While I was driving recently the passage in Luke 17 came to mind. Jesus was on a journey walking the border of Samaria and Galilee in areas not normally traveled by the average person. This is revealed in the fact that he encountered ten men with leprosy who had to isolate themselves from the rest of the population due to their illness. It’s interesting to note that Jesus didn’t take the easy, direct path to his destination. The men called to him across the road, “Please Jesus, have mercy on us.” Jesus told them to go to their Priests, a custom necessary to confirm a possible healing, and while they were obediently on their way, they were all miraculously healed. One of the men, a Samaritan, later returned to Jesus to thank him for the healing.
As I was thinking about it I realized this story isn’t just about the need to thank someone who does something nice for us. It’s much deeper than that. The lone man who returned to bow at Jesus’ feet to thank him was told by Jesus that his faith had healed him. This man not only received a physical healing but was transformed spiritually, as well. He experienced a change of heart. The other nine missed out (at least at that moment in time) on a significant encounter with faith.
What happens to us when we express gratitude? *Kent State University conducted a study with some of their students related to expressing gratitude through writing letters to people to convey gratefulness for something specific someone had done for them. Students discovered many positive life changes in both physical health and attitude by writing these letters. The more they engaged in expressing thankfulness, the more positive results they experienced.
I’m wondering what life changes would be experienced by our clients by engaging in an activity like this. Can you imagine the benefits in a family, a friendship, a working environment, or a church?
To test it out, why don’t we as coaches try it? Consider writing one letter of gratefulness to someone for the next four weeks and document what emotions or feedback you experience.
You can read more about the Kent State study here:
By Gary Wood On September 17, 2012 No Comments
Want to know how to be successful?
The answer lies both in setting direction and reaching targets – those outcomes that together inform our ‘what’s next.’ Setting direction is determined, encompassing and influencing all that follows. Reaching targets is highly focused and at its best, feeding into and supportive of the chosen direction and resulting fulfillment and satisfaction.
Some outcomes in life will be the result of circumstances. Life happens. And none of us – individuals or organizations – are resistant to external influences.
Other outcomes will be reached as a result of planning and effort. To say we can always reach any outcome we want may be naive. To say we have no choice and should just let life happen is fatalistic and foolish.
Setting Direction, Reaching Targets
Whether it’s the way we choose to live our lives or run our businesses, or whether its very precise objectives and goals we aim for, setting good outcomes, both general direction and specific objective, is extremely important.
If outcomes are the final product, or the end result of all our dreaming, planning and efforts, then those we set should be the very best they can possibly be. Those outcomes we set for our lives, businesses, ministries or legislatures should be thoughtfully and carefully arrived at. They should be crisp and clear so we can move forward with confidence on those things that are important to us.
Success then, has both directional and achievement elements.
- When you and I have set a certain direction, and we are moving consistently forward in it, we consider that ‘success’. We are where we want to be.
- Similarly, when we set out to reach specific targets or goals … specific destinations, and we achieve those, we consider it a success.
In this vein then, your working definition for success may be – I’m going the direction I have set out to go and I am achieving the specific things I have set out to achieve.
The dictionary defines success as “the favorable or prosperous termination of attempts or endeavors”.
No matter how you define it, think carefully about the outcomes you are aiming for. Define them accurately.
Success is not measured only by achieving specific goals. It is also measured by being true to a way you have chosen and having walked consistently in that way.
We determine on principle that there is a certain way we want to live or a way we want to run our business or conduct the affairs of our nation. To follow through on that is success.
Success can be measured. When it comes to reaching something very specific, it’s simply a case of assessing, “Did we reach it or not?” There will be measurables attached … dollars, pounds, people served, percentage of completion, etc. The measurements are quite objective.
In the case of setting direction, success may be less objective and more subjective. It may be measured more by that satisfaction that comes from having kept true to those principles that defined the journey in the first place. It will often be measured against less tangible and perhaps more emotional, character and principle centered benchmarks.
