When It’s Time to Leave the Nest: Moving Millennials Outward and Upward

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I was sitting on my back porch the other morning, reading quietly while sipping on a hot cup of coffee. Out of the corner of my eye I noticed one of my juniper trees start to shake. All of a sudden, I saw what looked like a tiny round blob drop like a paperweight to the earth. It appeared lifeless, it exerted no movement —until right before it hit the ground, two small wings sprouted and the baby bird flew off excitedly into a nearby tree.

hakon-helberg-99985It took a second for me to realize there was even a bird’s nest in the tree, much less to determine that what I witnessed was the final moments of a baby bird’s effort to leave the nest. It wasn’t pretty. It didn’t look hopeful. In fact, everything told me that whatever it was would surely wind up as a splat at the bottom of the tree.

But it didn’t. As so many baby birds have done in the past, they all have a similar experience, a collective moment when they can no longer reside in the safe confines of the mama bird’s nest, when they must take that step into the unknown, and they must learn how to fly.

Interesting how different things have become for Millennials learning to fly today.

Recently Pew Research Center released a study stating that Millennials most popular living arrangement is living at their parent’s house at 32.1%.

Instead of cheering our children while they launch, instead of nudging them out of the nest, many parents these days appear horrified at the notion. It seems our ideal is to do everything we can to delay the move, to minimize the risk, and to make our Millennial’s transition to adulthood as seamless and as secure as possible. To remove any uncertainty, any challenges, and as a result, any growth.

How can we as parents know when our love for our children isn’t loving at all? How can we give them the greatest chance for success in life? And how can we know when it’s time for our adult children to move out? Here are three signs that it is time for your Millennial to leave the nest and learn to fly.

 

When They Stop Struggling

Growth is always a struggle. It’s not supposed to be easy. Developmentally, this is where resilience is cultivated, where our identity, our confidence in our competence, and our purpose in life are forged.

Participation trophies don’t give kids a strong self-concept. Doing kid’s chores for them so they can sleep in doesn’t produce a strong, developed character capable of meeting their own physical, emotional, or spiritual needs. Only struggle, yes struggle prepares them to lean into life as well as their relationships in the midst of the storm without abandoning others when the going gets tough.

rawpixel-com-236143Malcom Gladwell offered, A lot of what is most beautiful about the world arises from struggle.

Albert Bandura described that, In order to succeed, people need a sense of self-efficacy, to struggle together with resilience to meet the inevitable obstacles and inequities of life.

So why do we parents remove every aspect of struggle from our children’s lives? Why do we desire for our children to remain fragile, weak and underdeveloped?

We need to begin seeing struggle as a gift—a good gift at that. When they are not struggling, when there is no external battle for forward momentum and independence, it is time for our Millennials to leave. Here are a few signs:

  • When they spend more time on the couch than we do, they are not struggling.
  • When they are not actively putting together and implementing a plan for school or work, they are not struggling.
  • When most of their day is spent sleeping, but their social life in the evening is busier than ever, they are definitely not struggling.
  • When they give you their grocery list and/or bills to pay, most likely they are not struggling.
  • When they don’t have money to pay for rent or the cell phone bill, but they have plenty of money for manicures, dinners out with friends, new clothes, and other luxuries, they are not struggling.

 

When They Stop Growing

From the time we are born until the time we die, we should be growing. We were created to grow. In some way, we should be moving, learning, stretching, and healing whether we are 5 yrs old or 50 yrs old. Yet many Millennials today prioritize enjoyment in life over growth. When they are not actively growing, they become sapped of energy and creativity, drained of the very curiosity that would engage them, focus them, or give them passion for something that could become their purpose in life.

Purpose does not come upon us externally as a lightning bolt. Purpose is only cultivated within.

murray-blogHome should not become a breeding ground for stagnation. Home should provide fertile soil for our adult children to grow. If we do not see them actively growing, then it is time for them to go. A new environment with all of its struggles and challenges is most likely the perfect environment for them to persevere, to overcome, to build purpose and to thrive.

American psychologist, Abraham Maslow stated, In any given moment we have two options: to step forward into growth or to step back into safety.

The question becomes, do we want our children to thrive, or are we more interested in them needing us? Do we get our sense of self as good parents by doing everything for our children, and for providing for all of their needs? Do we feel guilty that because we have been successful in life that we owe our children a certain lifestyle?   Are we afraid that if we don’t provide that our children, they will not figure things out?

Here are a few signs…

  • When it’s clear your child isn’t getting anywhere at work, they are not growing.
  • When your child has no definite educational, financial, or career goals with specific timelines, they are not growing.
  • When your child hasn’t offered to mow the lawn, do the dishes, clean the house, or run errands, they are not growing.
  • When your child isn’t developing healthy patterns and/or routines for eating, exercise, spiritual growth, or relationships, chances are they are not growing.
  • When your child continually demands their rights and freedoms while ignoring any responsibility or accountability, they are probably not growing.
  • When your child’s bank account does not increase by at least the monthly rent cost of a room or an apartment they would have rented, they are not growing.

  

When They Stop Dreaming

 Many of our life’s accomplishments began as a dream. I remember dreaming as a teenager and young adult of everything I longed for in life. I dreamed of career aspirations, I dreamed of marriage and family life, experiences, travel, and a million other aspirations. Somewhere in the process of dreaming, opportunities to invest in my dreams usually came alive.

If our adult children are not actively dreaming, actively imagining what their lives could be, they will not be in a position to connect with opportunity should it arrive. They will feel uncertain, doubtful, overwhelmed. They will not have the active, accelerated psychological energy to move when a door opens and to engage in the kinds of activities that will help them make their dreams come true.

dayne-topkin-76099When they are not dreaming, they are merely existing, and they will never muster the emotional energy it takes to leave. And no, gaming is not the same as dreaming. They need to be spending more time dreaming about their long-term goals than they do on immediate wants or needs.

Anais Nin said that, Dreams are necessary to life.

Victor Hugo also stated that, Each man should frame life so that at some future hour fact and his dreaming meet.

If they are not actively invested in planting emotional, financial, and occupational seeds for their future, it is time to leave. If they are not intentionally pursuing their dreams, they will never move beyond their dependency on us into independent adults.

Here are a few signs:

  • When their only dream is what you will be making for dinner, they are not dreaming.
  • When their dreams consist of what new video game, what new outfit, or what new vacation they want, they are not dreaming.
  • When most of their time, energy, and/or income is spent on entertainment, they are not dreaming.
  • When their greatest plans are about what they want right now instead of what they want for their lives later, they are not dreaming.
  • When they look to you to dream for them or provide their dreams to them, they are not dreaming.

 

We as parents love our children. We want them to succeed in life to build a bright and hopeful future. We must get out of the way.

Deuteronomy 7:9 tells us, Know therefore that the Lord your God is God, the faithful God who keeps covenant and steadfast love with those who love him and keep his commandments, to a thousand generations…

We must recognize when our own emotional issues are preventing us from taking the steps we need to take to help our Millennials take steps into their future, and get help to deal with our own emotional issues.

We can help them. We can love them. Most of all, we can pray for them. We can lovingly nudge them out of our living room and into their future. We can. We must. They are counting on us!

 


 

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!


 

David Stoop Ph.D.

 

Pay close attention to your life.

1 Timothy 4:16a, ISV

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?

andrea-natali-267263What 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.
 


 
David StoopDavid 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.
 
 
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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Gratitude, the Healing Attitude

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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 Knasel, M.A.

