieves excellence at anything without coaching.

You can get good at something just by working hard at it. If you’ve got some talent and you work hard at it, you can get really, really good at it. But excellence, peak performance, being the best you can be at something—that doesn’t happen without coaching.

Saint John Joseph of the Cross was interested in excellence, and he coached many people to excellence in their spiritual lives. How? He followed these ten tips:

1. Be honest. John Joseph told his people the good, the bad, and the ugly, and then reminded them of the good again.

2. Priority. He made his coaching sessions a priority as a leader.

3. Connect. He established genuine relationships with those he mentored and would often work in the kitchens or do menial tasks with the friars.

4. Prepare. Before providing advice, John Joseph made sure he knew how he wanted his students to improve.

5. What and Why. He didn’t just tell his students what to do, but why it was important for their spiritual growth.

6. Ask. John Joseph asked clear-cut questions to teach powerfully and let his students try to propose solutions on their own.

7. Listen. John Joseph was a great listener. He dedicated much of his time to hearing confessions, where he gave powerful spiritual guidance.

8. Feedback. He didn’t let his ego get in the way of inviting feedback of how he was doing and how he could improve.

9. Encouragement. We never outgrow the need to be encouraged. John Joseph never missed opportunities to encourage his fellow Franciscans.

10. Gift. Saint John Joseph of the Cross reminded his students that what they learned in spiritual direction was a gift that would serve them and others for the rest of their lives.

The sad truth is, we don’t think about Catholicism in terms of pursuing excellence. But what could be more important than excellence in the spiritual life? If you don’t already have one, seek out a spiritual director or coach. And the next time you get the opportunity to coach someone yourself, use one of these tips and watch it have an amazing impact.

WHAT IS ONE STEP I CAN TAKE TODAY TOWARD FINDING A SPIRITUAL DIRECTOR OR COACH? HOW WOULD MY SPIRITUAL LIFE CHANGE IF I SAW IT AS A PURSUIT OF EXCELLENCE?

I will pursue excellence in my spiritual life.


This reflection is brought to you from book title.


Patron Saint of: Ischia, Italy

Symbols: Iron Cross

Feast Day: March 5

Feast Day Shared By: Saint Piran, Saint Lucius I, and Saint Adrian

Canonized: May 26, 1839

Canonized By: Pope Gregory XVI

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