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Coaching Presence – What’s It All About?

By Admin On February 3, 2017 No Comments

Most of us remember with fondness those teachers who made a positive impact on us (and maybe more teachers who didn’t!). For me in Year 11, it was my Science teacher who encouraged me to keep going after an epic fail in my Geology mock exam. His teaching style, different than most at that time, was discovery oriented and coupled with his belief in my ability to succeed, encouraged me to persevere. He wrote the most humane and encouraging end of year report of all time, securing my loyalty and determination. He was also rather cool and drove a smart, racing green sports car!

Later, whilst in a challenging role as Head of Science in an overseas school, my new Head Teacher noted my struggle, recognised elements of self-doubt and issued me an open invitation: visit and talk anytime Lisa, my door is open always. Really. And it was. And I did. She had a presence and way of being which was unique. She wasn’t a dynamic speaker, she didn’t have a vibrant, extrovert personality and she wasn’t cool or hip: instead she was genuine to the core, with an authentic way of being treating everyone as people of intrinsic worth, dignity and value.

teacherWhat is it about such educators that leads to this positive and lasting impact?  Many appear to have some of the qualities Goleman refers to as emotional intelligence: empathy, communication and self-control.

They usually prefer to be the catalyst in others’ lives and often have that precious and rare attribute humility which is evocative and powerful to move others forward. There’s a high degree of respect for each person, of affirming others contributions and of desiring to unlock potential.

The International Coach Federation’s (ICF) coaching competency Coaching Presence highlights these people as “being fully conscious and creating spontaneous relationships… employing a style that is open, flexible and confident” and which Carl Rogers refers to as a “way of being” of the coach. Whilst trusting the coaching process and regarding the coachee as creative, resourceful and whole are crucial components of good coaching, “presence” and a “way of being” of the coach can be more effective in moving people towards their goals.

And then of course we know the wonderful presence of Emmanuel: God with us. As believers in Christ, led by the Holy Spirit, we are full of His Presence and bring Him to our coaching interactions. Leaning into Him we can discern His direction and pray for our clients. In His presence is fullness of joy!

As a Mentor Coach to new coaches I often say: stop doing coaching and start being a coach. It’s hard to explain the difference but once experienced it’s a way of growing ourselves and our coachees too. So, is this presence taught or caught? Is it learned or innate? Some coaches have that natural ability to ‘be’ a coach rather than ‘do’ coaching more than others. Regardless, it is an attribute worth spending time on developing and as teacher coaches we have opportunities to explore more and ask ourselves:

  • How can we learn from those coaches who have this coaching presence or way of being?
  • How might it promote coaching interventions in our schools?
  • What can we do to better to understand how we are perceived by others?
  • How might you bring His presence more fully into your coaching conversations?
  • What might God be asking of you as a coach this year?

Lisa’s Challenge: What is one thing you can do this week to move into a place of being rather than doing coaching in your organisation?

Lisa Face, Christian CoachAbout the Author – Lisa Face of Lisa Face Coaching: Lisa’s coaching services include: professional coach training, leadership and career transition support via workshops, group coaching and one to one coaching. She is an ICF Certified Coach specialising in Christian Life and Leadership Coaching and a Board Director with UK ICF. Her heart is to use coaching to support leaders and professionals across diverse sectors, including Christian leaders, to equip them to lead and serve from a solid foundation and in so doing help grow the kingdom of God through their workplace ministries.
Learn more www.lisaface.com or email:lisafacecoach@gmail.com

REFERENCES: Core Competencies, https://coachfederation.org/files/FileDownloads/CoreCompetencies.pdf
Rogers, C (1995) A Way of Being, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt 1995 (reprint 1980)



Helping Our Clients Find God’s Purpose: ICF Competency #8 Creating Awareness

By Admin On February 3, 2017 No Comments

Creating Awareness—Ability to integrate and accurately evaluate multiple sources of information and to make interpretations that help the client to gain awareness and thereby achieve agreed-upon results. (ICF Competencies)

One of the things I like most about being a Christian coach is the freedom to apply our faith within our coaching.  I prefer to view the world through the lens of Scripture.  I especially enjoy thinking of how the ICF competencies align with my Biblical worldview.  One way that I explore how that is possible is to do word study around the keywords of each competency.

In this brief article I will share some thoughts I gleaned about creating awareness.

Creating made me think of a key verse for Christian coaches, Eph 2:10 NKJV.

“For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.”

This verse reminds me that each individual is uniquely created by God, our Creator.  We are his workmanship.  The New Living Translation translates that phrase as, “For we are God’s masterpiece.”  What can we do to help our clients think of themselves in that new light?

