Four Ways Parents Can Minimize Stress While Maximizing Their Kid’s Emotional Wellbeing

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Lisa Murray, LMFT

 


 
Exams have passed. Graduations have been celebrated. Summer’s coming hard upon us.

Our kids have been feeling it, really feeling it — the stress that has them wound up tight, stress that makes them doubt themselves, stress that overwhelms every bit of courage to dig deep, reach in, and press on into their lives and their dreams.

Sometimes a momma’s heart, hating to see the worry etched across their baby’s forehead, feels compelled to remove, or soothe, or just make the big, bad wolves go away so that everything will be okay for their little one.

We know better, but sometimes a momma’s heart just can’t help herself.

Parents longing to protect their kids sometimes suffocate the experiences that grow rooted souls and resilient minds. We forget that we are not changing the world to coddle our kids, we are growing gladiator kids to change the world.

What I know is that every night sitting around the kitchen table doing homework, every Saturday morning when chores are needing to be done, early on Sunday morning when the alarm goes off for church, we have a choice— a choice to let the pressures of parenting weigh us down, or a choice to write our own parenting proclamation designed to free and not constrain us, purposed for empowering and not extinguishing the fire that’s in the hearts of our kids.

Here are four ways parents can reclaim their homes and reinvigorate their kids, in order to embrace a new way of parenting with a lot less burden and a lot more joy.

 

  1. We can give our families the grace of just being.

sebastian-leon-prado-438756-unsplashWe’ve got too much ‘doing’ as it is. Our kids are starved in being, in becoming. In sitting quietly exploring a favorite book, a puzzle, or finding beauty in simply doing nothing at all, their minds can listen inward to discover their soul-worth in Christ so they can recharge their wisdom and creativity outside the noise and distraction of a phone or video game.

Busy is not always better. Children don’t need an entertainment coordinator nearly as much as they need us to model for them lives of space, of proportion, and meaning. We can make our homes a refuge of prayer, a haven of hope, and they will grow within them an anchor to steady their anxious hearts, they will know the grace of being fully present in each moment, without worrying about the next.

Luke 12:27-31 (NIV) tells us, Consider how the wild flowers grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you, not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today, and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, how much more will he clothe you—you of little faith! And do not set your heart on what you will eat or drink; do not worry about it. For the pagan world runs after all such things, and your Father knows that you need them. But seek his kingdom, and these things will be given to you as well.

 

  1. We can cultivate the gift of calm.

Perhaps we weren’t meant to control it all or fix it all for our children (or ourselves, for that matter.) We can give ourselves the tender gift of calm. Like the exhale of a warm, summer rain, we too, can learn to exhale, to release the stresses and worries of the day that invade our inner sanctum, and quietly, graciously surrender them to the Father. We can observe the rhythms of our heart and mind. We can choose gratitude. Always.

Gratitude changes the reflection in the mirror—how we see His hand, His heart, His love writing itself into our despair, our brokenness. Gratitude removes the shadows of criticism and self-condemnation, allowing us to settle into a new flow of freedom, of peace, of joy pouring in and pouring out, seeping into every corner and every crevice of our homes. A calm, grateful heart in parents points young hearts towards their Creator instead of their circumstances.

If you haven’t read my book, Peace For A Lifetime, it is written with parents in mind and equips them with strategies that are powerful for cultivating Emotional Abundance into children’s hearts and lives.

 

  1. We can learn to let go of ‘perfect.’

melissa-askew-678855-unsplashOur kids don’t need a ‘perfect’ parent, they simply need us. Just as we are. It is simply not our job to be everything, or do everything for our children. It isn’t. Parents who race around removing every sadness, every imperfection, every disappointment from their children’s lives don’t build strong spirits, don’t build in them the guts or the grit to overcome the injustices that are sure to meet them along their paths.

We waste so much time trying to protect our kids from this vast world instead of preparing them for it.

We unconsciously use our children to undo, heal, correct, or rewrite everything that was wrong in our childhoods. Could we free them from our need to make things ‘perfect?’ Could we give them instead experiences of creativity and kindness, wonder and wisdom, instilling in them hearts bulging with compassion and confidence?

 

  1. We can be compassion warriors.

Much of the time parents recognize how easy it is to be a shame speaker. Don’t worry. Don’t feel that way. Don’t do this. Don’t do that. We say these things as much to ourselves as we do our kids, or anyone else for that matter. We are irreverent and unkind with our own meager humanity, especially when it is exhausted and empty.

How much harder is it for us to breathe compassion over our children when we find it impossible to give it to ourselves?

We can make it our mission to become compassion warriors —to welcome in all of the parts and pieces of our brokenness, to allow ourselves the gift of feeling, of speaking life instead of death, love instead of hate.

The words we speak to ourselves are the words being imprinted on our children’s hearts. How kind are they?

So as summer kicks off, let’s do things a little different. Let’s go against the grain. Let’s reclaim our homes and our peace in a way that will not only give each of us a lot less stress and a lot more joy, but will also build up our children’s stress-resilience and allow them to grow solid, strong souls. Ready for life. Ready for battle. Ready for Christ’s calling.
 


 

Lisa Murray, M.A. is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist in Franklin, TN, with an undergraduate degree from Vanderbilt University, as well as a graduate degree from Trevecca University.  In 2007 Lisa founded the Counseling and Family Ministries at Grace Chapel in Leipers Fork, TN, where she not only works to help individuals, couples, and families, deal with the complexities and challenges of life and relationships, she also treats a full spectrum of mental health issues. Peace for a Lifetime is available on Amazon.com. Connect with Lisa on Facebook: Lisa Murray, author, or on Twitter: @_Lisa_Murray

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Paying Attention To Your Life

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Excerpted with permission from Coaching the Coach: Stories and Practical Tips for Transforming lives, by renowned author and life coach Georgia Shaffer. Want to read more? Click here to purchase!



It’s difficult to foster self-awareness in our clients if we as coaches haven’t been willing to walk down that path ourselves. Because we bring our own stuff into our coaching sessions, either intentionally or unintentionally, it’s important to stay current with what’s going on in our own hearts and minds.

The apostle Paul, who was what you could call a coach, instructed Timothy, his coachee, to pay close attention to his life. One way to do that is to ask yourself some powerful questions. Here are a few questions that have helped me to stay objective about my life.
 

Am I Paying Attention to What Is Impacting Me Emotionally?

jeremy-wong-298986I was working with a grieving widow whose husband had died in a plane crash. She had shared how their last conversation just before he boarded the fatal flight had been filled with anger. We had talked for a number of sessions and she seemed stuck in the grieving process. Finally the breakthrough came as she blurted out, “I was so angry that I didn’t tell him I loved him at the end of the conversation!”

That conversation left me with a deep sadness. Later, as I reflected on her story, it hit me how much was left unfinished in her life. Her father wouldn’t let her see her husband’s body, and she hadn’t gained closure on their last disagreements. Naturally, I started to wonder what was unfinished in my life? What had I left undone or unsaid in my closest relationships? If I was to die suddenly, would my wife know that I had loved her?