And while these less tangible benchmarks that bear on the direction an individual or an organization has set may not be as easy to discuss, they are nonetheless equally valid and preeminently important. It can be all too easy to overlook them for the less turbulent waters of discussing specific goals, objectives or targets. It’s much like avoiding the why to discuss only the what and how.
A Word for Christians
For believers, the final word goes to God. Ultimately He determines the definition of “success”, regardless of what we might think it may be. Scripture indicates Joseph was marked with success even as he stood naked in the slave trader’s dock in Egypt. All had been stripped from him. Nothing remained beyond his personal relationship to the living God. He literally had nothing to note physically and yet …
God’s Word says, “The Lord was with Joseph, so he became a successful man.” and “the Lord caused all that he did to prosper in his hand.” “The Lord” then, must be at the heart of our appropriation of Joseph’s life. Minus the Lord, he stood empty. With the Lord he already stood a success.
The extension of this thought is pretty clear. With the Lord, God already sees you and me a success. Whether or not that results in achieving all the accoutrements our culture deems important to being seen as successful does not matter. God has made a determination and it is based on relationship with Him.
It’s important then that relationship with Him be settled as of first priority. Scripture indicates that this is at the heart of “setting direction”. It may not be the only thing, but it is certainly the most critical.
As I train professional coaches in the Clarity Model, we spend a lot of time talking about direction and targets. Direction will to a large extent determine targets. On the flip side, targets will make direction the source of satisfaction it was meant to be. The “what I do” fulfills the “who I am” (or whose I am). The external answers to and fulfils the internal. The “what’s next” is informed from the “what matters”.
This leads to three questions well worth asking yourself or your leadership team.
If that matters, what’s next?
If that’s next, when are you willing to start?
I’d encourage you to take some time to think about the direction your life, business or ministry is taking. Is it on track? Are you on track? Within this larger context … are you achieving, or even consistently working toward the specific targets or goals that really matter? Your answers should be insightful.
Executive Coach, Gary Wood works internationally with leaders, executives and organizations to beat burnout and less stressfully but more effectively move forward significant causes, projects and programs. Gary’s “Clarity Model Training” provides Christian coaches a robust and scripturally referenced suite of tools for helping individuals and organizations with clarity, planning and effective action. Gary’s website is www.gewood.com. For further information on Clarity Training.
By Amena McShea On July 13, 2012 No Comments
Fulfillment in life is related to how well you are living in alignment with your values. Values are not morals or principles. They are the essence of who you are—not who you think you should be. For instance, money is not a value, whereas the things that money might buy, such as free time, risk-taking, and being of service are values. When you’re aligned with your values, you feel inner harmony, your choices are more easily made, and your actions are in accord with your true self. Take this quiz to see how well you are living in sync with your values.
1. I have spent time clarifying my values and can easily articulate them.
2. My values are my own. I have not simply adopted them from parents, teachers or other outside influences.
3. I based my choice of occupation on my deepest values.
4. My values are in alignment with the company I work for (or own).
5. My business associates and I regularly examine how we are living up to our values and mission.
6. I turn down money-making or status-building opportunities when they conflict with my values.
7. In resolving disputes at work, I look beneath the apparent problem to see if values are being dishonored, and then I seek ways to honor them.
8. Anyone looking at my life from the outside would see what I value.
9. I use my values as a guidepost for making decisions. I ask if a particular choice would bring me closer to—or further from—a core value.
10. When I feel upset, it’s almost always because my values are being trampled—either by me, someone else, or the situation.
11. I am not easily swayed by others’ opinions when they conflict with my values.
12. To remain open and flexible, I am willing to re-examine my values to determine whether something is still true for me.
13. I find creative ways to honor all of my values—even when they conflict with one another.
14. My work values are in harmony with my personal and relationship values.
15. If I live according to my values, I will feel satisfied and successful throughout my life.
If you answered false more often than true, you may wish to clarify your deepest values and bring your life into greater alignment with them.