It is also clear that each of us is created for a purpose; good works that God made ready for us to accomplish.  As this thought rolled around in my brain, the Holy Spirit stirred up questions,

What are those good works that are prepared for me?  How will I accomplish them?  What are the ways God created me to do this?”

This questioning marks the beginning of a desire to become aware of our God-given talents, abilities, strengths, experiences and the important way God has planned our walk!  As a Christian coach, I want to fan that desire to become aware.  I want to be a partner and help clients fulfill their unique calling.

When I looked up the word translated aware and how it is used in the Bible, I focused mainly on the New Testament usage.  Depending on your favorite translation and verse, that word is usually ginosko in the Greek.  Here’s a challenge to you… drill down in Strong’s and Vine’s New Testament Words and plumb the depth of meaning around that word ginosko.

I found several verses which show how Jesus was aware of His surroundings and even the thoughts and intentions of others.  Wow!  Help clients become more aware of the world and people around them as that can lead to greater insights, growth, and impact.  Believers must strive to be like Christ and He was aware!

In your private devotional times, in this coming year, I want to encourage you to work through the ICF Competencies.  Take on one per month, ponder the words and apply a Biblical worldview.  Find Scripture with the help of the Holy Spirit and your favorite online tools and apps!  See what God shows you about how to inspire your clients with encouragement and edifying Christian coaching as you apply your faith to your sessions.  Enjoy the journey!

Kelly E. McClellandAbout the Author: Kelly E. McClelland is the current president of the Christian Coaches Network International.  In November 2010, Kelly launched Transition Time Coach, LLC  based in Orlando, Florida. There he focuses on helping missionaries, ministers and ministry staffers navigate life and career transitions. His passion is helping believers discover who God created them to be so they can live out their unique calling and purpose with the help of the Holy Spirit. Kelly is a Certified Career Management Coach, Certified Tough Transition Coach, and Certified Job Search Strategist.



Be Salt, Christian Coach

By Admin On January 9, 2017 No Comments

Matthew 5:13 (NIV) “You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot.”

Salt of the earth

Did you know that Sodium Chloride (NaCl) is found in every cell of the human body? Literally salt is part of you. Jesus said “You are the salt of the earth.”  There is no should, could, or ought. It is a state of being; a description of your Christianity if you will.

You can have more salt than your body needs for about three dollars per year. However, at the time of Jesus, salt was a precious commodity. A Roman soldier was often paid in salt. The Latin word is sal, which is the basis for the English word salary.  A legionnaire who was not performing all his duties was said to not be worth his salt. A popular saying among the Romans at the time was “Nil sole et sale utilius.” There is nothing more useful than sun (i.e. light) and salt.

Salt is a stable compound. NaCl does not lose its saltiness over time. The only way salt becomes less salty is when it becomes contaminated with impurities. In Israel at the time of Jesus, a lot of the usable salt came from the Dead Sea, also known as the Salt Sea. In places where the NaCl became mixed with impurities, the salt became useless. It still looked like salt, but lacked the flavor. Such look-alike salt was thrown on the pathways to harden the ground and rid the walkways of weeds. It was also applied to gypsum flooring to harden it, thus keeping it from flaking or chipping.

Good ethics is like salt. It adds to the possibilities, it makes things more palatable, and it stings open wounds.

What are some ways to lose one’s salt?

  • Staying silent when we should speak up
  • Going with the flow, instead of making a stand
  • Ignoring the needs of others

Be salt, Christian coach.

About the author: Michael J. Marx, EdD is the Founder of Blazing New Trails Coaching. He is a sought-after business and life coach for those who want to explore new directions. Michael’s purpose is to be a catalyst and his greatest joy is seeing people move from having a stalled life to a dynamic one. Michael holds the Professional Certified Coach credential (ICF), the Professional Certified Christian Coach credential (CCNI) as well as being a Certified Professional Life Coach (PCCI). He brings more than two decades of experience in teaching, coaching, and mentoring in an international arena. Michael is also the current president of the Christian Coaches Network International and serves as the leader of the International Coaching Federation (ICF) Ethics Community of Practice. In 2016 he published his book, Ethics and Risk Management for Christian Coaches. He lives at 8162 feet in the mountains of Colorado with his wife Joy and a dozen sled dogs.



What Do You Want For Your Faith in 2017?

By Admin On January 9, 2017 No Comments

Happy New Year 2017
A new year is upon us and many of us are creating business and marketing plans for the year.  Some of you may not be “into” creating these documents but, hopefully, you are thinking about them.