Am I Making My Closest Relationships a Priority?

As a marriage and relationship coach, I encourage my clients to invest time with those they love, knowing how those closest connections are key to a meaningful life. If I am staying current in my marriage, then I need to routinely ask myself if I am making my wife a priority.

One thing my wife and I’ve found especially helpful in building intimacy in our marriage is to pick ten or twelve verses in Scripture to focus on. We each read the assigned verses separately, paying special attention to what the Holy Spirit might be revealing. After we have read the verses several times, we each journal our thoughts or insights. Later, we sit down together and share what God has shown us. At the end of our discussion, we take five minutes for meditative prayer.

This small investment of time not only helps us to grow closer but to stay current with what we each of us is thinking and feeling. In addition, our ritual is a way of making our marital relationship a priority as well as deepening our relationship with God. And that leads me to the next question I ask myself.
 

Am I Paying Attention to Growing Emotionally and Spiritually?

denisse-leon-431547What am I doing to nurture my emotional and spiritual growth, or am I just expecting it to happen? If my faith as a Christian is a core value of mine, then am I intentionally shining God’s light in the darker areas of my heart? Maybe there is a grudge or some unforgiveness I need to deal with. Or perhaps there is some pride or arrogance I’m justifying or tolerating.

I see people who are so caught up in the busyness of their lives they have no time for reflection on their own life. I saw a couple last night–he works probably 60 hours a week, travels often in business, and even when he is home for a short time, his blackberry is in his hand and he is still “at work.” Sometimes in the middle of their conversation, his wife begins to talk about the “circus that came to town, and the elephants in their yard.” As she suspected, he wasn’t hearing a word she said. If he couldn’t listen to his wife, you know he is not listening to his own emotional or spiritual needs.

Am I consistently carving out the time needed for self-examination? Or am I slowly drifting away from this routine? We hold our clients accountable for the actions they want to take. Who is holding me accountable to follow through?
 

Coaching the Coach Tip:

Stay current, or pay attention, in your own life by taking time for self-reflection. What is impacting you emotionally this week? If you look at how you recently have spent your time and resources, would that reflect the priorities you say are most important?

What are you doing to intentionally growing emotionally and spiritually? Is there someone who is paying attention to your life and holding you accountable to do what you said you wanted to do? Remember, we cannot successfully encourage our clients to pay close attention to their lives if we aren’t willing to do the same ourselves.


 

shaffer_georgiaGeorgia Shaffer, M.A., is a professional speaker, certified Life Coach and the author of four books including Coaching the Coach: Lessons from Christian Coaches. She is is a regular columnist for Christian Coaching Today and a board member of the International Christian Coaches Association (ICCA). Georgia is on the teaching team of AACCís Professional Life Coaching Training. She specializes in coaching coaches, women and communicators To find out more, visit www.GeorgiaShaffer.com.

stoop_davidDavid Stoop, Ph.D., is a licensed clinical psychologist in California. He is the founder and director of The Center for Family Therapy in Newport Beach, California, where he has his counseling practice. He is an adjunct professor at Fuller Seminary and serves on the Executive Board of the American Association of Christian Counselors. Dr. Stoop is often heard as the co-host of the national New Life radio program. He and his wife Jan live in Newport Beach, and have three sons and six grandchildren.

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Motive-based Coaching for the Key to Winning at Work

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Excerpted with permission from Coaching the Coach: Stories and Practical Tips for Transforming lives, by renowned author and life coach Georgia Shaffer. Want to read more? Click here to purchase!


 

Dwight Bain, M.A.

Do not be afraid. Stand still, and see the salvation of the LORD, which He will accomplish for you today. . . . The LORD will fight for you.

Exodus 14:13-14 NKJV

 
 What does it take to win at work?

braden-collum-87874People have asked me that question dozens of times after a keynote speech or radio talk show. Most likely your clients have asked you the same or similar questions. They want to know what action to take to build a successful life instead of being trapped in long-term failure. It’s a great question. Unfortunately, since every person faces different challenges there isn’t a 100-percent-specific answer that works for every person.

A better approach is to guide your clients in focusing on the real source of motivation by exploring their underlying motives. When you discover the motive behind why they want to win at work, you will be on track to help them shape a strategic approach to speed toward accomplishing goals and avoiding distractions that lead to failure.

Here are some key questions to ask your coaching clients:

  • Do you want to win at work to deepen your resume to advance your career?
  • Does success at work mean making more money to bring home to your family?
  • Does career success give you personal meaning and fulfillment?
  • Does winning bring you a sense of satisfaction by proving you are the best?

Greater professional success usually gives a person far greater options in their personal life because increased income brings the flexibility to solve problems and control schedules by delegation. Outsourcing to save time and money is a wise use of resources. Working harder to gain greater self-esteem, however, is a dangerous motivator because it takes major sacrifices of time and energy and can often become a black hole of busy activity leading to workaholism.

Career burnout comes from attempts to fill up deep emotional insecurities through aggressive professional activity. Burnout won’t lead to professional success, and sadly is incredibly common among people who haven’t seen the importance of mapping out a realistic career-coaching plan to win at work without losing at home.
 

Finding the Energy for Career Success

 So how can clients stay motivated to achieve greater career success? Have them start by dealing with their core values, which can be identified through mapping out their internal motives, since motives lead to motivation.

Here are four key areas I use to inspire business professionals I’ve coached to stay focused to win at work while feeling greater energy and fulfillment in the process: insight, interests, importance, and identity.

 
Insight

There is a Scripture verse I was taught to pray every day: “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him” (James 1:5, NKJV). If you know that you don’t know the answers, then asking for God’s direction is a wise use of time. Generate insight by asking God to reveal your clients’ special gifts and natural abilities, regardless of how much they may feel like they are struggling. Everyone has talent and ability at something. It takes insight to see it, and then it takes courage to stay focused to light the fire of desire in their heart, especially when you or they may feel like giving up. Have your clients enlist some of the people close to them, like a marriage partner, family member or trusted friend to help them identify their talents and abilities if they don’t already know them. Since these people already know so much about your client’s personality, character, motivation, and inner- drives, they will speak truth to that client.

Asking many questions to gain greater insight will protect against impulsive choices, and insure a greater likelihood of success. So don’t be afraid to ask too many questions—of yourself or your clients—but do be afraid to stay silent on this important element.
 
japheth-mast-329255Interests

Once your clients know their gifts, talents, abilities and skills, the next step is to see how those unique gifts could be transferred into something so incredibly interesting that they want to show up and learn more about it every day. There is anold saying that the curious are never bored, which is true. When your clients are inspired about pursuing something extremely interesting, they will lose all track of time because they are so engrossed. Linking their interests with greater insight leads to the next part of the process to win at work.
 
