Your Coaching Journey Begins Here
By Dwight Bain
Where does your coaching journey begin? I believe it begins when God uses you to make a positive difference in shaping another person’s life. It’s more than guidance because it’s not really about you, it’s about being used as a messenger to communicate God’s voice to someone who is open to hearing about a greater purpose. Your journey as a coach is about sensing and knowing how to draw the unique potential out of a person so they can move forward to experience God’s greater plan for their life.
To avoid confusion about ethical practices always remember that counseling is about helping people past their pain to find stability again. Coaching is about helping people realize their potential as a man or woman of strength. They are quite different disciplines, but I believe each still involve a divine calling from God. C.S. Lewis described it this way – “This is the very portrait of a vocation: a thing that calls or beckons, that calls inexorably, yet you must strain your ears to catch the voice that insists on being sought, yet refuses to be found.” Did you hear the part about quietly listening for the ‘still, small voice’ as Elijah called it? (2 Kings 2:1-2) If you have a call on your life as a coach you need to quietly listen to what the Spirit is stirring up inside you. If it’s God you won’t be able to quiet that stirring until you move forward toward action. At least that’s how my journey as a coach began.
Over 30 years ago I sensed God’s call on my life to become a Christian Counselor. My mentor Elmer Towns, Co-Founder of Liberty University describes the call of God on your life first as a call to prepare, and prepare is what I did! In college and seminary I was driven to learn everything possible about Christian Counseling. Listening to Christian radio programs, reading every book and magazine, attending every workshop and seminar I could find since there weren’t many resources in the 1970’s for this emerging professional industry. (Side note – consider yourself blessed by the incredible resources available today to equip Christian Counselors through AACC!) It was like a dream come true in 1984 when a friend and I started a Christian Counseling Center in Orlando. We became the most trusted agency in our area by living out the call of God to help people in crisis find calm again. It was God’s vision, lived out through the lives of two young seminary graduates who quietly listened for His voice.
Then over 20 years ago that calling started to stir inside again, in part due to the frustration I experienced over a dysfunctional counseling cycle that repeated too many times. Maybe you’ve seen it too – it went like this… someone would call in a crisis, barley surviving, we would aggressively guide them through the stress to find stability and then send them home from counseling with high hopes for a better future. Unfortunately two years later their lives crashed again and we were back into crisis counseling 101 just to keep them from drowning in their problems. Something big was missing from the process, but what was it?
That’s when I began to sense that same gentle voice asking questions like, “What if there was a new way to help people? Would you be willing to learn the skills to guide people past their pain toward their potential?” My answer was “ABSOLUTELY!” It made perfect sense to learn how to better serve regular people who missed God’s purpose not because they were stuck in misery, nope, they were beyond misery, they were stuck in mediocre. Then it got exciting! God’s Spirit stirred up the desire to learn more about taking people to a new level of success and the search began again. Professional coaching hadn’t been ‘invented’ yet, but a number of voices in the marketplace were coming together to discuss how to guide people toward their potential. Creative minds like Thomas Leonard, Patrick Williams, Dan Sullivan, Babs Smith, Chris McCluskey, John Nagy, Ken Blanchard, Laurie Beth Jones, John Maxwell and countless others were thinking outside the box of how to take average people and achieve above average results. God began to allow me to connect with like-minded people who were sensing the same desire to make a positive difference.
I believe coaching is a journey, one that flows out of your life story, and that journey for me was through speaking to business groups. I first heard the term, “Life Coach” after speaking to a Fortune 500 company in the early 1990’s and having a member of the audience ask if I offered executive coaching. I wasn’t sure what they were asking for so I took down their phone number and promised to call them back. After doing some research about getting trained and certified in this new discipline I called back and we began the coaching process. The stirring in my spirit was a reflection of another call to prepare – not just as a counselor – but also as a coach!
Maybe my story sounds a lot like your story – maybe God is already stirring you to be part of something more, part of the next wave of helping people and not just as a coach, but as a distinctively Christian Coach. There is a difference! If you have been searching for the next chapter in your journey as a people helper, perhaps Coaching is the answer. There is no better place to start than with the largest group of Christian Coaches in the world, the International Christian Coaching Association, (ICCA) by visiting, http://www.iccaonline.net/ If you are sensing God’s call on your life to prepare to serve others as a coach you can also visit www.LightUniversity.com since there are almost 200 hours of online Christian Coach training programs available. Both of these organizations are dedicated to equipping you to make a positive difference in our world for Jesus Christ.
Who knows, maybe your name will be among those listed as the early voices who said “there needs to be something better for coaches, something clearly Christian – something like ICCA.” Maybe you will be a pioneer in the process of Christian Coaching- I hope so, and I hope to encourage you on your journey of being the messenger of God’s voice to take average people past mediocrity to experience God’s vision for their life.
Dwight Bain is a pioneer Christian Coach & executive director of the International Christian Coaching Association, a sister organization to AACC.