It is important to decide what you want from 2017.  What you want for your business.  What you want for your family.  What you want for your life.  What you want may be exciting, overwhelming, or downright scary.  In fact, it may seem to you that these “wants” are all three!

However, this is not what this article is about.  Far from it.

Rather, the question is how much time have you spent creating or thinking about what you want FOR YOUR FAITH this year?  Has your Bible study come to a standstill?  Have you stopped helping out at church because you just can’t seem to find the time?  Is your prayer life faltering?

I want to pray more in 2017.

You’re not alone.  So many people become so absorbed and fixated on their businesses, personal challenges, and the chaos of daily life that their faith begins to suffer . . . and sometimes they don’t even realize it.

It’s time to take stock of what is happening in your Christian walk.  To ask yourself, what do I really want for my faith this year?  What can I do this year to strengthen and revitalize my faith?  In what areas do I need to concentrate?

If you haven’t been thinking about these things, maybe it’s time to sit down and quietly contemplate your relationship with the Lord.  If you do, maybe the Holy Spirit will help you out with a few suggestions.

What DO you want for your faith this year?

Melodee ClaassenAbout the Author: Melodee Claassen After the death of her husband, Melodee was a bit adrift until the Holy Spirit prompted her to “look into” this thing called life coaching. Wondering if life coaching would be a fit for working with other widows and widowers who had lost spouses, she was pleasantly surprised to find that life coaching would indeed be a wonderful conduit for working with those who had suffered a great loss. Melodee is now a Certified Christian Grief Coach (CCGC) and works mainly with Christian baby boomers who are grieving. Melodee also supports Christian coaches in her position as Operations Manager for Christian Coaches Network International (CCNI).



New Pricing Change for the Christian Coaches Network Intl Events

By Admin On December 9, 2016 No Comments

CCNI Events Pricing Change, Effective January 1, 2017

As of January 1, 2017, CCNI is changing the pricing associated with its monthly events.  These will still be FREE for members, but the continuing education certificate fee will be $20 for the events approved by CCNI, ICF, or CCE-Global for continuing education units.  Non-members will pay $30 to attend a monthly event and the certificate fee for each event will be $20 for events approved for continuing education units.

CCNI

If you are a member and are unable to attend an event, rest assured that you will be able to view the recording in the Members’ Only area of the CCNI website.  If you are not a member, please be sure that you will be able to attend the event as you will not be able to view the recording and there is no refund of fees paid.

Also, we will soon offer a “replay” opportunity for obtaining continuing education units for CCNI members.  This means that if you are a CCNI member and are unable to attend an event, you will view the recording and complete a brief quiz.  Once graded, you can receive your certificate for the event.  Please note that not all events are approved by ICF or CCE-Global for continuing education units.  Be sure to check the event listing to determine if continuing education units apply.

Begin your Christian coaching career with CCNI

If you are a non-member, please note that it is much more beneficial and cost efficient to become a CCNI member, rather than paying for individual events.  For the cost of the Professional Membership (equivalent to two monthly events for non-members), you can become a CCNI member and attend all monthly events for FREE.  This is a great way to increase your coaching skills, learn ways to build your coaching business, and work toward your credential renewal requirements for CCNI, ICF, or CCE-Global.  As a CCNI member, you are also able to attend monthly mastermind groups at no cost.  Where else can you do this?

To become a member, please complete the application and pay the annual fee of $99, plus a one-time administration fee of $40.

To learn more, please contact Melodee Claassen, CCNI Operations Manager.



Listening Heart to Heart

By Admin On December 9, 2016 No Comments

One of our main functions as a life coach is to listen to our clients.  But listening is about a lot more than just hearing what someone is saying.

Listening Heart to Heart in Coaching

To truly listen, one must listen with their heart, not just their ears.  And listen for the speaker’s heart, not just their words.  Which is why “active listening” is one of the International Coaching Federation (ICF)’s Professional Coaching Core Competencies.  In order to be considered competent in this area, a coach must be able to focus not only on what the client is saying, but also on what they are not saying.  That means interpreting their body language and tone of voice, as well as the feelings, perceptions and beliefs behind their words.

The coaching relationship is co-equal and co-active, and while 80% of the talking that means 80% of the listening is by the coach!  So, in the 20% of the conversation, the coach is affirming our client, summarizing, paraphrasing, and mirroring back what our client is saying.  We do this to support our client’s journey into a deeper awareness.  After all, it is all about the client.