Importance

Once clients get inspired to pursue the aspects of their jobs or career callings that are most interesting, the next element to stir up personal motivation is to help them discover what is most important. What is valuable to them? What has great meaning? What activities or organizations do they believe in strongly? Everyone believes in something, yet many of us haven’t taken time to explore and discover the core motives that fuel our desires to create positive change.

Now that you have mapped out the key areas that motivate people you are ready for your clients to advance to the final stage.
 
Identity

When people figure out who they are and what they enjoy doing, they are on track to live out their purpose and have more fun in the process! Perhaps the huge success of many work-related reality TV shows (like American Idol) is because they reveal what many people secretly would like their daily work experience to be—a place that allows them to utilize their creative abilities in an environment that rewards big risk-taking to achieve greater results. It’s not hard to stay motivated when you know why you are going to work, and it’s not hard to stay in the race to win, either. In fact, it makes it easy to move from a fear of failure to moving forward with a new dedication to finish strong!
 

Avoiding Hidden Pitfalls

Now you and your clients have the basic career coaching strategies needed to win at work. Yet, even with these insights, many people are afraid to try and often give up on the belief that they could have a better life by moving from what I call their day job over to fully experiencing their dream job. Why do they lack career confidence? Why are they still likely to fail? Three possible causes are that they are fearful, frustrated, or failing.
 
Fearful

Times are tough and many people are afraid about what the economy will do in the future. In fact, they can become so frozen in fear that they are afraid to try. It’s normal to feel afraid, yet when you are overwhelmed with fear it can often lead to becoming indecisive and totally zoning out. Since running away from reality feels easier than facing it for some people, they choose to stick their heads in the sand and completely deny what’s happening to their industry. Think about how Blockbuster Video failed to make strategic changes with their customers and eventually filed for bankruptcy protection, while competitor organizations like Netflix and Red Box were thriving.

Some people retreat in a passive way and just slowly sink, while others try to avoid reality by using substances or media to escape. Avoiding major change by hiding in fear will lead to a major crisis. Being aware of these dangers and opening up the conversation with your clients by asking tough questions will help them protect themselves when they are heading toward a dangerous situation.
 

Frustrated

Clients often think they are frustrated with marriage partners or coworkers, but this pitfall is really more about them. Help them think about the times they were trying, but it just didn’t come together. They knew they wanted to finish strong and have a meaningful career, but they felt like they lacked the horsepower to really pull out in front of the crowd.

When frustration builds up, it puts people at great risk because they face a tough choice: finish with mediocre results and risk getting laid off or downsized to try again at the next job, or just check out to avoid feeling the pain of not performing to their potential and quit. I’ve especially seen this with highly creative or bright coaching clients who procrastinated until the last minute and then couldn’t finish projects assigned to them. Their frustration often comes out as anger directed toward the closest person to them. It’s not fair, but it happens because they let the frustration take over, which blocks their ability to win at work.


Failing

olivia-snow-265289Sadly, a failing, unmotivated person is the easiest to spot because they checked out a long time ago. When someone has reached this level, they are so unmotivated they give up on even trying at the most basic of tasks, so their resume just reflects a free fall down to zero. They totally and completely fail, which crushes their confidence. For many, failure kills the desire to try again, which leads many coaching clients to give up completely and just drop out on the idea that a meaningful career was ever even a possibility for them.

They are too depleted even to believe that God’s promise spoken through the prophet Jeremiah, “Call to Me, and I will answer you, and show you great and mighty things, which you do not know” (Jeremiah 33:3, NKJV) is still available to them.

I challenge you to help such clients face their fears, frustrations, and the fear of failing with words of encouragement from God’s Word. If they take time out daily to meditate on the Bible, I believe it will guide them from fear to greater faith by identifying their core motives, and then translating that into the powerful motivation needed to win at work.

 

Coaching the Coach Tip:

 You and your clients are stronger than you think, but just in case you are feeling beat up by life, listen to the words of Moses in Exodus 14:13-14 (NKJV) as a final challenge when you or your clients are feeling unmotivated or scared about work or careers: “Do not be afraid. Stand still, and see the salvation of the LORD, which He will accomplish for you today. . . . The LORD will fight for you.”
 


 
Dwight Bain is a pioneer Christian Coach & executive director of the International Christian Coaching Association. He has dedicated his life to guide people toward greater results as an author, Nationally Certified Counselor and Certified Life Coach in practice since 1984. He has spoken to more than 3,000 groups including Disney, Toyota, and AT&T. As a trusted media resource he has been interviewed and quoted in newspapers/websites including: New York Times, Chicago Tribune, Atlanta Journal, FoxBusiness.com and MSNBC.com. www.DwightBain.com

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What Will Happen If You Don’t?

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Excerpted with permission from Coaching the Coach: Stories and Practical Tips for Transforming lives, by renowned author and life coach Georgia Shaffer. Want to read more? Click here to purchase!


 

Susan Whitcomb

 

 

For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.

 Ephesians 2:10, NIV

 

On a scale of one to ten, when it comes to love of coaching, I’m a ten. I love coaching others, I love being coached, and I love training others to become coaches. For me, coaching feels like I’m doing good works and walking in my Ephesians 2:10 (NIV) gift: “. . . created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”

It’s a different story when it comes to marketing. On a scale of one to ten, I was about a three. I hated having to reach out and remind people about who I was, what I did, and the benefit I could bring to their lives with my services. This attitude cost me dearly, both emotionally and financially.

andrew-neel-218073Early in my career as a budding coach, I mentor coached with Judy Santos, who has since passed away. Many consider her to be one of the most influential voices in the field of Christian coaching because she defined and moved the profession forward. At the time, she taught a foundational Christian coaching course that started me on the road to earning my credentials with the International Coach Federation. I knew I needed to be coached if I was going to be a successful coach, and so she was a logical choice to be my mentor coach with her vast coaching experience and former business background.

We worked on a number of projects together, initially to help get my new career- coach-training certification program up and running. I’ll never forget being just halfway into the four-month foundations class and announcing to her that I had decided to launch a career-coach-training school and teach others coaching. I could tell she was impressed with my enthusiasm but taken back by, what I now label in hindsight, my naivety. I was a brand new coach—how in the world could I presume to train others when I’d been learning just a few months myself! But with the passion of a new convert, I just had to share the good news of coaching with my colleagues who were also career consultants. I forged ahead. I loved developing the curriculum while getting the school up and running. I loved developing coaching techniques, wrestling with how to articulate the challenges people in career transition experience, and creating exercises to help others learn how to shift from career consultants and advisors into true career coaches.

Always, marketing took a back seat. I didn’t want to bother people. Able to see my blind spots better than I could, Judy would bring up the topic of marketing and ask what I was doing to market the program. I would respond with my list of excuses and what wasn’t working: No one responded to my e-mail campaign, I couldn’t close the prospective student who had expressed interest in registering, I didn’t have time to offer a free preview call to give people a taste test, and so on.