 

alexander-mils-instagram-com-alexandermils-146750My clients have a lot of stress and anxiety, and I’m learning that their attitudes play a huge role in this. I believe their attitudes are dramatically impacted by America’s culture. We are a society driven to achieve, keep up with the Joneses, and acquire bigger and better things. Many kids today come from two-income households and have more material possessions than previous generations. People are overextending their personal resources and yet are still driven to achieve more. They think they want more for themselves and their children, but they aren’t exactly sure why.

History has proven that increased prosperity does not always equal increased satisfaction. As my clients are caught up in the cycle of materialism, they find themselves dealing with insurmountable relationship conflict, anguish, hurt and bitterness. Most of the time they don’t realize this is caused by their underlying mind-set or attitude.

Scripture has a term for this; it’s called “covetousness.”

If I suspect covetousness is the source of my clients’ stress and anxiety, I stop and ask myself the following questions: Why are they pursuing what they want? Are they headed in the right direction? What’s their attitude toward achieving their desired goal? Are their attitudes healthy and productive, or are they destructive?

If my clients are seeking to grow based on a selfish desire, greed, or materialism, then I don’t believe it’s in their best interest if I coach them to achieve more.

jamie-street-319048For instance, Adriana came to me and was upset because she wasn’t as popular as some of her friends. She had just spent more than $300 buying bathing suits to look cute on the beach and gain attention from the guys and be popular. She’d incurred major bills for highlights, makeup, lotions, clothes, and the latest shoes and bags.

As a coach and licensed counselor, when a deep seeded issue like covetousness is revealed, I have to decide whether I can move my client forward using coaching or counseling. Sometimes coaching is all that’s needed, while other times counseling practices are necessary to help a client resolve underlying difficulties.

When I decide to continue coaching the client who is dealing with materialism, I have found success in helping them focus on gratefulness and contentment. When clients become grateful and content with God and His provisions, they become more peaceful and less anxious. Clients who are able to replace stress with gratitude end up being less self-absorbed and prideful, and more thankful for those around them. Appreciative clients make better choices and enjoy more positive relationships.

In Adriana’s case, she began to learn to thank God for the things she had and how to recognize the giver of these gifts. We worked on how to show gratefulness and how the lifestyle she was living was robbing her of the true joy of fellowship with God and the friendships that God placed in her life. We worked on developing some time for her to rest and count her blessings and reduced the time-robbers that were holding her back from true joy. We discussed what her material choices were bringing her and what she really wanted. We then set goals that would really move her in a direction that would bring her success based on solid biblical principles.

 

Coaching the Coach Tip:

aaron-burden-90144 How do we coach to help our clients feel grateful to God? One technique I’ve used is a thirty-one-day gratitude journal. On the left-hand side of an open journal, I ask my clients to list the three big stresses that are impacting their day. Then I ask them to pray and give these situations to God, followed by reading a chapter from the book of Proverbs that matches the day of the month. While reading from Proverbs, clients look for God’s wisdom that addresses to one of the three stressful situations and then apply the principle(s) that come(s) to light. That evening, on the opposite, right-hand side of the open journal, they list the blessings they’ve noticed throughout the day. Depending on their circumstances, they normally do this for a total of thirty-one days.

The gratitude journal exercise helps my clients focus on the fine and good things God has to offer rather than the stresses in life. In addition, it allows the Spirit of God to move their mind-sets from worry, grumbling, murmuring and complaining to seeing blessings and being grateful.

Once my clients have a chance to focus on what they are grateful for, I can help them problem-solve the real issues that are nagging them. After seeing how much God loves and cares for them, they gain a proper perspective and focus.

The gratitude journal is one way coaches can help their clients reduce stress caused by misguided desires. As my clients seek God and trust Him for insights, they are driven more by God and less by the pressures of society. I’ve been amazed witnessing how God uses a simple journal to change the attitudes of my clients and bring contentment into their lives.


Linda Knasel–M.A., L.P.C., is a nationally board certified coach and counselor. She lives in the Midwest and is married with two children. Linda is CEO of Walking Towards Solutions and G.R.O.W., and an independent contractor for Desert Streams Christian Counseling. Linda has taught at several colleges and universities including: Cornerstone University, Western Michigan University, University of Phoenix and Kalamazoo Valley Community College. She is an active member of the American Christian Counseling Association and International Christian Coaching Association.

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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Stonecutting or Cathedral Building?

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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!


 

Karen Porter

 

A well-known and often repeated story about construction goes like this. A traveler came across three stonecutters. Each was busy cutting a block of stone. The traveler asked the first, “What are you doing?”

The stonecutter answered, “I am cutting a stone!” The traveler asked the second the same question.

“I’m cutting this stone to be sure it is square and uniform,” he answered.

The traveler turned to the third stonecutter who seemed the happiest of the three. “What are you doing?” he asked.

The stonecutter replied, “I am building a cathedral.”

 

Instead of working with stonemasons, I coach aspiring writers and speakers. My goal is for each client to learn the craft of writing so that writing well becomes natural and comfortable. I work with speakers to not only develop interesting and compelling content but also to improve the use of gestures, facial expressions, voice control, and body language. Along the way, we work on life issues, set goals and dream big dreams. My greatest joy is to encourage a client to the point of seeing his or her eyes light up with hope and anticipation or to shine a new light on a difficult situation or to watch a dream take shape.

devan-freeman-2168For instance, my client Lesli is a consistent and meticulous woman who never gives up her dreams even though life has handed her some big struggles. Family issues, the death of her mother, and infertility could have left her without joy or faith.

Lesli’s dream of having children never came true. She did all the right things, followed doctor’s orders, and pursued every medical option. Even though she is past the traditional age for childbearing, she believes in miracles such as happened to Sarai, Hanna, and Elizabeth in the Bible. Her faith is strong in the face of disappointment.

Throughout her journey, a close relationship with God has helped her deal with well- meaning, but hurtful, conversations with people who don’t really understand her struggle.

Before she came to me for coaching, Lesli had already begun a ministry to other women who are experiencing the pains of barrenness. Her group, Dancing upon Barren Land, is a vibrant ministry of one of the nation’s largest churches, and more groups are forming in other cities. As she worked with this group of hurting women, she discovered the power and comfort and hope of praying Scripture. We began the process of putting these personal, beautiful, expressive prayers into a booklet format. We believe a woman who experiences the disappointment and frustration of childlessness will benefit from a purse-sized volume of Scripture-prayers when she feels angry or sad or when grief, jealousy, and fear overwhelm her. Lesli’s prayers were authentic and powerful to other women because she lives in their same situation. All she needed from me was a little technical help with the writing craft and the flow of thought.

Still, I felt something about Lesli’s journey was missing. Early one morning I spent a long time in prayer over Lesli and asked God to show me how to help her move forward to the greatness He had designed for her.

A few days later, we met to determine the next steps and future of the project. I sat back and observed Lesli as she read some of her work aloud. I saw a beautiful woman who appeared to have her act together on the surface. As she read, I heard the ache of her heart. Her disappointment and angst were tangible. I could feel her pain as her reaction to infertility hurt her to the core. Yet there was something else coming through the words and the way she expressed herself. I saw hope and peace.

I considered all the things I knew about her and how she worked through her discouragement and loss to find a way to help others. I remembered the months she worried over her mother’s illness and her sorrow upon her mother’s death. I recalled how the support of her five best friends (whom she calls her “five smooth stones”) carried her through the ordeal. I reflected on her strong marriage and the entrepreneurial adventures she and her husband have embarked upon. I knew she was becoming a gourmet cook. I recalled that she and her friends had recently taken a girl’s trip to New York City to explore and enjoy the sights. She had also shown me some new materials on teaching etiquette to children and corporate executives.

And then something amazing dawned on me—the coach.

ian-schneider-39679She had already found the key to living with disappointments and pain. She kept moving and living and working and ministering even though her dreams were on hold. She didn’t wallow in her pain; she lived while she waited.