As coaches, it is also our job to help the clients get to the “bottom line.”  By listening to the feelings and the beliefs behind the words, you can help your client sort through a lot of ideas and thoughts and narrow them down to the heart of the matter.

But perhaps the most important part of active listening is to help our clients make progress.  By listening to what the client is saying, as well as the meaning of what they’re saying in relation to their overall goals, we can help them to stay on track with their own goals and agenda, not ours.

Active listening is not just our responsibility as a life coach though.  It is also our responsibility as believers.

If one gives an answer before he hears, it is his folly and shame.”  -Proverbs 18:13
So, next time you are in session with a client, make sure you’re not just hearing them… make sure you are actually listening.

How do you know when you are actively listening to your client heart-to-heart?

Janice LaVore-Fletcher, PCC, CPCC, CMC is Founder and President of Christian Coach Institute and has a passion for helping coaches become confident, competent, and courageous coaches who are well prepared to step out boldly to do the work they feel GOD is calling them to do.  She is the Master Coach Trainer and her Certified Professional Life Coach course is accredited by ICF for 80 ICF Coach Specific Training hours and includes 5 ICF Group Mentor Hours.  Janice is also a Certified Mentor Coach, a Gallup Certified Strengths Coach and a commissioned Stephen Minister.  She shares years of knowledge and experience with her students.  Learn more about courses offered at www.ChristianCoachInstitute.com.



What is Christian Coaching…exactly?

By Admin On November 4, 2016 No Comments

I’m often asked this question. Twice this week in fact! The last time from Margaret Austin who kindly stopped by my table for a friendly chat as I was having a ‘cuppa’ in the church café last week.  

When YOU think of the word ‘coaching’ or ‘coach’ what springs to mind? A sport’s coach, a counsellor or a mentor of some kind? Or maybe you think of an advisor, a teacher or a consultant? Unless you’ve been coached yourself you might be wondering what coaching is all about and if it’s of any value to you. Coaching is a profession in the same way teaching is one, yet it’s hard to define clearly and often confused with other support systems such as consulting and mentoring. The International Coach Federation (ICF) defines coaching as:

“Partnering with clients in a thought-provoking and creative process that inspires them to maximize their personal and professional potential, which is particularly important in today’s uncertain and complex environment.

Well that being said, what does it really mean? Whilst I’ve highlighted the key words in the ICF’s definition above, I hope my humorous bicycle analogy might give you a clearer picture. Feel free to contact me (lisa@lisaface.com) to let me know either way!

Riding a bike

Imagine you want to learn to ride a bicycle and you want to compare the roles of five professionals: a consultant, a teacher, a therapist, a mentor and a coach. I’ve described briefly how each role might approach your challenge:

The Consultant (or Adviser) gives you the benefit of her expertise and experience. She determines which bike suits you best, creates a smart report with step-by-step instructions on how to ride the bike correctly and tells you which actions to do to improve your performance. In contrast a Coach won’t advise you.

The Teacher (or Instructor) tells you how your bike works and the importance of bike and road safety. He tells you how to ride your bike and how to solve problems such as mending punctures:  a Coach won’t try to solve your problems.

The Therapist or Counsellor asks you: what are your past experiences of bike riding and why have chosen this particular bicycle? Have you fallen off a bike in the past and if so how did it make you feel? He helps you evaluate the past with the aim of ‘healing’ taking place:  a Coach won’t try to ‘heal’ you.

A Mentor takes your bicycle, shares his experience and he shows you how to ride it the same way they learned how to ride their bike. They then ride their own bike alongside you, telling you what to do and informing you when you’re doing it “wrong” and telling you how to do it correctly:  a Coach doesn’t share her experiences.  

So what does a Coach do? A Coach doesn’t talk too much or try to fix your problem. In keeping with the bike analogy, she encourages you to get on your bike, run alongside as YOU determine the best way for you to learn to ride, check with you the direction in which you want to go (or when you want to get off!) and remind you to consider options such as varying your speed or admiring the view. Her firm yet gentle hand on your back reminds you to focus forward in the direction you’re going and not to look back. You get to take it at your own pace and to choose your direction.

Proverbs 20.5

This bike analogy doesn’t hold 100% true but hopefully you have a clearer picture. Proverbs 20:5 describes coaching far more succinctly than I have here: “Counsel in the heart of a man is like deep water but a man (or woman!) will draw it out”. Nicely said – 3000 years ago!