Amena McShea, M.A., BCC
Dream It – Create It – Achieve It
By Pastor Sherry On June 6, 2012 No Comments
How do you feel when you come into a crisis, pray for a solution, but a solution doesn’t come so the crisis escalates until it is much worse? Does it seem that God walked away and forgotten to look back?
Sometimes it may feel like that. Recently it’s felt like that for me, bringing new meaning to the old adage, “When it rains, it pours.” But God spoke to me through a bird – or rather, several of them (rather fitting for a birder!).
This is the season of year when bird activity increases. Just this week I’ve watched families of House Sparrows, Robins, and House Finches. One can’t miss them with all the baby chatter, which so obviously screams, “Feed me! Feed me!”
Babies follow their parents around to the point of distraction. Where Mom/Dad fly, Baby flies. Where Mom/Dad hop, Baby hops. It’s a kind of “in-your-face” thing where Baby squawks and wing-flaps frantically to get attention in order to be fed. The parents occasionally poke something into Baby’s beak, but mostly they feed for themselves, teaching Baby by example how to get his own. I even see the parents turning on the youngster and pecking him/her away until Baby gets the idea to look for his/her own food. It may seem downright mean of the parent bird to peck their child away. But if they didn’t, Baby would never learn to find his/her own food.
Scripture tells us that our spiritual life must grow (Ephesians 4:14,15, Hebrews 5:12-14, 1 Peter 2:2…). Only, this growth at first appears to be backwards. While Baby Bird learns to do things on his/her own, God wants us to grow up into a trust in Him that depends solely on God for everything in life.
In a life crisis that means that we learn to lay aside the worry, fear, unbelief, and distrust, and approach the situation with calmness, having confidence that we are still in God’s hands and He has everything under control even when it doesn’t feel like it. I can testify that this isn’t easy! But it’s possible.
James 1:2-4 says, “My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience (steadfast endurance). But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect (mature) and complete, lacking nothing.”
Just as a parent bird will push its young away so they can learn to feed on their own, we may be allowed to go through a crisis in order to grow us to the next level of relationship with God, so that we can come closer to spiritual maturity.
How can we go through these kinds of trials intact? Here are a few starter suggestions:
1. Choose to maintain your connection with God. Even if at first your daily worships seem to be all tears and complaints, don’t stop coming to Him! Do include reading the Bible, though. It gives God a chance to speak to you.
2. Choose to arrange your life during the crisis so that staying connected with God is first priority. That means different things for different people. You may spend more time playing hymns on the piano, or singing praise songs on the way to work, or sitting by a river for a few minutes on your way home to commune with God, or taking time to prayer-walk. It can also mean getting more sleep. Whatever it takes, do it.
3. Choose to praise and thank God. That’s tough. But it is a choice. Find things you are truly thankful for – Jesus, for instance, and His sacrifice that made possible a future life for us with no suffering.
4. Choose to lay the situation down at the feet of Jesus – and leave it there. Even if your loved one dies, you go bankrupt, it feels like your purpose in life has been taken away, choose to surrender it to God and be ok with whatever happens.
Easy? Hardly! But if you want to come out of a crisis intact and more mature, these choices are foundational to anything else you do.
Pastor Sherry Manison
Spiritual Development Coaching
Reach for the Summit
By Doug Poll On December 29, 2011 No Comments
Doug Poll-Results Coach
As 2012 looks us square in the face, we are challenged with many obstacles as leaders in both our personal and professional lives. In their classic book, “The Leadership Challenge,” James Kouzes and Barry Posner encourage us to look back before looking ahead. They write when we first gaze into our past, we elongate our future. We enrich our future and give it details as we recall the richness of our past experiences.
With that in mind, here’s a brief look at leadership lessons I learned in 2011 and a focused approach for 2012.
- Do the hard thing. What does that look like for you? Switching jobs, firing a “C” player on your team, setting new boundaries with relationships that drain you, or maybe pressing the reset button on your marriage? I did several of the aforementioned and started my own company in 2011 during an economic recession in Southwest Florida and also made some necessary, but difficult decisions in my marriage to win back my wife.