I was oblivious to my attitude about marketing and how it was impacting my success (or lack thereof) in the realm of bringing in new students. I procrastinated and rationalized and procrastinated and rationalized.

carlos-muza-84523Judy used all the right coaching techniques: She looked at the root of my procrastination, we explored limiting beliefs around my marketing phobia, we identified actions, and we discussed the best methods for accountability, even agreeing at one point that I’d make a financial contribution to an organization that was against my moral values if I didn’t follow through on my marketing commitments. All these things certainly created more awareness for me around marketing, but it didn’t shift me into full-scale action.

Finally, one day Judy asked me about my least-favorite topic: “How’s the marketing going?” I bemoaned my plight, replaying my favorite tape about the things I wanted to do, needed to do, but wasn’t getting done. And that’s when she asked me a question—the question—that has stayed with me and served me well for more than ten years: “What will happen if you don’t?”

That question did what a powerful question should do: It took me into the future, it made me examine my thinking, and it shifted me into action. Since being asked that question, I have never thought of marketing in the same way. Now, I no longer rate myself a three on that one-to-ten scale for marketing. It’s more like a seven or even an eight, which is saying a lot for an ultra-sensitive introvert who still doesn’t want to “bug people.”

I now see marketing as an opportunity to love the people I serve, to offer them value in the midst of the marketing message, to inform them of new opportunities, and to remind them of the positive future they can create for themselves. And, yes, sometimes their future involves taking advantage of my services. I have come even to love the opportunity to market. The consequences of not doing so are dire, while the outcome of doing so brings blessing both to me as well as to the people I serve.

 

Coaching the Coach:

monica-galentino-102655Do you dislike or procrastinate doing certain tasks in your life or work? What will happen if you don’t do them? Step into the future and consider the consequences of procrastinating or doing them haphazardly. If they are important to your success, how might you reframe each task so that you associate positive instead of negative thoughts with it? What might God’s perspective be on this topic?

Is the task simply something that you don’t know how to do well yet? (Remember that you can learn everything that’s essential to your success.) If so, enlist in a course, mentor coach with someone who’s mastered the task, or find an accountability partner who will help support you in the process. Perhaps you can explore ways to delegate the work, whether by paying someone or bartering the services.

Finally, reverse the question from “What will happen if you don’t?” to “What will happen if you do?” Envision your world with that new task mastered, operating well, and bringing the results needed. What will be different? How will it equip you to serve the people God has called you to serve? How will it expand your reach, voice, impact, and territory? What do you think the Father would say to you when you’ve persevered and done this task with excellence? Remember that He is “. . . able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us” (Ephesians 3:20, NIV).
 


 
Susan Whitcomb is a leading authority and media resource on career and leadership coach certification training, and the author of eight books featured in retailer booksellers worldwide, including The Christian’s Career Journey, Resume Magic, and 30-Day Job Promotion (JIST Publishing). An inspirational presenter and engaging trainer, Susan has logged more than 3,000 hours teaching the Certified Career Management Coach program, Certified Executive & Leadership Development Coach program, Certified Job Search Strategist program, and Certified Social Media Career Strategist program offered through www.TheAcademies.com.

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Who, Me?

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Excerpted with permission from Coaching the Coach: Stories and Practical Tips for Transforming lives, by renowned author and life coach Georgia Shaffer. Want to read more? Click here to purchase!


 

Linda Gilden

 

I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.

Philippians 4:13 NKJV

 

No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.

Eleanor Roosevelt, This Is My Story

 

 

“We think you are the one to coach this author through her book,” the publisher said.

 

eepeng-cheong-313417 (1)The publisher’s call surprised me. I had coached a few of their authors before but never one, like Lin, with such an amazing story or such a large platform to share it.

“But I’m not sure I can do it,” I said. Doubt and insecurity came at me from all directions.

“Would you just take a look at the project and talk to the author? I’m sure you will change your mind. It’s really an exciting story.”

Agreeing at least on the exciting part, I said that I would talk to the author.

 

After reading through all the notes and the publisher’s specifications, I called Lin.

 

Exchanging a few pleasantries, I got to the purpose of my call. I asked, “Do you really think I can help you? After all, you are a highly successful African-American lawyer who has been through things I never even heard of. On the other hand, I am a white, Baptist Southern belle who blushes just reading your notes. I think you probably need someone who understands your life a little better.”

“I think you are the perfect person. You don’t know anything about me, just like my readers. You can ask questions and make sure we get everything really clear.”

“I hadn’t thought about that.”

 

As I prayed about whether or not this was the right job for me, I realized Lin was right. I was starting this coaching job totally in the dark. I would be able to clarify her words so that the reader who knew nothing about her could understand.

Many times during coaching I am less confident than I should be. My melancholy personality makes me wonder how I can teach anyone anything. I look around at others who know so much more than I do about seemingly everything.

But then God gently reminds me where I started. As a beginning writer I knew very little about the publishing business. I thought I knew how to write, after all most of the time I had received good grades in English class. But the more I learned, the more there seemed to be to learn!

luke-ellis-craven-222982As I learned how to write with excellence because of my calling as a writer and as I learned how to navigate the publishing world, people who were just starting out began asking me to share what I knew. Before long the question became, “Would you be my coach?”

Following Paul’s example with Timothy, I continued learning all I could from the experts while passing along what I was learning to those who needed to learn.

As I worked with Lin, I enjoyed getting to know her. The research I did to learn about her former life was actually interesting and fun. A part of her life dealt with the drug world—a world I had no knowledge of. So how did I educate myself? By hanging out on the street corner and in dark alleys? Of course not! I called a friend, the local sheriff, and offered to take him and his wife out to dinner if he would teach me everything he knew about crack cocaine and those who used it.

When we arrived at the restaurant, he had a ream of printed material on the subject and we had a lovely visit during dinner. I quickly learned if I don’t know how to do something, there is someone out there who does. I also learned that people are taken aback when a sheltered Southern belle asks for instructions on how to make a crack pipe.

Paul instructed Timothy in ministry, realizing that his experience was valuable to his young friend. Each one of us can be a Paul to someone in our lives, whether in a coaching situation or in friendship. God has gifted each of us with wisdom and experience that can benefit those who are coming along behind us.

But if we do not continue to be Timothys and learn from the Pauls in our lives, we will become stagnant and exhaust our effectiveness as coaches.

Lin’s book became very successful. The night we finished the manuscript and said good-bye was a sweet parting. But I knew that we would be forever friends. This Southern belle had learned many great lessons about a culture she knew nothing about. And Lin? She learned a great deal, especially that everyone in the world didn’t understand her world and that God’s love bridges any gaps.

aziz-acharki-171922The next day when I answered my doorbell, the florist handed me two dozen yellow roses. A kind gift? For sure. A meaningful gift? Yes. Yellow roses are the symbol of friendship—in this case a lasting one that sprung from a coach’s reluctance to follow her calling.