And as for the Christian piece: this is the exciting part of coaching for me! The Holy Spirit is part of the relationship and He is invited into the conversation. As we meet there’s a three-way partnership between Coach, Client and the Holy Spirit. Practically it may take the form of praying at the beginning of the coaching conversation, referencing Scripture to support the topic or challenge being discussed or spending time on a particular Scripture verse. When a client reflects on a question or a verse, I ask the Holy Spirit to help that person to see what He would have them see, learn, think or where to take action. It’s been my experience both as a professional coach and being coached myself that rather than giving advice, asking questions and ‘staying in the question’ longer, draws out what the Holy Spirit has put in.

Jesus says to us today: “Follow me”: like the early disciples, you never quite know where He will take you, a bit like getting onto a train headed for ‘Destination Unknown’! Thankfully He does know and as we become more confident to “walk by faith and not by sight”, we grow in trusting Him to take us there safely even if the journey is bumpy along the way. Coaching, simply put, supports you on that journey.

Coaching Christian Leaders: It’s my experience, that many Christian leaders, entrepreneurs, teachers, vicars, doctors, church leaders, business owners for example, often feel unprepared for the shifting landscape in today’s world. They find themselves poorly equipped to lead others from a place of confidence and competence, doubt their ability or their calling and become discouraged. As one of my clients, a business director, said at the beginning of her coaching journey: I feel overwhelmed, overworked, isolated and alone and wondering how to lead others better. I’m just looking for some hope that it’ll get better. It did!

Some final questions to share: God called me to be a Coach, what might He be calling YOU to do? What does it mean for you to HOLD TRUE to your faith amidst challenges in this fast moving and uncertain world we face?  What might God be stirring in your heart as we approach the last quarter of 2016?

Lisa Face, Christian CoachAbout the Author – Lisa Face of Lisa Face Coaching: Lisa’s coaching services include: professional coach training, leadership and career transition support via workshops, group coaching and one to one coaching. She is an ICF Certified Coach specialising in Christian Life and Leadership Coaching. Her heart is for Christian leaders wanting to re-ignite their love for Jesus Christ, to equip them to lead and serve from a solid foundation and in so doing help grow the kingdom of God through their workplace ministries.

Please call for a no-obligation chat on 01984 248259 to learn more.

Personal note: Lisa moved to Wiveliscombe in April of this year, via Dubai in the Middle East. She attends St Andrews in ‘Wivey’, loves living in “glorious Somerset” and is learning all about driving behind tractors on narrow lanes!



A Coach’s Drive

By Admin On November 4, 2016 No Comments

With the theme of this edition being “Count Your Blessings”, let’s begin with a moment of self-revelation. One of the things for which I am most grateful, and feel most blessed to have as a part of my wiring, is that I am very motivated to coach & teach others to coach. Getting out of bed every day to pursue this calling is rarely a challenge. In fact, I feel like coaching is one of the reasons why God put me on earth.

But I realize that clarity of calling and an internal motivation in life is not something that everyone has. So with an orientation toward building awareness of our blessings, let’s explore what motivates people to do what they do on a day in day out basis. We can understand ourselves, our clients and our prospective clients much more clearly, and as a result, coach more effectively.

A Coach's Drive Motivate ClientsOne of the most challenging coaching situations is when a client admits their motivation is flagging. It’s natural to question the coaching agreement in these moments, and it will even get me to evaluate whether I should be coaching this person at all. It’s hard not to wonder about a client’s commitment–maybe even honesty–when this situation comes up.

We’ve all been there, facing the client…and wondering “I just don’t know if I can help this person…” What’s the coach to do?

In his excellent book Drive (Riverhead Books:  2011, New York), Daniel Pink describes the three main sources of motivation universal to every human being. Understanding these will make you more effective as a coach, especially in those situations where the client might sense their own motivation flagging.

The first drive is simply the drive for survival. People naturally do what it takes to stay alive. You’ve probably seen the Hierarchy of Needs. Abraham Maslow captured the basic things we must find, or else or survival is not a given. The search for shelter, food and safety provide plenty of energy to get things done.

Coaching a client in a survival situation can be tricky, as crisis can sometimes cloud our assessment of the situation and create deception urgency in our brains. If you’re working with someone on a survival issue, first assess the level of crisis and then help the client determine whether their perception of the situation is 100% accurate.

The second drive is minimizing the amount of pain we face, and the converse, maximizing pleasure. No matter who you are or what circumstance you’re facing, a person is more motivated to do something that they enjoy than something they dislike. When I look at my own life, I can see this pattern played out consistently.

As coaches, we can capitalize on both sides of this drive. Coaching someone towards survival is a pretty clear-cut task. AND coaching someone to choose things that they enjoy doing is a great strategy. We are naturally inclined to spend more time, energy and effort doing things that give us satisfaction. Choosing pleasurable activities over painful ones is a pretty effective (and easy-to-understand) coaching strategy.