As she finished reading, she looked up to find me smiling broadly.

“What?” she asked.

“Your prayers are beautiful, and I know they will be helpful to women who read your book, but I think you have something far more important to give to your readers. You need to write a chapter called: ‘Living Life to the Full while You Wait.’”

Lesli hadn’t thought much about her accomplishments. She had considered her disillusionment and frustrations as failure and her goal was to cope, but her greater legacy is her ability to find joy, purpose, and influence despite her regret and disappointment.

Instead of merely surviving, she has blossomed into an encourager and inspiration to others. She didn’t see it until I pointed it out to her that day. And I didn’t see it until I stepped back from the details of coaching writing skills to see the big picture of her life.

Since then an amazing thing has happened to Lesli. She has new energy and vision for her ministry, but she also has begun to dream even bigger dreams beyond her original ideas.

As a coach, I didn’t have a magic formula to help Lesli. In fact, I was focused on the skills, techniques, and methods of writing. I was looking at Lesli, the stonecutter, if you will. But when I prayed and took time to observe and put all the pieces together, a new idea appeared. I saw Lesli, the cathedral builder. When I communicated the idea to her, she was able to catch that vision of herself too and she was inspired and encouraged.

Coaching Lesli (and all my other clients) is more about developing life skills than writing or speaking expertise. Lesli still holds to her dream of bearing a child, and she still offers comfort and understanding to women. Now, however, she also encourages women to live to the fullest extent while waiting, to never let disappointment rule their lives, but to move forward with joy.

Coaching the Coach Tip:

Whether we coach life skills, decision making, career moves, writing, speaking, business skills, spiritual disciplines, financial competence, family dynamics, or goal setting, it is possible for us, as coaches, to focus too hard on the program and blueprint we have set out for our client. We can become a slave to the rubric, the step-by-step plan, we have laid out. We get caught up in the process of mere stonecutting.

Sometimes coaching is about listening. To the client. To God. And sometimes coaching is about stepping back and putting all the puzzle pieces together to get a new perspective and panoramic view of our clients as cathedral builders. As a coach I am learning not only to focus on the practical, mechanical techniques but also to take a long, broad look at the whole person. With a lot of prayer, God shows up with the right answer and lights the way for success. He is the God of the big picture. The heavens are His throne and He sees the big picture. He sees the cathedral.

 



Karen Porter
is an international speaker, author, and coach. She helps aspiring writers and speakers develop messages and careers. She and her husband, George, own Bold Vision Books a full-service traditional publishing house. They live near Houston, Texas, with their peaceful Great Pyrenees, Isabelle. Find more information about Karen at www.karenporter.com  and  www.boldvisionbooks.com

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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Coaching for Resilience: An Interview with Jennifer Cisney Ellers

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Elizabeth: Jennifer what’s your journey? Can you give a little background about yourself and how you got involved in life coaching?

 

annie-spratt-40664Jennifer: There were a few influences in my journey to adding Life Coaching to my list of skills. The biggest were two of my professional coaching colleagues who are also dear friends. The first person to encourage me to train to be a coach was Chris McCluskey. Chris was one of the first Christian counselors and AACC members to become a life coach. Chris was coaching before coaching was “cool”. He was ahead of the trend and one of the pioneers. I still refer people to Chris’s training on a regular basis. The other person who influenced my decision and who has been one of my personal mentors is former ICCA Director, Dwight Bain. Dwight convinced my that coaching was the helping profession of the future and that I should get on board. Dwight also helped me understand what type of coaching I should do and taught me a lot of what I know about being a coach. He taught me to coach what I know – using my personal and professional background and experience for a platform.

 

Elizabeth: How would you define resilience?

 

Jennifer: The textbook definition is the ability of an individual, group or entire population to “bounce back” or recover after a particularly difficult or challenging incident or event. But I personally define resilience as a test of our ability to surrender and adapt to God’s plan. Everyone faces times when we face difficult circumstances or things we did not want or plan for. The ability to trust God in those times and move forward in spite of pain, disappointment and grief really test our faith.   But trusting God in those times is what resilience is all about.

 

Elizabeth: How can a coach help clients build resilience (mentally, spiritually, etc.)?

 

Jennifer: It is important for a coach to be familiar with the research on resiliene and to understand the factors that build it. Resilience is like acquired immunity and much of it starts in our early years. I recommend Dr. George Everly’s book, “The Resilient Child” to really understand that. Then for coaches, it is about fostering people’s natural resilience. Most people have the resources and strength needed to bounce back from even horrific events, they just need someone to help them see the path and to believe in them. Coaches can help people see how resilient they really are and how to tap into that. The challenge can be when you are working with people who have not built up a natural resilience. You can still help people acquire higher levels of resilience, but it is not a quick and easy thing to do.   Often, people who have low levels of natural resilience will need to work with a mental health professional instead of a coach to begin to heal some of the deep wounds that can then allow formation of a more resilient self. They may also need to change they way they think and see the world. Some of that can be supported by a coach, but some of the more core issues may need help from a counselor. Coaches should have good assessment skills and know when to refer if the issues are more significant than a coaching relationship can provide.

 

Elizabeth: What are some ways coaches can develop resilience in their own lives?

 

Jennifer: That is a critical question. You can’t take others where you cannot go. I often break the factors of resilience into 3 main categories:

aaron-burden-210092

1. Faith – Without question, research shoes that a belief in something bigger than yourself (in God) and a strong spiritual faith is one of the primary factors in resilience. Coaches have to invest in their personal relationship with God and their own spiritual development. Meaning and purpose are the most important factors for long term recovery after crisis and trauma and that comes from a strong spiritual development and a deep faith.

2. Family and Friends – Social Support is also one of the primary factors in resilience. We have to have people in our lives that are there for us and love us unconditionally. We need people we trust and can count on to be there through tough times. It is critical to invest time in those relationships.

3. Fitness – That includes both physical and mental health. I think we all understand that a person who is in great shape physically can heal from injury and illness more effectively. The same is true of mental health. Those who have invested in creating strong mental health will be able to recovery more quickly. We can also forget that the mind and body are closely connected so mental and physical health are all part of overall wellness.   It is important for coaches to practice good self-care. That includes good sleep, nutrition and physical fitness. But one of the most important factors in resilience for all people is stress management. High stress levels compromise both our physical and mental immunity and therefore, lower our resistance and resilience. I think stress is the biggest enemy of resilience today for both coaches and their clients.

 

Elizabeth: Can you share a favorite resource, coaching exercise, or Scripture that would foster resilience?

 

Jennifer: The Institute for Compassionate Care is launching a youtube channel that will be resources for hope. Mostly, it will be stories of people who have experienced trauma, terrible loss or great suffering, but God has brought them out on the other side even stronger. The channel LiveLifeVideo and you can link to it from our website at www.institute4compassionatecare.com. But I also want to add a scripture that has helped me personally, Jeremiah 29:11 – For I know the plans that I have for you,’ declares the LORD, ‘plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope.

 

This reminds me that no matter what is happening, I can trust that it is somehow a part of God’s plan and I can trust Him.

 

Elizabeth: Tell us about The Institute of Compassionate Care. How have you seen resilience be essential in that work – for both your response teams and the individuals/families you serve?  

 

alex-wigan-16999Jennifer: All that we do involves helping people tap into their natural resilience and to help build resilience in individuals, couples, families and systems like businesses and churches. Anytime there is a crisis event, a natural disaster or a death, we can’t change the fact that something terrible has happened. Our role is to show people they are not alone and to come alongside them in their journey toward recovery and healing. The coming alongside involves helping people understand what resilience is and how to access that. It also means believing that God created us to be resilient.