 

 

Coaching the Coach Tip:

Don’t underestimate your abilities. When God calls you to be a coach, He equips you for the task. You must continue training to be the best you can be. As you do, you will be able to coach those who are behind you in their journeys. Everything you learn helps you grow and makes you a better coach.

Paul was our model coach. He showed us how to walk alongside those we coach, not only teaching them in the areas of our expertise but also guiding them to walk closer to God in the process.

Though my initial conversation with Lin made me feel inadequate, the end result was an affirmation of security in the calling God has given me. He doesn’t call us to know everything when we are starting out; He just wants a willingness and desire to be equipped for the tasks He gives us.

 


 
Linda Gilden is an author, speaker, editor, and writing coach. As Director of Writing Programs for CLASSEMINARS, Inc., the CLASS Christian Writers Conference and the Carolina Christian Writers Conference, Linda encourages others to clearly communicate God’s love to the world. With more than a thousand published articles and several books, she specializes in coaching writers to communicate with excellence as they achieve their publication dreams. Linda is a member of the International Christian Coaches Association. For more information visit www.LindaGilden.com.

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The Christian Dilemma

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Excerpted with permission from Coaching the Coach: Stories and Practical Tips for Transforming lives, by renowned author and life coach Georgia Shaffer. Want to read more? Click here to purchase!


 

Lisa Gomez Osborn

I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received.– Ephesians 4:1

 
 When I first began building my coaching practice I unashamedly labelled myself as a Christian Life Coach. As time went by, however, I began to wonder if adding the label Christian to my business was actually the right choice. On the one hand I wanted other Christians to know about my faith, but on the other hand, I didn’t want to be excluded by a client because of it.

tim-wright-272031About a year after opening my business, a Christian woman interested in learning how to become a coach made an appointment with me. During the consultation she admitted she hadn’t any actual coaching experience, but she felt as if she’d been a coach her whole life. This is a proclamation I hear all the time from people who think they already know how to coach but lack the actual training. This can be a dangerous misperception, giving people a false sense of confidence about their capabilities. Because of this, I openly shared my experience, past work history, and education. And I gave her my advice: Do not coach without being properly trained by another coach!

Like so many others who don’t want to hear this, I never heard a word from her again. I did, however, encounter the tide of people left in her wake who now believed that all Christian Life Coaches were disreputable crackpots.

This experience really drove home the immense weight of responsibility for claiming Christ as my Master and then attaching this declaration to my professional reputation.

This awareness continued to trouble me for some time as I questioned whether I was a good enough Christian to call myself a Christian Life Coach. What if I upset a client? Or worse, what if a client felt my values didn’t line up with my claims of Christianity? Was this a business or a ministry? Clearly, I intended it to be a business, but if someone came to me who needed help but couldn’t afford to pay me, what was I to do? Was it Christlike to turn clients away because they didn’t have money?

My focus became more and more misdirected as I struggled between meeting deadlines, growing my business, pleasing clients, and obsessing over what I now dubbed my Christian dilemma: Should I be a Christian Coach or should I be a Coach who is a Christian?

I struggled with anxiety over the demarcation between my Christianity and my career.

What if I wasn’t a very good coach and people discounted Christ because of me? I wanted to live an honouring life to Jesus Christ, but I wasn’t sure if splashing Christian symbolism and one-liners all over my website was actually honouring to Him. Was I doing this because of my love and zeal for Christ or to sell more coaching sessions? Guilt and doubt became two very close companions.

A few months passed. The day I moved into a new office suite someone mentioned the other Christian Life Coach there. The Christian want-to-be coach who had visited me earlier now worked in this office complex and was advertising herself as a Christian Life Coach!

I was taken aback, and, I must admit, a bit miffed, as I wondered how she had gotten here before I did. I selfishly grumbled to God about taking two years to build up my business enough to afford this office. What had I done wrong?

I soon found out that there was a lot more at stake than my ego; reports of her casualties began drifting in. Apparently, she had managed to sell her services to many of the other business owners, including the Chief Executive Officer of the complex.

Unbeknownst to me, there had been quite a negative buzz about her among the other business owners and executive staff. After I unsuccessfully tried to woo my colleagues into trying Life Coaching, someone finally told me why many of my neighbors were convinced that Christian Life Coaches were a joke or, worse, frauds.

johannes-plenio-262511The woman who finally shared her experience with me described her first and last Christian Life Coaching visit as “sixty tremendously awkward and rather distressing minutes in the dark.” She went on to explain how the coach had turned off the light and said she wanted to help her relax by, “closing my eyes and thinking of a peaceful place, like a beach, and to imagine lying in the sun.” Apparently, this woman had hired this coach to help her, as she described it, “Get her life under control.” Needless to say, the client felt as though she had been taken for $100. She didn’t want anything to do with me.

Although this lone Christian Coach was in the office complex for what turned out to be only a few months, she was able to substantially damage the reputation of not only the profession but also the character of the Christians who were connected to it.

This experience ultimately helped me resolve my dilemma; I decided I was both and not either or. I was a Christian no matter what I did; if a librarian, I’m a Christian librarian. If a construction worker, I’m a Christian construction worker. Therefore, because I’m a coach, I am a Christian Coach.

 

Coaching the Coach Tip:

However you choose to advertise or introduce yourself, consider the significant influence and responsibility that comes alongside your choice to be a Christian professional. You are held to a much higher standard; if you cheat, the perception will be that all Christians cheat. If you get caught in a lie, all Christians lie. We represent Jesus Christ, and we must therefore strive to represent him in a manner worthy of the calling of Christ.
 


 
Lisa Gomez Osborn is the president and founder of Paragraphs 22 Coaching & Consulting. Lisa has worked with others for over 15 years in areas such as overcoming personal and spiritual growth obstacles, leadership development, organizational development, Christian Life Coach training, personality profiling, communication, and conflict resolution. Lisa is passionate about Christian Coaching and helping other coaches build their businesses.LifeCoachLisaOsborn.com. lisa@LifeCoachLisaOsborn.com.

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A Rookie Coach Takes a Risk

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Diane Schroeder


Excerpted with permission from Coaching the Coach: Stories and Practical Tips for Transforming lives, by renowned author and life coach Georgia Shaffer. Want to read more? Click here to purchase!


 

Trust God from the bottom of your heart; don’t try to figure out everything on your own. Listen for God’s voice in everything you do, everywhere you go; he’s the one who will keep you on track. Don’t assume that you know it all.

Proverbs 3:5-7, The Message

 
It all started when I least expected it…my coaching career that is…with my post on Facebook: “Kicking off my Psychology program today at Cornerstone University, wish me luck!”

The live chat window popped up with a note from Jennifer. “Good luck with that, Diane! And, why’d you choose Psychology?”

“Spent two years calling out to God about what to do after my kids are gone, and believe He’s directing me into life coaching and counseling.”