The third Drive is not present in every human. When you find it, you’ve got an ideal coaching client. Some people’s make up won’t let them rest until they take on (and solve) difficult challenges. It’s intrinsic, and really not connected to anything external. If a client has this built in self motivation, they are more likely to grow, change, accomplish great tasks, and most importantly, be coachable.

The truth is, not every client has internal motivation enough to really overcome the challenge they’re taking on. The ideal client comes into the coaching conversation with plenty of motivation to accomplish things just out of their reach.

One of the keys to my coaching practice is to identify clients with this third drive BEFORE the coaching relationship begins. You can use informational conversation to take a snapshot of your client’s commitment to change. You might ask intake questions like “What is a story about a time in your life when you’ve changed?” or “What’s the biggest challenge you’ve ever taken on (and conquered)?” Even “Who has been the most help to you in accomplishing your vision/dreams?” All of these questions point to that internal motivation that a client has to have to both make meaningful progress and be ideally coachable.

Don’t forget:  If your client isn’t changing, you’re probably not coaching. At the very least you’re not coaching very well.

It’s not always the coach’s fault if the client doesn’t change, but there are things you can do to adjust your coaching style. I try to ask powerful questions in as direct-but-still-supportive way as possible. The target is to assess whether we’re going to get to the client’s outcome. Facing the possibility that the client may not achieve their goal is a hard coaching reality that only transparency and authenticity can address.

It’s a moment of a high vulnerability when a client is able to admit, “I just don’t think I’m committed enough to make this happen.” The ethical thing to do in that situation is to give the client an opportunity to wrap up the coaching relationship. Or renegotiate the coaching agreement to something that may be in reach.

But there’s one other crucial factor, and it’s one of the biggest blessings we all share. I would submit to you that there is a fourth motivation, that Mr. Pink does not cover in his book. This fourth drive separates coaches from the rest of the general population. Coaches are equally motivated to see themselves solve challenges and make progress, but to also see other people move forward towards their goals, their vision, their dreams, and even the thing that Jesus called them to accomplish.

What is it that you are most passionate about helping others achieve? That answer is an indication that you might be blessed with this fourth Drive. This is a beautiful gift that coaches offer to the world. Think about the people from your coach training or other coaches you know. I bet you were surrounded by generous individuals that wanted to see the purpose that Jesus had for someone else come to be a reality. The coach’s drive to help other people develop is what separates us from every other profession. Leverage that. Offer it to other people. Make it a strength of your coaching. Above all, steward it. It’s a powerful gift that makes the world all around us a better place.

This fourth drive is one of the things I am routinely grateful for when I’m with a group of coaches. This drive to help others live out their dreams is an unique identifier of someone who is born to coach. Using that drive is an unique identifier of someone who is coaching as a part of their calling.

Can you learn this drive? I think you can learn skills that supplement this drive but in my experience, this is an ability that you either have or you don’t. It’s God-given. If you’ve got it, well, you’re very privileged.

So tomorrow morning when you wake up, ask yourself who can I help today? What generous posture can I take on in my coaching conversations? And how will I know that my clients are living into their dreams?

Being able to consistently offer this gift to other people is a hallmark of a masterful coach. And that is a blessing I want to count every single day.

About the Author: Jonathan Reitz, Director of Training/CEO of  CoachNet Global. He is also CoachNet’s primary trainer and the author of most of the training options that CoachNet offers. Jonathan is a member of the Cleveland, Ohio chapter of the International Coach Federation and holds the Professional Certified Coach credential in the ICF.



“New” Can Get In the Way Of Making A Difference

By Admin On October 4, 2016 No Comments

I like new. New ideas. New projects. Learning new skills. As a society, the United States prefers new too. Sometimes, however, new can get in the way of making a difference.

Hand writing the text: Whats New?

There are a number of leaders I connect with only a couple times a year. As we meet and catch up I hear about their latest effort, which usually includes a vision, logo, and website. It could be a new product, service, or ministry effort, and they are excited about the possibilities. Me, too, as I listen to them!

The next time I meet up with them I ask about their project. Often the response I hear is, “Oh that. Yeah, we didn’t move forward on that. What we’re working on now is much more exciting,” and they tell of their new effort, which includes another new vision, new logo, and new website.

Casting vision is exciting, safe, and relatively easy. Actually implementing that vision is difficult. Implementation faces obstacles, not the least of which is our own boredom. The fleeting thrill of the new, and boredom of the old, is the curse of solo practitioners like coaches. We have a lot of autonomy and so we can flit from one idea to the next without accountability. 