 

Elizabeth: Can you share a story of resilience from your own life or from working with a client? How have you seen God move?

 

Jennifer: I see God work in my clients’ lives all the time but believe it is important to share our own stories. In 2003, I went through an incredibly difficult time. I became very physically sick and was experiencing some pretty bad compassion fatigue and burnout. I was not taking care of my own wellness. I had suffered from migraine headaches during my adult life and during a period in 2003, I had a migraine every day for 6 months. I ended up taking a medical leave from work and being treated in a hospital in Michigan. Thankfully, God and a wonderful treatment team helped me get back on my feet. But it required significant changes in my life and work and how I managed my own life. I had to learn the importance of caring for myself physically, emotionally, relationally an spiritually. I also had to learn that my value and worth to God are not based in what I do, but who I am. The things I learned during that crisis time in my life helped me tap into my own resilience and embrace a new walk with God that has helped me get through painful and challenging things since. By the way – I had a wonderful Christian counselor who helped in the early part of my recovery and a great life coach who helped me grow my life and career after my recovery. Having great helping relationships always makes us better and stronger.

 


 

Elizabeth Hixson holds an M.A. in Strategic Communication and a B.S. in Psychology: Life Coaching from Liberty University. She spends her days fostering career discovery and development in the students of Liberty University where she works as a career counselor. Elizabeth is passionate about using life coaching to come alongside individuals in areas of spiritual growth, seeing dreams fulfilled, and overcoming the fear of public speaking to help move them forward to victory. Her life mission is to “Help people see Christ’s victory” in their lives. Since August 2016, Elizabeth has served as the writer and editor for the International Christian Coaching Association’s (ICCA) monthly eNews publication. Elizabeth is a follower and lover of Jesus Christ, who enjoys time with family, fall weather, encouraging a heart, and views of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Elizabeth can be contacted at elhixson@liberty.edu.

 

cisney_jennifer1Jennifer Cisney Ellers, M.A., is a Professional Counselor, life coach, crisis response trainer, author and speaker. She conducts training, counseling and coaching in the field of grief, crisis and trauma through the Institute for Compassionate Care. Jennifer is an approved instructor for the International Critical Incident Stress Foundation, teaching several CISM courses. Also, Jennifer provides divorce coaching, training and speaking through Emerge Victorious, a ministry for women rebuilding their lives after divorce. She is the co-author of The First 48 Hours: Spiritual Caregivers as First Responders, with her husband, Dr. Kevin Ellers. In addition, Jennifer co-authored Emerge Victorious: A Woman’s Transformational Guide After Her Divorce with Sandra Dopf Lee.

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Networking

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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!


 

Rosemary Flaaten, M.A.

 

The successful networkers I know, the ones receiving tons of referrals and feeling truly happy about themselves, continually put the other person’s need ahead of their own.1

Bob Burg

You’re blessed when you’re content with just who you are–no more, no less. That’s the moment you find yourselves proud owners of everything that can’t be bought.

 Matthew 5:5 The Message

 

samuel-zeller-4138I walked into the elaborately-decorated room certain that the only person I would know was the client who had invited me. This event had been billed as an excellent networking opportunity, and so I eagerly accepted her invitation. I have never been one to shy away from situations where I do not know other people, but have relished the opportunity to expand my circle of acquaintances. Who knows, maybe I’ll even meet my next best friend.

As I mingled alongside my client, I quickly observed how well connected she was within this group of exceptional women in powerful positions. I shrugged off the little voice in my head that screamed that I didn’t fit into this crowd and instead set out to meet as many people as I could that evening. My goal was not simply to be introduced to one woman after another but to be as friendly as possible and to have some meaningful conversations. From experience I have learned that if I am genuinely interested in and curious about the person to whom I am talking, networking occurs. Conversely, if my goal is simply to promote myself and get as many people as possible to hear about me and what I do, people quickly turn away and the networking opportunity is lost.

rawpixel-com-250087Over the span of that two-hour reception, I met women from all walks of lifelawyers, administrative assistants, entrepreneurs, engineers, and CEOs. Most of the conversations were of the cocktail variety, but I left that evening amazed at the truth of the theory of six degrees of separation, which purports that everyone in the world is no more than six acquaintances from knowing anyone else. The statement “a friend of a friend” played itself out time and again with unpredictable connections.

During the chitchat at that influential cocktail party almost every person I met was connected to someone else I knew. We discovered mutual colleagues, a friend of a friend and even distant relatives and former neighbors. As is so often the case, most people were connected by four or five degrees. By just showing a genuine interest in them, the other person started to ask questions about what I did, which opened the door to talking about my coaching business and the benefits clients realize through coaching. This led to an exchange of business cards. Through follow up, a number of those women have become clients or have recommended me to people in their network.

 

Coaching the Coach:

 

Marketing can be one of the more stressful aspects of having your own business. We often feel awkward about promoting ourselves as coaches and, as Christians, we may feel that we’re guilty of pride when we tell others of the benefits of our services. But if we strongly believe in the value of being coached, then we need to get past our discomfort of self-marketing.

The way I have done this is to shift my thinking from marketing to networking. I have the God-given gift of the gab. I am a people person and strongly enjoy meeting new contacts. I consider it a personal challenge to out-do my own level of friendliness. I realize that there are many other types of personalities that are not as people oriented as I am. But I believe that if my attitude shifts from marketing to networking, my goal will no longer be just to promote my own work but to create networks where opportunities exist for many to benefit.

rawpixel-com-281361When I network, one of my goals is to help the people I talk to become better connected than they were when we first met. This might translate into my being able to talk about my coaching services, but it could also mean that I am able to connect them with a colleague who deals more specifically with their needs. When I approach conversations with this other-centered attitude, I am not just looking out for myself but rather making the other person’s needs paramount. Saying such things as “Have you ever heard about…?” or “I met someone the other day who was speaking about the same thing and they mentioned….” When we enter into conversations with this mind-set, people don’t feel like we are self-promoting. Instead, they feel heard and believe that we care about them.

Our coaching skills give us the ability to ask good questions and draw out of people their dreams and values. Let’s use these same skills to make connections and network with the people we encounter. In the long run we will all benefit.

Little gives me more pleasure than to help two strangers connect in a meaningful way that becomes a fruitful relationship, a strategic business contact, or a step towards significant life change. Just as in coaching, we don’t create change. Rather, we become partners in effecting change. It’s the same in networking. We help make connections that have the potential to effect change in their life and in ours.

 

1http://www.sdpnonline.com/SDPN%20-%20Goals.htm accessed on September 5, 2012.
 


 
Rosemary Flaaten, M.A., is a life coach, spiritual director, author, speaker, workshop presenter and Adjunct Professor at Rocky Mountain College. She specializes in personal development and relationship coaching, as well as career, transition and leadership coaching. Rosemary is widely published including her bestseller book “A Woman and Her Relationships” and “A Woman and Her Workplace”. Her breadth of experience and education makes her an internationally sought after speaker by secular and Christian organizations, including the American Association of Christian Counselors.
 
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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Three Signs Your Marriage Could Be Emotionally Bankrupt

marriage bankrupt

 Lisa Murray, M.A.

 

alvin-mahmudov-175064It was the perfect day for a wedding. Their eyes were filled with love and longing, their dreams diffused by tint of their rose-colored glasses.

Those early years together tore through like a whirlwind. The first little house, the first bouncing baby, the first big job promotion—it was all exciting, almost intoxicating—as if they were writing the opening chapters of their fairytale love story.

They had dreamed about how they would build their lives together. The sacrifices we make today will pay off in the end, they told themselves. One day we will have the dream. One day we’ll be living the dream.