- Be accountable and teachable. One of the traps we fall into as leaders is the tendency to lose our ability to listen and receive instruction. We are looked to for the answers. Be the decision-makers. That’s how we’re wired. I have chosen to surround myself with several men who I’ve given permission to speak into my life both personally and professionally when they see things I am missing. It has helped me immensely in making decisions about business, marriage and family issues, spiritual matters and the like.
- Learn to connect with your family. Yes, I know the saying that our families need our “quality time.” I have learned this year that really means connect with my kids and my wife in the way they desire. With 4 kids, that becomes a difficult charge! I bring them on errands with me, turn off the laptop (fill in the media device here) to be present with them, laugh with them and listen to them. I took my 15-year-old son out for lunch during school on a workday which shocked him. I simply asked, “Are you happy?” It opened up a bright and colorful conversation and after 20 minutes we had truly connected. Try it with your family!
So, what’s ahead in 2012? Start with what matters most to you. What are your values? Mine are Family, God’s will, Hope, Accomplishment and Purpose. Next, plan to step away from the daily grind of emails, phone calls, financials, troubleshooting problems and find a place to think, pray, reflect and write. Start with 2-3 hours and work your way up to half or full days away. I will typically sense a word or two that becomes a theme for my upcoming year like Serve, Purpose or Focus. This coming year the word is Growth. The key is solitude-get away to reflect back and plan ahead. All the best in 2012!
Doug Poll is a Certified Professional Life Coach (CPLC) at his company called The Doug Poll Group. They specialize in coaching executives and leaders and also work with non-profit clients helping them raise money through a unique turn-key golf marathon event. He can be reached at email@example.com or on his LinkedIn profile as well.
By CoachTheresa On May 25, 2011 1 Comment
Christian coaching is a calling, but having a calling does not guarantee it is going to be easy. When we face trials and obstacles, we will fare better if we remember to persevere.
I cannot remember how many times I have wondered if I should be spending so much time, effort and money on building a coaching practice that is not yet generating the number of coaching clients I would like to have. When I turn to look back, however, I can see God’s hands laying down the stepping stones for my journey. Here I would like to share a few habits that have empowered me to persevere and keep moving forward from one stepping stone to the next.
1. Remember that Rome was not built in one day. I recite this as my mantra everyday to encourage me to keep going.
2. Celebrate successes each week, no matter how small. Did your client have an insight? Did you have an opportunity to talk to someone about the benefits of coaching? Did someone get help from an article you wrote?
3. Guard your heart from envy and jealousy. It is too tempting to look at coaches who have been in the profession for more years and envy them. Even to them, Rome was not built in one day.
4. Come boldly to the throne of God and present requests for your coaching. If God has called you, he will be the one to bring the people. Don’t be shy! Just ask.
5. Take note of how God is transforming you personally in the meantime. Ultimately, God is the Divine Coach who wants to do a work of transformation in us. I am beginning to see myself as an entrepreneur after almost two years of kicking and screaming. I have finally completed the manuscript for a book for one of the market niches I feel passionate about – after having pushed writing to the very bottom of my priority list for many years – and did this project in just a few short months. These were the successes I have been able to see as I followed his leading to step onto those stepping stones to persevere on my journey.
Ultimately, we have to stand on God’s call, walk by faith, and ask the Holy Spirit to give us eyes to see those small steps. Yesterday, I heard a Christian woman who has been speaking all over the country for about ten years. Her first audience was a small group of three church women. She began as a very nervous speaker and continued to be until about two years ago. Today, she speaks to hundreds in the audience and has a track record of about a hundred speaking engagements. She has travelled so far in the ten years because she stood on her sense of call, saw the first stepping stone God placed in front of her, and persevered.
What obstacles do you face as you move forward with your coaching? What habits or actions have you found to be helpful to overcome these obstacles? What do you do to preserve your sense of call and to persevere?
Soar by Design Coaching
Theresa is a Christian Coaches Network member.