A minute later my chat window came back with this: “Wish I knew what I was supposed to be doing; any idea on how to figure it out?”

rawpixel-com-415589Jennifer’s question both surprised and pleased me. I’m a total rookie and was not looking to build a practice. I’m in the process of completing my life coaching certification, am halfway through night courses for a bachelor’s degree in psychology, and plan on getting a master’s in counseling for my Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC). While in school, I’m a busy mom with teens as well as a wife with a husband who travels routinely for business. Most of my days are filled with doing my homework, laundry, cooking, and driving teenagers everywhere they want to go. It takes all I’ve got to keep up with life, so working with clients or building a practice wasn’t on my radar.

Before I responded to Jennifer, I remembered a conversation with my mentor. “You know, Diane, you can start seeing clients as a life coach while you’re going to school.”

“Really? I can do that?” I had replied.

“Sure. You start by charging a small fee, and as your experience and credentials increase, so will your fees. Once people start to see how much you can help them, they’ll tell other people, and your client list will grow. By the time you graduate you’ll have a practice.”

Jennifer’s question made me face the challenge (and fear) of stating what I had to offer her and of asking to be paid for it. My fingers tapped away: “Funny you should ask, because I’m starting to work as a life coach and only charge a pittance. I’d be happy to set up a time to meet and talk about some ways I could help you.” Before I clicked the enter key, I muttered to myself, “Okay, Lord, here goes. I’m going to put myself out there and trust You.” Click.

I felt amazed with Jennifer’s response. “Sounds great! I can only afford a pittance so that’s perfect. When can we meet?”

joseph-pearson-352151I was blown away. I thought for sure she’d say, “No, thank you.” Instead, she became my first official paying client. We arranged to meet later that day. On the drive over, I prayed, asking God to show me how to handle the situation. It was an amazing, exhilarating, Spirit-led experience.

As I worked with Jennifer, God—like manna from heaven—continued to put people and situations in my way to confirm my career path in coaching. One such instance I call “my grocery store run in.”

Breezing through the soda isle one afternoon, I passed a young lady who was chatting up a storm on her iPhone. She hung up, looked me square in the eye, and said, “I just got off the phone with a friend who told me she’s looking for a marketing assistant and I’m really interested in it. I wonder what I should tell her?”

Without skipping a beat, this perfect stranger went on. “She’s kind of a friend, and wouldn’t it be weird if I told her I’m interested? And, what if she turns me down? Wouldn’t that make our friendship awkward? Should I just send her a text and see what she says?”

My gut reaction was to burst out laughing and ask about the hidden cameras, but I had enough sense to say, “How about I answer your questions with a question? Why are you asking me all this?”

“I don’t know what to do, and you look like someone who would give me really good feedback.”

I was stunned. I also saw the vulnerability it took for her to approach me, so I gave her the best response I could. “When opportunity knocks definitely pursue it, especially in this economy. The worst that can happen is she says no. But you’ll never know unless you try. Don’t text her. Just give her a call and offer to buy her coffee, so you can discuss it face-to-face.”

“Well, what if she says no? Won’t it be weird if we have this awkward thing between us?”

“No, I don’t think it’d be weird,” I said. “Just respect her answer as the boundary she needs between work and friends and go on being friends.”

“Oh… okay… I think I will. I feel so much better. Thank you!”

We hugged and exchanged business cards. Perhaps someday my unexpected “grocery store run in” will give me a call or pass my card along to someone else who needs coaching. Either way I was delighted I could help her. When I think back about this experience, I view it as confirmation from God and a test of my willingness to make myself available when asked.

 

Coaching the Coach Tip:

As a rookie coach I’ve experienced doubt and fear such as when I wondered if I would be able to help others while still in training. I am probably not alone in this, and other coaches may have had similar feelings. As I’ve begun my coaching career, I’ve had to depend on God to show me if and when I’m ready and I have relied on trusted mentors to advise me. To succeed, I believe coaches need both firm faith in God and accountability from experienced coaches.

rawpixel-com-256641A bad economy has also fueled other fears as I’ve wondered whether I should get into the coaching business. To counteract my fears, I’ve developed a purpose/mission statement for my schooling and am working on one for my business. My purpose statements are lodged in my brain as reminders of why I coach when I have qualms about my career. This has helped me a great deal, and I firmly believe coaches should have a purpose statement to keep them on track during times of uncertainty.

I also think it is critical for coaches to be in constant communication with God about who He wants them to help and why. I fondly recall the instances when God intervened, like with my first client Jennifer and my grocery store run in, as examples of my reliance on Him.

I also recommend coaches use inspiring quotes to stay focused, like this one from Helen Keller:” “It is for us to pray not for tasks equal to our powers, but for powers equal to our tasks, to go forward with a great desire forever beating at the door of our hearts as we travel toward our goal.”
 


 
Diane Schroeder is a life coach who is building her practice while pursuing her education. She is a student in the Psychology program at Cornerstone University in Grand Rapids, Michigan, and entering Grand Rapids Theological Seminary in the fall of 2013 to obtain her Master’s degree in Counseling. Diane has been married to her best friend, Dan, for over 20 years; and is the proud Mom of teenagers, Kelly and Samuel, and her misfit canine, Dusty Dog.

shaffer_georgiaGeorgia Shaffer, M.A., is a professional speaker, certified Life Coach and the author of four books including Coaching the Coach: Lessons from Christian Coaches. She is is a regular columnist for Christian Coaching Today and a board member of the International Christian Coaches Association (ICCA). Georgia is on the teaching team of AACC’s Professional Life Coaching Training. She specializes in coaching coaches, women and communicators. To find out more, visit www.GeorgiaShaffer.com.

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Is Rest the Forgotten Key to Your Emotional Wellbeing?

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Lisa Murray, M.A.

 


 

vladislav-muslakov-261627Rest. Typically not a word in my vocabulary.

I was coming up to the weeks before my vacation, barely hanging on by a thread. I didn’t even notice how tired I was. My body moved slowly, numbly in its predictable, mechanical motions of the day. Though I accomplished all of my responsibilities, it grew challenging to be present, much less to focus. I could hardly tell how cloudy my mind had become. How disconnected I felt. Unsteady.

The travel rituals that usually include a fun summer read, some writing, catching up on emails, this time contained sleep and a half-dozed perusal of “The Shack,” that I had wanted to see for some time, but now could barely recall any scenes, if you asked. My only collected awareness was that the seat beside me was miraculously empty, leaving me just enough space to twist my feeble limbs in a sequence of contorted positions, all in pursuit of a little rest.

The first few nights away I noticed how heavy my sleep was, as if someone was holding me in a cavernous, murky, basin of darkness, which I was helpless to fight against and could only shyly succumb. It felt good somehow. Slowly, sweetly, sleep became more rhythmic, more unassuming, allowing me to wake rested and refreshed.