It was all too good to be true, really. Whether it was the jobs, the moves, the kids, or the in-laws, without a whisper or a knock, the distance began to steal into their relationship and pull them apart.

One day she recognized that they no longer looked at one another, no longer sat on the back porch with their fingers intertwined, unwinding together as the sun stole beneath the horizon. There were many no longer’s, she pondered.

Many couples start their marriage with a spark and a fire that feels like forever only to wake up one day to the reality that emotionally, they are barely existing on fumes. We would never expect a fire to burn without something to fan the flames, but when there’s nothing left of our love but a few cold embers, we’re left wondering how we ever got to this place and how can we begin to heal the distance to find our way back to one another? Here are three signs your marriage could be emotionally bankrupt.

 

The absence of feelings

We have believed the lie that feelings are bad, that showing or expressing feelings is a sign of unforgivable weakness. When we first started dating, sharing feelings was different. Things felt so safe, so real. We were curious about anything and everything that had to do with our mate. Expressing emotions was as natural as the slow inhale before we said, I love you. Yet if we’re honest, most of our feelings back then were positive, as they should have been. We were in the slow waltz of falling in love.

Over time, however, once the honeymoon passes and we come face to face with many of the startling and messy realities of human connection, the negative feelings begin to mount and we no longer feel as safe with our partner as we did during our courtship. In that moment, many couples slowly start to shut down, turn away, and avoid the each other’s gaze.

We hide behind superficial exchanges and pale routines, focusing instead on the children, the schedules, and the responsibilities. The only feelings that crowd our hearts are the feelings of anger and resentment, the feelings of pure pain and rejection that we can barely stifle as we sit silently eating dinner, coolly conversing about everything and nothing at all.

When was the last heart-to-heart conversation you had with your husband or wife that didn’t include anger, accusations, or criticism? Do your primary interactions with your spouse center around the schedules and tasks of the day? How can you begin to share your deepest feelings, fears, and self with your mate?

You can foster resilience in your relationship today by engaging your feelings, not shutting them down. Take a risk, lean in and share. Don’t expect anything in return. Whether we get back what we think we want or need, we create opportunities for courage to flourish and intimacy to grow, simply by sharing.

 

Therefore encourage one another and build up one another, just as you also are doing. – 1 Thessalonians 5:11

 

A lack of compassion

 We all long for a safe place to land, a place where we can be seen and heard, a place where we can be accepted for who we are—our strengths and our weaknesses, a place where we can take risks, explore fresh curiosities. In a place that should be the safest place for us as individuals to heal and grow, our marriages often become battlefields where we are simply trying to avoid getting hit by the next round of fire.

We live in a world where compassion is scarce and criticism, control, and shame abound. Our relationships measure our imperfections, our failures and inadequacies. Because we are too afraid to own our individual shortcomings, we become masters at pointing out everyone else’s.

There is little room to risk when there is no compassion. Little desire to become vulnerable when so much of our safety is at stake. Little courage to engage when the sting of rejection looms so large in our hearts and our minds.

cody-black-327757We can foster compassion in our relationships by first learning how to be compassionate with ourselves. When we embrace our own belovedness, our worth, when we stop striving so hard for the unattainable and start giving ourselves a path towards acceptance, wholeness, and creativity, only then can we offer compassion to our spouses.

Can you begin to offer yourself more compassion, more kindness as you move through your day? Can you begin to offer your spouse compassion as they walk on their journey? Can you cheer them, comfort them, or encourage them? Can you offer them the same kindness you would like to be shown, even if they fail to acknowledge it or even reciprocate it?

 

So, as those who have been chosen of God, holy and beloved, put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. – Colossians 3:12

 

The absence of meaning

 In a recent article, psychologists Gary Reker and Phillip Wong, defined meaning as, The cognizance of order, coherence and purpose in one’s existence, the pursuit and attainment of worthwhile goals, and an accompanying sense of fulfillment. Meaning can help buffer against despair, withdrawl, and isolation.  Existential psychiatrist Viktor Frankl believed the need for meaning was a crucial force in people, from the time they were born until their last breath.

Meaning is the glue that connects the experiences of our lives in a story. Our shared story creates intimacy and closeness in our relationships. Meaning allows us to endure hardship and overcome suffering. Meaning weaves two hearts into one.

lista-murray-blog-photoWhen couples shut down their feelings, when they shut down compassion, they also shut down the meaning that comes from the narrative they write about their lives and their relationship. They stifle any meaning that comes from dreaming about their futures, their children and grandchildren. As a result, any intimacy is squashed and as they drift further apart, there is little to hold them together, little to fuel the connection their relationship needs in order to thrive.

Brene Brown shares the importance of meaning in our relationships by stating, Connection is why we’re here; it is what gives purpose and meaning to our lives.

 The life of Christ models for us a life built on meaning and connection. As Jesus walked with His disciples from city to city, preaching and performing miracles, at times encountering hardship and rejection, they created meaning for themselves on their journeys, and meaning for us today. How important it is in our relationships to dare to lean in, share our emotions, create our shared narrative, in a way that strengthens us for the journey ahead. Disconnection and distance destroys. Meaning magnifies. It strengthens our collective roots.

Can you begin to engage your spouse and share your struggles? Can you create a collective narrative based on your mutual beliefs and values that strengthens your connection? Can you dare to dream again?

Many individuals keep waiting for their partner to change before they will change, further continuing the cycle of heartbreak, distance, and despair. You don’t have to wait on anyone for you to face your fear and take the chance to lean in. It begins with one person who is willing to reach out toward courage, wholeness, and Emotional Abundance.

 

As we learn to express more feelings (other than anger), as we create more compassion in our hearts and with each other, and as we engage in cultivating meaning from our shared stories, we may wake up and discover our relationships becoming rich with connection and intimacy. We may find our marriages the safest place for us to heal and grow on our individual journeys. And we may cultivate a new way forward that not only prevents our marriages from becoming emotionally bankrupt, but allows us to experience an abundance we never knew existed.

 


 

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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Christ in the Coaching Session – An Interview with Katie Brazelton

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Elizabeth Hixson, M.A., with Katie Brazelton, Ph.D.

 

How do you incorporate Christ into the coaching session with your clients? Elizabeth Hixson, M.A., spoke with Dr. Katie Brazelton to explore this important topic, which we are privileged to share with you today!

 


 

Elizabeth: Katie, what’s your journey? Can you give a little background about yourself and how you got involved in life coaching?

 

Katie: Sure, I grew up in the 1950’s in a middle-class family with godly, loving parents and seven awesome brothers and sisters. With my dad being a career Navy man, we were stationed in Guam, the Marshall Islands, Hawaii, and eventually California. I think this gave me a sense of adventure, freedom to dream, and a belief that life is like a puzzle we put together over time. The pieces of the jigsaw are God-first, family, friends, your past, present, where you hope to go in life, your spiritual gifts, what you value, your innate talents and learned skills, your ministry and vocation, your longings weighed against your seasonal roles, and your ability to adapt to circumstances, overcome obstacles, and take risks.

By the mid-80’s, I dreamed continually of discovering my life purpose and writing a book about that journey. So with pure Navy-blood coursing through my veins, I traveled to Calcutta, India, and was given the rare opportunity of sitting with Mother Teresa. I asked her to tell me how she felt about the Calling on her life from Jesus. With a broad smile and a gentle pat on my arm, she told me that working for Christ was “pure joy!”

Years later, my spirit leapt as I remembered her words. At that moment, I knew it would be “pure joy” to do what I felt God had commanded me to do. I was to continue down my investigative pathway toward my unique purpose, so I could write a book about it. With this platform, I could walk alongside those who were searching for their purpose. I honestly thought that doing so would completely fulfill God’s calling on my life, thus lifting that passionate ache off my heart.