You need more than ideas, vision statements, logos, and websites to make a difference. You’ve got to implement and keep implementing.

How Sting and Stevie Wonder Make A Difference

Not long ago, I was looking for a duet Sting and Stevie Wonder did together of Fragile. So, I Googled it. What I found was videos of each of them singing their popular songs again, and again, and again over 50 years! They’ve each recorded new songs along the way, but Sting sings Roxanne at every concert. Stevie sings I Just Called To Say I Love You, a song he recorded in 1984. We all want to hear these songs! 

These two artists have made a difference in our lives because they sing their songs again, and again, and again.

For 10 years, I’ve been teaching and writing on how to coach. It’s a topic that still very much excites me. I must have taught some of my courses 100 times. I’ve revised them over the years, and the impact on participants seems to only be increasing. Still. Even with all these great results I want to do something new. I hear a subtle message from society around me that if it isn’t new, then I’m somehow inauthentic, living in the past, and not relevant. 

In the Bible, James tells us how to make a difference. He writes, “You see that his faith and his actions were working together, and his faith was made complete by what he did” (2:22 NIV). I’m thinking of “faith” as including the calling and gifting we’ve received from the Lord. Just to hold it, talk about it, but not do it is not enough. 

To make a difference you have to implement again, and again, and again. That’s living out your faith. That’s putting your vision into action. You may have to do it a dozen times before you see the impact you hope for. One thing is for sure: unless you implement you’ll never make a difference.

Don’t let the excitement of “new” distract you from making a difference.

About the author:Keith Webb Keith E. Webb, DMin, PCC is author, speaker, and consultant specializing in leadership development. He is the founder of Creative Results Management, a global training organization focused on helping ministry leaders multiply their impact. For 20 years, Keith lived in Japan, Indonesia, and Singapore where he designed and delivered leadership development programs to leaders around the world.

He is the author of The Reflective Journal for CoachesCoaching in Ministry, and The COACH Model for Christian Leaders. Keith is the immediate past-President of ICF Washington State and lives near Seattle with his wife and their two children. He blogs at keithwebb.com.

 



Metaphors in Coaching

By Admin On October 4, 2016 No Comments

 

metaphors quote

By definition a metaphor in coaching is a figure of speech that “creates powerful, rapid learning by linking what is unfamiliar or novel with what the clients already know.”  

As Christian coaches, our most compelling examples for the potency of metaphors come from Jesus. Whether he was talking about seeds planted in different types of soil (Matthew 13) or how he is the vine and we are the branches (John 15:5), Jesus took common examples from daily life to illustrate abstract spiritual principles. The metaphors he used enabled his listeners to visualize and thus understand and grasp difficult concepts.  

As a powerful coaching tool, metaphors help clients:

  • verbalize what they are experiencing and feeling.

It’s not unusual for a client to struggle as they attempt to communicate their emotions or experiences. They often can’t find the words to express where they are. A simple statement like, “I am working so hard just to keep my head above water,” not only gives the coach a clue that this person is feeling weary and struggling to survive, but also paints a verbal picture and provides the language the client might be searching for. Asking clients to “say more about that” may increase their self-awareness as they see themselves thrashing in the water and gasping for air.  

  • measure their progress.

A client might volunteer that they feel like they are living in a fog and want to explore what would help them to clear that fog.  At the end of the session, asking a simple question like, “What happened to the fog?” may illicit an answer as to whether or not the client is moving forward.  If the client reports, “Oh the fog lifted. I now have clarity about this issue,” both the coach and the client have gained feedback on the success of the session.  

  • step outside of themselves.

One of my more driven clients, was frustrated that God had her in a season of waiting.  She did not like the fact she wasn’t achieving or accomplishing anything. “Doing nothing does not sit well with my personality,” she said. “I know I need to wait on God but I’m struggling with listening to him.” During one session she mentioned feeling like she was in a rotunda not knowing which hall to go down.

I asked, “What does the rotunda look like?”

She quickly described a beautiful open area with exquisite stained glass windows. As she peered down the different hallways, she could see cherry paneled doors with brass handles. Immersed in this new setting she felt more settled. She said, “This image is helping me get out of my own little world.”

  • dive deeper.

It just so happened that the next week this client traveled to Washington D.C. As she walked in the capital rotunda and took pictures, she prayed that she would see and hear what God might be showing her. She emailed me pictures and her reflections about the experience. “I know God may want me to just sit and observe, think, reflect, and listen to Him a bit longer in this shrouded area, but I want to move in one direction or another.”