Was my body finally telling me that it had worked too hard, carried too heavy a load —or was I, for the first time in a long while, listening? It can be so hard for me to listen sometimes. Hard for all of us, if we’re honest.

Have we grown so accustomed to silencing the needs of our bodies that the state of exhaustion is normal? Have we developed patterns of pushing through, all the while applauding our woeful disregard for our soul’s care and nurturing?

We live in a world where late nights and early mornings validate our human struggle, where doing without physical or emotional sustenance equates with a personal suffrage of sorts. We pass the days telling ourselves when this project is over or this season is done, then we can rest, then we can breathe. Quietly, we believe our own lies.

Lies that tell us —

…we are not enough.

…we don’t deserve good things.

…love must be for others, not for us.

…we must strive.

…we must earn.

…we must prove our worth.

Ever feel that way? Ever feel the swirl of self-defeating, self-condemning lies that invade your mind with the power of a hurricane and knock you to the ground, pulling you away from yourself and away from the rest that would be the medicine for everything that torments you and keeps you chained to your perilous busy?

 

Reclaim Your Heart

jakob-owens-262574To tend to everyone else’s problems, to meet everyone else’s needs, seems easier, doesn’t it? Easier to numb our messy feelings than to have them spill over into our disinfected and whitewashed heart spaces. Easier to stay strong than to make ourselves vulnerable. Easier to do than to be.

We live our lives this way, one day to the next. Capable and functioning. Excelling. Surviving. We find ourselves at once too busy trying to BE God that we are never transformed BY Him.

And still, somewhere deep inside, in the shadowed places no one knows, the very depths we try ourselves to avoid, we are weary. We yearn for rest. Heart rest. Soul. Rest.

God created us for rest and it is a pilgrimage we must choose, to follow our heart and to follow our Abba, Father to His rest.

Isaiah 30:15 (ESV) tell us that, For thus said the Lord God, the Holy One of Israel, ‘In returning and rest you shall be saved; in quietness and in trust shall be your strength.’ 

One of my favorite passages, Matthew 11:28-30 (ESV) urges us, Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.

That word. Say it. Inhale it. Over and over.

When we finally stop trying and start resting, start allowing His love to pour over us and into us, we find Him changing us in the strangest and most intimate ways.

We start believing—

…we are loved.

lisamurray…we are the Beloved.

…we can make room for ourselves, for Him.

…we don’t have to live striving.

…we can do less.

…we can breathe.

…we are enough.

 


 

Lisa Murray, M.A. is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist in Franklin, TN, with an undergraduate degree from Vanderbilt University, as well as a graduate degree from Trevecca University.  In 2007 Lisa founded the Counseling and Family Ministries at Grace Chapel in Leipers Fork, TN, where she not only works to help individuals, couples, and families, deal with the complexities and challenges of life and relationships, she also treats a full spectrum of mental health issues. Peace for a Lifetime is available on Amazon.com. Connect with Lisa on Facebook: Lisa Murray, author, or on Twitter: @_Lisa_Murray

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How Do You Want to Feel Today?

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Excerpted with permission from Coaching the Coach: Stories and Practical Tips for Transforming lives, by renowned author and life coach Georgia Shaffer. Want to read more? Click here to purchase!
 


Linda Beck Johnson



Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.

Philippians 4:18

 
Often, the first thoughts that come to mind at the beginning of a day surge toward the things to do, things left undone, or things we feel can never be done. Clients come to us wanting change and fulfillment. Defining where we are and where we want to be comes with a payoff, usually after the process is in motion. It involves what we feel in response to the direction we take. What would happen if we moved those feelings from the end to the beginning of the process? What could we gain or lose?

eberhard-grossgasteiger-398985Genesis 1:27 says that God created humankind in his image; in the divine image he created him; male and female he created them. If we believe we reflect the image of the Divine, then fear cannot exist. As I rest in silence, I forget about doing and I open myself to feel the feelings I want to feel for today, this year, and the rest of my life. The choice of feelings is mine. I am in control.

I’ve never known a person who wanted to feel powerless, incompetent, unloved, or frightened. Rather, we want the best for ourselves because that is what God wants. It’s how we are wired.

In John 14:1-2, Jesus says, “Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me. My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you?”

For some of us, taking charge of what we are feeling is a new place. What provides the motivation for us to open the door and enter this new place? I become motivated as I read and study verses about the emotions I want to have. When I consciously take charge of what I want to think and subsequently feel, I tend to gravitate to certain passages of Scripture such as these:

  • The joy Jesus speaks of in John 15:11: “I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and your joy may be ”
  • The love He speaks of in John 15:12: “My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you,” and of which Jeremiah records the Lord saying in Jeremiah 31:3 “I have loved you with an everlasting love . . .”
  • The power that Jesus promises in John 14:20: “On that day you will realize that I am in my Father and you are in me and I in ”

Try it for just a few moments. Close your eyes. Think about and feel the feelings you want to feel for the rest of your life. Be patient and begin to feel God’s abundance.

billy-pasco-384083Feelings are powerful. Several years ago I was working with a group of women, facilitating a weekend retreat and I was asked to give a talk about grace. This was a very busy time in my life. I was working for a Fortune 200 company as an advisor to a senior vice president. My position required extensive travel and long work days. I was also working on my master’s degree in Religious Studies and taking a course on the Scriptures. Pressure dominated my life.

The psyche is an incredible source of goodness, however, and sometimes brings incredible surprises. For example, for my master’s program, I had to choose a topic in the Gospel of John for a term paper. I made my choice, but was out of town the day the class assignments were approved by the instructor. The next week my professor told me I would be writing about “joy” in the Gospel of John. I respectfully informed him that my choice was the “I am” sayings. After protesting many times, I finally said, “Okay, joy it is” and begrudgingly began to research the topic.

At the same time I was trying to write my talk about grace. I had given many talks before, but for some reason, this one just wasn’t coming together. I decided to enlist a prayer partner. I pondered the meaning of the idea of “joyful noise” as I typed her email address. I thought about my first weekend retreat and the wonderful friendships I had made. The theme of that retreat was “The Joy of the Lord Is Your Strength.” A few days later, a coworker gave me Surprised by Joy, a book by C. S. Lewis, and a little statue titled Joy.

During the next three weeks the word “joy” inundated my life. My daily meditations had titles like “Joy-Tribute,” “You Are My Joy,” and “Full Joy.” I began to chuckle as I envisioned a cosmic conspiracy designed to let me know I really was supposed to write a paper on joy.

The first day of the retreat came. I awakened knowing that on some level I had not met my expectations for my talk, but dwelling on it was not the answer. I decided to just stop, close my eyes, and feel the feelings I wanted to feel. All of a sudden I was overcome with love from these women on the retreat team. With them, I always felt like I had my own personal squad of cheerleaders rooting for me.