Imagine my surprise when God nudged me to rewrite my first 1985, unpublished book, so He could have it published as a four-part book series on the same day in March 2005. I was humbled and overjoyed, and I believed (albeit foolishly) that I had finished my One Big Thing, my God-given assignment on earth. My plan at that point was simply to return to the 50-minute coaching and strategic 2-day LifePlan coaching that I had been doing since 1992 and 1995, respectively. I was done, yes? No. God had only been warming up for a Bigger Reveal. Elizabeth, maybe we’ll have time to circle back around to this topic for what happened next.

 

Elizabeth: Sounds really good to me. What is your coaching niche?

 

Katie: I coach and teach students in my school [Life Purpose Coaching Centers International®] to coach only from a life purpose perspective. That means they can choose any niche from marriage, finances, career, ministry, health, etc., because they are coaching under the umbrella of God’s plan for their clients’ lives.

 

Elizabeth: When we say “Christ in the coaching session” what comes to your mind? How does that mindset change the way one’s coaching approach?

 

Katie: aaron-burden-58729What comes to mind for “Christ in the coaching session” is that we are to coach from an unabashedly Christian perspective, freely putting forth questions about God’s miracles, promises, and guidance in a client’s life.

I don’t believe we coaches were put on this earth to make people rich, famous, popular, or even successful, but to help them know Christ and follow Him. We were put on this earth to coach people to follow Him more obediently, so if He gives us a command, we obey it immediately and joyfully. And, I freely admit, I require coaching in this regard myself!

The mindset of “Always Remember Christ” and relying on Him in the coaching session changes everything! When I coach, I know my only purpose must be to do it in a way that bows down to Christ.

With all my imperfections, I still strive to be a coach for Christ and teach other coaches to be the same. Coaches can use their passions, skills, and brilliance for Him, instead of paying homage to themselves or being a people-pleaser. Christian coaches and their coachee are approved and loved by God, and He is our Audience of One.

 

Elizabeth: How can a coach be encouraged to make Christ the center of the coaching session?

 

Katie: Great question! Making Christ the center of the coaching session is easier when we have a brief devotion with the client. For example, Mark 10:46-52 is a Scripture passage that has profoundly changed my life, and it’s one I encourage coaches to use in their sessions with clients—after first meditating on it themselves. It recounts the blind man Bartimaeus receiving His sight from Jesus (who was actually on His way to Jerusalem to be crucified). It’s amazing to me that Jesus even stopped, let alone asked the man, “What do you want me to do for you?” Bartimaeus answers, “Rabbi, I want to see.”

Before coaches ever ask their clients the incredible question Jesus asked the blind man, they first need to ask themselves, “What do I want Jesus to do for me and to help me see?” In this way, they will be better equipped to help clients pray for Jesus’ help. Coaches and coachees might ask for something tangible from our Lord or that their eyes to be opened to the truth about a sugar addiction, spiritual growth, a job offer, their parenting, fears, friendships, etc. I have found this to be one definitive way a coach is encouraged to make Christ the center of the coaching session.

 

Elizabeth: What happens when a coach ignores Christ in the coaching session?

 

Katie: Well, to answer that, let’s first talk about what happens when a client ignores Christ. For example, I once coached a woman who came to my home for the two-day planning session about her unique life purpose. The woman, who was a Women’s Ministry Leader and referred to me by her pastor, came with her mind made up that she would have an affair with a married man. I tried to steer her in a godly direction to no avail. Her disregard for the Word of God and a pure life led me to terminate our coach-client relationship; I could not continue coaching her when her decisions were leading her away from Christ.

Now, to follow-up on what happens when the coach ignores Christ. Do any Christians working for the Lord really want to find out? Are they willing to reach that point—harming clients, damaging their own soul, calling down disfavor from our Creator, Savior, and King? No! So let me tell you how I really feel: It’s tampering with danger and bordering on evil to ignore Christ in the coaching session.

 

Elizabeth: Can you share a favorite resource, coaching exercise, or Scripture that you often use when you coach?

 

Katie: Yes, of course. I believe that coaches must make it a priority to open and close their coaching sessions in prayer. We teach coaches to personalize Scripture passages to pray over their clients. For example, why not insert their client’s name in the first line of a Psalm of David, like this one that follows?

jeffrey-wegrzyn-183858“Carol,* in times of trouble, may the Lord answer your cry. May the name of the God of Jacob keep you safe from all harm” (adapted from Psalm 20:1 NLT).

Another passage I like to personalize and pray over my clients is this…

“Therefore, since you, Carol, are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, strip off every weight that slows you down, especially the sin that so easily hinders your progress. And run with endurance the race that God has set before you, Carol” (adapted from Hebrews 12:1, NLT).

Of course, there are hundreds of other passages coaches can use to pray with and for their clients.

 

Elizabeth: What are some ways for a coach to rely more fully on Holy Spirit?

 

Katie: They can surround themselves with prayer partners and ask their clients to do the same; both need accountability partners.

Also, coaches can do Surrender Exercises (i.e. consider what needs to be given over to the Lord) often and ask their clients to do the same. One way to foster surrender is to go through following topics. They make great coaching segments with homework Action Steps assigned (i.e., client agrees to read, write, call, attend, reflect, pray, do):

  1. Revelation—Seek the Truth. Ask the Holy Spirit to show up during the surrender process.
  2. Investigation—Do your footwork and homework. Keep pursuing answers until you come to a conclusion of yea or nay about a surrender choice.
  3. Calculation—Count the Cost. Evaluate what might change if God decides to take what you have surrendered. Prepare emotionally and financially to let go of what you say you are going to surrender.
  4. Transformation—Think with the Mind of Christ. Set your sights on becoming more like Christ. Focus on Him and ask Him to transform your thinking.
  5. Declaration—Publicly give up control of your Will. Write out and share your surrender decision with another mature and trustworthy Christian and ask that person to hold you accountable.
  6. Dedication—Prayerfully begin. Surround yourself with one or more prayer warriors who will commit to praying, for as long as it takes, that you will actually do the surrendering! (LaserCoachSM Protocol © 2010 Katie Brazelton)

 

Elizabeth: Can you share a story of Christ in a coaching session and the power you witnessed from that?

 

alice-donovan-rouse-74481Katie: I have been fortunate to have many ideal clients who believe in the same credo I profess, which is basically this…

God has a plan for our lives. He made us with certain traits, abilities, spiritual gifts, and passions for the sole purpose of being and doing for His glory. When we embrace His plan, we are able to live a full, abundant, and purposeful life—one loaded with joy and significance. God loves to meet us at the point of our greatest desire, and He sends his Spirit to give us wisdom for each next step.

That being said, I’d love to share with you two memorable times I couldn’t believe the extreme power of Christ that I was witnessing. The first example is when one of my coach-trainees was prayerfully practicing a “Roadblocks to Your Greatest Desire” module on me in a tele-coaching session with thirty other students listening. She went so deep with me that I became totally absorbed in where she and Jesus were leading me—down an unbelievably insightful path that changed the course of my ministry. Her classmates said that it was like hearing a miracle-in-the-making!

The second example is when I was coaching Janie (assumed identity to protect the innocent!). I felt Jesus prompting me to ask her a simple question: What have you noticed during today’s session? She burst into tears and sobbed, “I must pull myself out of ministry leadership. I am so prideful and self-absorbed that, before today, I had never stopped to consider that I lie, poach ideas, act privileged, am demanding, ignore those I consider lesser-than’s, sing my own praises, and hardly pray anymore. I want a Reset Button to begin now to follow God’s plan for His glory.” Whoa…ONLY GOD! Proof to me once again that a coach is simply the Lord’s listener and the client’s recording secretary. Christ in these coaching sessions powerfully moved hearts—both Janie’s and mine.