During the time we worked together, this image became a jumping off point where she drew deeper meaning from the setting and applied it to her current life.

While this client easily shared her resistance and frustration with being put on hold, not all clients are comfortable sharing their feelings.  Sometimes they will, however, latch onto a metaphor and open up about the emotions elicited by that verbal picture which in turn can take them deeper.

tunnel vision

  • gain a new perspective.  

Using the visual picture of a rotunda, this client made the subtle yet important shift of looking at the time of waiting differently.  She began to enjoy, rather than resist, the opportunity to pray and inquire of the Lord. With anticipation, she wondered which hallway God would lead her down.

She emailed, “I have to say I’m thoroughly enjoying my visuals. There is a spaciousness where I can dance with my arms extended. The hallways have thick, elegant, classy wood trim along the floors (solid godly foundation), and around each doorway, and in the crown molding (spiritual growth and transformation).”   

  • remember their newly gained insights.

Often a client experiences that wonderful AHA! only to have it fade away weeks later.  A metaphor that the client embraces is easily retrieved.  It also continues to build a deeper alliance between the coach and client. Throughout our year-long coaching relationship, the rotunda image was frequently revisited bringing further insight. When God was ready to have her move on, she said, “It’s bittersweet. I’m experiencing some nostalgia.”

While the benefits of using metaphors in coaching are significant, it is important to note that clients who are quite literal in their thinking will not grasp the idea of using figurative language.

For those clients who do grasp metaphors, however, here are two ways you can use this tool in your practice.  

  • Help the clients hear the metaphor they are using

They may suggest they feel backed into a corner and quickly move on to another statement. This metaphor they offered may or may not have the potential for uncovering something important if asked, “What does it feel like to be backed in a corner.” Many times a “metaphor enables you to draw on imagery and experience to help the client comprehend faster and more easily.”  

Help your clients hear what they are saying and explore what it might mean to them.  A metaphor, like a picture, accesses a different part of the brain that might be closed off to logical thinking.

  • Offer a metaphor

As you listen to your client, the Holy Spirit may reveal an appropriate metaphor.  While there is nothing wrong with presenting your idea, realize it may or may not resonant with the client. I’ve found garden-related metaphors especially valuable. “Metaphors about journeys and garden work effectively with almost all clients who consider the path they are on and the patient growth required.”   

Even when a metaphor you offer lands with a client do not assume your interpretation is the same as the client’s.  For example, one client was frustrated she could not eliminate all the negative thoughts racing through her mind.  Since she was a gardener, I suggested that those negative thoughts were similar to the weeds that keep popping up in her garden. My slant, which thankfully I didn’t offer, was that the best we can do is minimize the weeds in a garden, not eliminate them. In the same way, the best we can do is minimize the negative thoughts, not eliminate them.

While she immediately latched onto the metaphor, her interpretation was that she needed to plant lots of beautiful plants in her garden so there was less space for the weeds, and in turn if she planted lots of positive thoughts in her mind there would be less room for the unwanted ones.

In summary, metaphors help our clients gain clarity, insight and deepen learning while enabling them to move forward faster. We as coaches have been given the wonderful privilege of joining God and watching Him work. One of the more powerful tools God has chosen to give us is the use of metaphors.

About the Author: Georgia Shaffer is an author, professional speaker, a Christian life coach, and a licensed Psychologist in Pennsylvania. Her books include: Avoiding the 12 Relationship Mistakes Women Make; 12 Smart Choices for Finding the Right Guy; Taking Out Your Emotional Trash, and A Gift of Mourning Glories: Restoring Your Life After Loss. Coaching the Coach: Life Coaching Stories and Tips for Transforming Lives is a book she compiled and includes the wisdom of 49 Christian coaches including Dr. Henry Cloud and Dr. John Townsend. Learn more about Georgia at www.georgiashaffer.com.

1 Patrick Williams and Diane S. Menendez, Becoming a Professional Life Coach (New York: W. W. Norton & Company, 2007), p 132
2 Some of the metaphors Jesus used: “I am the bread of life.  I am the light of the world. I am the vine; you are the branches.  You are the salt of the earth.”
3 Henry Kimsey-House, Karen Kimsey-House, Phillip Sandahl and Laura Whitworth, Co-Active Coaching (Boston, MA: Nicholas Brealey Pulishing, 2011), p 43.
Patrick Williams and Diane S. Menendez, Becoming a Professional Life Coach (New York: W. W. Norton & Company, 2007), p 136.  


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