I thanked God for each one by name: “Thank you for Mary, she is so kind and always on my side. Thank you for Cookie, she is always on my side,” and so on. Each time I thanked God, the response “Jesus is on your side” would come through in my spirit, and each time more forcefully. I acknowledged these thoughts with, Yes, I know Jesus is on my side. Finally, the response took a very loud, very visual form: Jesus is On

Your Side—JOYS!

I realized that I was supposed to talk about “joys” infused in the gift of unconditional, perfect love called grace. If it’s grace, it’s joy! And I felt both God’s grace and joy as I spoke to the ladies at the retreat.

aaron-burden-113284I continue to see God’s reminders of what I choose to think about and the feelings that follow. Recently, when I opened my email, I found an excerpt from The Strangest Secret: How to Live the Life You Desire by Earl Nightingale. It was a little story about how our minds cultivate what we put into them. Like two seeds planted in fertile soil, one seed of corn and the other the seed of a poisonous plant, each will grow if we nourish them. And so our minds work in the same way. What we tend to overlook is that we control the seeds we want to plant and we can refuse to water and not feed poisonous seeds. The feelings I want to feel gently sustain and invigorate me. They help me open doors, and then close others. Most of all, these feelings enable me to help others do the same.

 

Coaching the Coach Tip:

To generate the energy needed to take action, remember that your choices are important. Take charge of what you think by focusing on whatever is true and noble and pure. God’s goodness will infuse your feelings to refresh your spirit and jump-start the creative process.
 


Linda Beck Johnson is a professional life coach, consultant, trainer, change management facilitator and leadership advisor. Her coaching specialties include leading change, the people side of effective transformation and working with women in life planning. After 35 years in the corporate world working for financial services giant, USAA, Linda now teaches and facilitates workshops and retreats.
 

shaffer_georgiaGeorgia Shaffer, M.A., is a professional speaker, certified Life Coach and the author of four books including Coaching the Coach: Lessons from Christian Coaches. She is is a regular columnist for Christian Coaching Today and a board member of the International Christian Coaches Association (ICCA). Georgia is on the teaching team of AACC’s Professional Life Coaching Training. She specializes in coaching coaches, women and communicators. To find out more, visit www.GeorgiaShaffer.com.

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First Build a Relationship

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Excerpted with permission from Coaching the Coach: Stories and Practical Tips for Transforming lives, by renowned author and life coach Georgia Shaffer. Want to read more? Click here to purchase!


Georgia Shaffer, M.A.

 

Whether you realize or not, relationships are the fuel that feeds the success of your business.

Darren Dahl



While the need for coaching continues to rise, how do you connect with potential clients who want to grow personally or improve their relationships? And how do you reach those seeking guidance?

dai-ke-32162I discovered early in my career that to gain coaching clients I first had to cultivate relationships. Whether people became acquainted with me through my writing, speaking, networking, or video teaching, I realized that what I knew wasn’t as important to them as whether or not they felt we had a connection. Comments from new clients, such as “I feel like I already know you,” helped me realize that before someone chooses to work with me, they want to know they can relate to me.

You can move from having no relationship to being an acquaintance to becoming their paid coach in many ways. For instance, I gained a number of clients through my video teaching and on the YouTube channel. You might connect with potential clients through a blog, Facebook or Twitter. Pick a venue that fits your personality and skill set. For others, seeing you, hearing you and reading what you write provide glimpses into who you are as a person and a coach.

One action step you can take to grow your business is to create or fine-tune a biweekly or monthly newsletter. Recently, I attended two conferences on opposite sides of the country. In this age of blogging, the presenters at both events touted email newsletters as still being an important tool. I found that information especially interesting because I had been wondering if my email newsletter was as outdated as a cassette tape.

A newsletter is one of the top ways to engage with others because it provides the following:

  • A way to consistently engage with potential clients.
  • An opportunity to repeatedly affirm the value you have to offer as a coach.
  • A tool to evaluate what’s working and what isn’t.

 

What do you put in your newsletter if you want to move people from being an acquaintance to a client? Darren Rowse, a professional blogger, speaker and consultant, finds that he best connects when he inspires, informs, and interacts with others. These three are also important to coaches.
 
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Inspire

Because we first process sensory stimulation through the emotional part of our brain, people are drawn to you when they emotionally connect to you. Reading or hearing your stories, especially when you are vulnerable and honest, can motivate potential clients to want to make real changes in their relationships.

People also become emotionally engaged through images and photographs.

Include poignant, descriptive, or beautiful photos that will inspire your readers.

 
 

Inform

What do you know that will help others? Communicating the message that you want to provide information that will help others reach their potential is a lot different than saying you want their money. People are intuitive. Don’t underestimate their ability to determine your real motive. You want to be identified as a competent coach who wants to use your expertise to help others grow. That is the type of coach about which someone will say, “I’m willing to pay for their services.”

What practical articles can you write? Think about relational topics that would not only help readers but would be something they would want to share with their friends, coworkers or family. For example, as a relationship coach I share three techniques for helping people handle the resistance that comes with change. Whether it is their spouse, a coworker or a close friend going through a difficult transition, they can connect with someone in a meaningful way by doing the following:

  • Addressing, rather ignoring, the issue.
  • Normalizing their feelings, and letting people know they aren’t alone or crazy.
  • Expressing emotions, and allowing others freedom to voice their worries and fears.

 

Interact

With a newsletter, for example, you could send welcome letters when people sign up. In a week or so, you could email them one of your frequently requested articles. In two weeks, you could send them a link to a thought-provoking blog or article someone else has written.

stefan-stefancik-257625By consistently engaging with your readers they get to know you. Share your struggles and your relational frustrations and invite others to do the same. Pick a topic, pose a question, and encourage a discussion on Facebook. Ask your readers to share what relational topics they would like to read about, and then respond to suggestions. For instance, someone might pose a question on how to handle difficult people, which you could address in one of the upcoming newsletters.

Inform and inspire your clients, but most importantly interact and cultivate relationships. Don’t sell your coaching; instead connect with people. Focus on delivering results. When you care and put people first, your business will grow.

 

Coaching the Coach Tip:

If you want to increase the number of clients you work with, realize that developing relationships can take more than a few months. Recently, I received an email from a man who attended one of my conferences about coaching four years ago. He had been using my coaching tools, regularly visiting my website, and reading my newsletters and articles. He wanted me to know how much he appreciated what I had shared over the years. Then he said, “I’d love to work with you as my coach.” In four years we had moved from having no relationship to being client and coach because I’d consistently connected with him and provided information and tips he valued, which helped him grow.

 


shaffer_georgiaGeorgia Shaffer, M.A., is a professional speaker, certified Life Coach and the author of four books including Coaching the Coach: Lessons from Christian Coaches. She is is a regular columnist for Christian Coaching Today and a board member of the International Christian Coaches Association (ICCA). Georgia is on the teaching team of AACC’s Professional Life Coaching Training. She specializes in coaching coaches, women and communicators. To find out more, visit www.GeorgiaShaffer.com.

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