 

Elizabeth: What growth have you seen in your own life as a result of coaching?

 

Katie: Coaching definitely started me on a path to a much-needed character upgrade. I began to understand that character is foundational to our universal purposes and also our unique purpose. I’m a much-better person than in 1985, when I started writing my first mentoring/ discipleship/ coaching curriculum. I still have a long way to go, but miraculously, God’s Spirit has coached me along to begin to understand the Character Makeover Principles (below) that we always teach our coach-trainees to personalize and use with their coaching clients. After all, isn’t there a great saying: “We teach what we most need to learn”? I think it should be updated to reflect: “We teach and coach what we most need to learn!”

Character Makeover Principles

  • Understand why God put you on earth. Search for true meaning and purpose in life. Experience the personal significance of living the life God designed you to live.
  • Learn to love God, others, and yourself deeply. Create better and more meaningful, unconditional relationships.
  • Let go of self-sabotage, fears, regrets, and impure motives, so you can follow God’s plan more wholeheartedly. And…definitely set boundaries.
  • Change your life focus from self-centered to God-centered.
  • Grow spiritually in every dimension, especially in faith, trust, and obedience.
  • Develop spiritual leadership skills and be the role model God intended. Coach others to practice the same habits, including how to seek Jesus in their everyday obstacles and heartaches.
  • Connect with other Christ-centered people who live for the eternal—for something bigger than self.
  • Discover and use your spiritual gifts, but perfectionism is not allowed!
  • Allow God to work in your life to BE and DO what He, and He alone, says is critically important during each season of your life.
  • Enjoy a more balanced, healthier lifestyle.

(Adapted from book, Character Makeover ©2007 Katie Brazelton)

 

Elizabeth: How have you seen God move?

 

Katie: As I said earlier when referring to God’s Bigger Reveal in my life, “God had only been warming up,” so here is a snapshot of the “To Him be the Glory” story to-date: Little did I know that four more books and a quadruple-Board-Certified Coach Training Center were to come. By 2007 I realized God was prompting me to launch Life Purpose Coaching Centers International® (LPCCI). It seemed that He wanted me to fully train, prepare, and equip sold-out Christians to open life purpose coaching ministries globally. But wait…would that be my Swan Song? Remarkably enough, no. Currently, God is launching the non-profit arm of LPCCI, so we can reach multitudes more of coach-candidates and their clients worldwide. This 501(c)(3) is Life Purpose Training Ministries (LPTM), and I have this funny feeling that God is just getting started.

 

*Names changed for privacy

 


 

Elizabeth Hixson holds an M.A. in Strategic Communication and a B.S. in Psychology: Life Coaching from Liberty University. She spends her days fostering career discovery and development in the students of Liberty University where she works as a career counselor. Elizabeth is passionate about using life coaching to come alongside individuals in areas of spiritual growth, seeing dreams fulfilled, and overcoming the fear of public speaking to help move them forward to victory. Her life mission is to “Help people see Christ’s victory” in their lives. Since August 2016, Elizabeth has served as the writer and editor for the International Christian Coaching Association’s (ICCA) monthly eNews publication. Elizabeth is a follower and lover of Jesus Christ, who enjoys time with family, fall weather, encouraging a heart, and views of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Elizabeth can be contacted at elhixson@liberty.edu.

 

brazelton_katieKatherine Brazelton, Ph.D., M.Div., M.A., P.C.L.C., has authored eight “life purpose” coaching books translated in as many as 12 languages. Some titles include the Pathway to Purpose 4-book series, The Way I’m Wired 2-book series and DVD for youth pastors/students/parents, and the One-Year Recovery Prayer Devotional: 365 Daily Meditations toward Discovering Your True Purpose. Dr. Brazelton is founder of the Board-Certified Coach Training Provider, Life Purpose Coaching Centers International®. The school trains Christians internationally to become Professional Certified Life Coaches (PCLC). She is a Board Member for both Rockbridge Seminary and the International Christian Coaching Association (ICCA) and on the teaching team of AACC’s DVD-training series: Life Coaching 101+201. For more information, visit http://www.katiebrazelton.com/http://www.lifepurposecoachingcenters.com/.

Dr. B. would love to meet you at her 2017 AACC World Conference Workshop #408: The Standout Coach: Creative, Bold, Persistent, and Eager to Learn What Works!

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Impeded By Our Baggage

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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!


 

Rosemary Flaaten, M.A.

 

Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.

Philippians 3:13b-14 NIV

 
“Baggage” can refer to the suitcases we take on trains, planes, and automobiles, but it also is a quasi-psychological term that refers to the emotional things that encumber us. Our baggage restricts our freedom, development, or adaptability.

chad-madden-177126Imagine being at a track-and-field meet. Imagine a young runner who is not wearing the best cleats and aerodynamic clothing but is wearing snow boots and carrying a suitcase loaded with textbooks. Now imagine that person attempting to jump hurdles. Getting over each hurdle would be a major feat, given the baggage he or she is toting.

After we have worked with our clients to help them identify their goals and choose a path that will help them realize these aspirations, our role as a coach is to point out the hurdles and hindrances that pop up as our clients work toward these objectives. One of the benefits of having a coach is having an additional set of ears and eyes on the lookout for the baggage that weighs them down.

But what about the coach? Do we as the coach have baggage that is holding us back?

A story in 1 Samuel 8-9 helped me see my baggage in a whole new light. Let me retell it: “We want a King!” demanded the Israelites. So, God gave them the desires of their hearts and chose Saul whose view of himself was this: “I’m only a Benjamite, from the smallest of Israel’s tribes and from the most insignificant in the tribe at that” (1 Samuel 9:21, NIV paraphrase).

One would think that Saul, having been chosen by the most highly respected prophet of the day, having been told that he was to become a leader for the people, and having experienced such personal transformation, would move into this new role with enthusiasm. Unfortunately, it didn’t happen that way.

The people were assembled. The crown was ready. Saul’s name had been called, but where was he? Samuel couldn’t find him, so he inquired of God.

God’s response should stop each one of us in our tracks. God found Saul, the man He had chosen and equipped to become king. Everyone discovered “he has hidden himself among the baggage” (1 Samuel 10:22b, NIV). Saul’s sense of inferiority based on his heritage became baggage that impeded his movement into the role God had for him.

dominik-martin-675This story resounds strongly with me. I grew up on a farm in a small, rural Canadian community with parents who lived simple lives. Emotional struggles were sidelined in favor of the philosophy of buck-up and work hard. Faith was uncomplicated and practical. Like Saul’s view of self, “I’m only a Benjamite, from the smallest of Israel’s tribes and from the most insignificant in the tribe at that,” my view of myself was similar. “I’m only a little farm girl, from the smallest of families and from the most insignificant country at that.” Thinking I was anything greater seemed pretentious and prideful.

Roll the clock forward 30 years: I have a master’s degree in Christian Counseling, I have successfully published two books, and I’m coaching individuals of substantial influence. But I still struggle not to hide out in the baggage of my heritage. My family origin of meager means becomes baggage that makes me hesitant to step into circles I would never have dreamed about as a child. My perception of my past keeps me from entering a client’s world. I focus on the fear that I will have nothing of value to say to this influential person because of who I used to be. If I allow it, my baggage from the past pulls me away from relationships and creates obstacles hindering me from becoming who God has called me to be.

By studying Ephesians, I am learning how not to hide in my baggage. Paul, speaking about the mindset of non-believing Gentiles, describes baggage as “the futility of their thinking” (Ephesians 4:17). The word “futile” means that something is ineffective and useless. How have we come to think of ourselves as useless?

He also says “they are darkened in their understanding” (Ephesians 4:18).

Darkness causes us to be cautious, even paralyzed, holding us back in fear. This leads to hardening of our hearts (Ephesians 4:18). A path that is walked over time and again becomes packed and hardened. As disciples of Christ, we don’t want to think like unbelievers. Yet, how often have we replayed the message of our heritage, creating a rigid view and a hardened heart?

But listen to the hope that God offers in Ezekiel 11:19. “I will give them an undivided heart and put a new spirit in them; I will remove from them their heart of stone and give them a heart of flesh.” We don’t have to have futile thinking. We don’t have to have an understanding of ourselves that is darkened and impossible to decipher. We don’t have to live with a hardened heart.

Ephesians 4:22-24 NIV sets a new course of action. “You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.”

Let’s all stop hiding in the baggage compartment where we feel safe. Let’s forget what is behind–our baggage–and press on toward the goal God has marked out for us.

 

Coaching the Coach Tip:

vitaly-152442There are three steps to learning a new way to think about yourself: Put off the old, allow God to change your attitude, and embrace the new you. The first step is to “put off.” Like old clothing stripped off our bodies, we can be free of them. We don’t have to walk around encumbered with a view of ourselves that represents yesterday. God is offering us a new set of clothing, not to put on over top of our old, but after we take off the old.

Second, after the old is gone, we are to allow God to change the attitude of our minds. Emotional baggage is not something physical that we carry around but rather a mental entity. It is the baggage of yesterday that God desires to deal with so that we can move away from the old view of self that restrains us. God is offering to change the attitude of our minds.

Third, as the final step, we are to embrace the new us. We are to wear the “new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.”

Time and again we have all seen the baggage from the past that encumbers our clients, but we too are at risk. Our ancestral heritage, upbringing, the things we did as a teenager, or what we came to believe about ourselves in any of the past decades of our lives can become an inhibitor of what we are called to do. It doesn’t have to be that way. We owe it to ourselves and our clients to do the hard work of handling our own baggage. Allowing God access to our hearts will provide the Holy Spirit with the opportunity to reprogram the way we think about ourselves so that we more closely reflect God’s view rather than the warped view we have held. What an incredible opportunity to become more than we had ever dreamed possible.

What’s holding you back?

 


 
Rosemary Flaaten, M.A., is a life coach, spiritual director, author, speaker, workshop presenter and Adjunct Professor at Rocky Mountain College. She specializes in personal development and relationship coaching, as well as career, transition and leadership coaching. Rosemary is widely published including her bestseller book “A Woman and Her Relationships” and “A Woman and Her Workplace”. Her breadth of experience and education makes her an internationally sought after speaker by secular and Christian organizations, including the American Association of Christian Counselors.
 
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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Listening to God About Your Practice

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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!


 

Matthew Reed

 

For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.

Jeremiah 29:11 ESV

 I entered the world of coaching for one primary reason; I had a great coach. I was blessed to spend the better part of a year working with Fran LaMattina, MCC. Fran helped me navigate a season in which I left my role as staff pastor at one of America’s 100 fastest- growing churches. I spent a great deal of time in prayer and searched for God’s next steps for me, and He clearly led me to coaching.

marvin-rhodes-82014During my training as a coach at the Professional Christian Coaching Institute, I participated in a thorough discussion of the power of a compelling life vision, purpose, and mission. I felt like my long season as a pastor and my gifting as an encourager made coaching the clear path for my life, but having a life vision to be a great coach wasn’t compelling for me. I needed a different vision. I also learned in my training that the one important dynamic that gives us as Christ-centered coaches a genuine leg up on others in our field is that we aren’t alone in our process. We have the power of God aligning us, guiding us all along the journey of coaching. We see how God intervenes all the time with clients, but sometimes we forget that God is also present in the development of our practices.

I began to turn to God and ask Him to reveal a clear and compelling vision for my coaching practice and my life. I felt foolish that I hadn’t really asked God what my version of coaching should look like and whom should I coach. He provided amazing clarity and gave me with a clear vision for practice: “Make the world a more effective and God-honoring place through coaching.”

When I first put these words on paper it felt far too audacious, too lofty. I nearly threw it away forever, but again God intervened and reminded me that since He provided the vision, He’d provide the method. But how could a coach, especially one with limited experience, “Make the world a more effective and God honoring place”? He was weaving that together too!

During my last assignment as a pastor, I was responsible for reaching out into my community. As a part of that, I worked with the local chapter of the Christian Medical and Dental Association (CMDA). I was honored to serve as their chaplain. During that time, I recognized a repeated theme: Doctors have lives that are far out of balance.

Scheduling time for them to fellowship together was almost impossible because of the frantic pace mandated by their careers. My anecdotal experience with the CMDA led me to explore the world of medicine and burnout. The results were alarming.

doctor-563428_640Medical professionals, doctors in particular, are burning out and leaving the field unlike any other time in history. According to a University of Rochester School of Medicine study, more than half of all doctors are getting burned out. More than 30 percent of all doctors say that they would like to be out of medicine within the next five years. Looming medical reforms, greater legal risks, and convoluted spiderwebs of insurance reimbursement have doctors and other medical professionals looking for a way out. Having fewer doctors creates a greater societal need for those that exist. As a result we have less availability to medical care. And even more stress is placed on the doctors who remain. The general perception that doctors are unhappy means many highly capable students that would have entered medicine a generation ago are instead looking for other career paths. This results in fewer future medical advances. Society needs good doctors and medical professionals. The world can be more effective and God honoring with more effective and God-honoring medical workers.

During my season of soul searching, the CMDA chapter invited Dr. David Levy to speak to local medical professionals. Dr. Levy is a world-renowned brain surgeon and is the author of Gray Matter in which he details his spiritual transformation when he started praying with his patients. His presentation was amazing and informative. In the middle of it, Dr. Levy threw a curveball to the crowd by talking about the Sabbath–taking one day in seven to rest and worship.

“I take a twenty-four-hour period each week off, but it wasn’t always that way,” Dr. Levy said. “I was raised with an understanding of the Sabbath, but as I became a doctor I was taught that I was exempt from it. I took pride in that.” Dr. Levy learned, though, that the concept of observing the Sabbath is good for everyone. “I have to fight for it and schedule it.”

Dr. Levy talked about how important it is to totally unplug, which he inferred meant no phone, no media, and so forth. He talked about how the brain physically needs this rest to properly balance, and how productivity increases when we unplug.

While listening to Dr. Levy, I received my final confirmation; God was going to use me to impact the world by coaching doctors and medical professionals.

olu-eletu-11779Immediately after this evening with Dr. Levy, God started sending influential medical clients my way. The Chief Operations Officer of one of America’s largest healthcare networks asked me to be his coach. His goals were to improve balance his work and personal life and to establish his priorities. Another client was a health physicist at a globally renowned cancer treatment facility. He needed help at staying mentally and emotionally present at home with his family.

I’ve learned so much by working as a coach, particularly in the medical community. Medical professionals are deeply rewarding to coach because of their purposefulness to do the needed hard work. They see the value of ongoing professional development, so the act of personal development seems natural to them.

I’ve found that there are few coaches reaching out to medical professionals, and virtually none from a Christ-centered perspective. I am grateful that God gave me a vision to make the world a more effective and God-honoring place through coaching.

 

Coaching the Coach Tip:

 It’s easy as a Christian coach to see things like our niche or our marketing strategy as purely secular endeavors. In reality, God uses these things, like showing me the niche of coaching doctors, to reveal His larger will. We encourage our clients to listen to God through the process and we try not to rush to develop a strategy. Often for our own practices, however, we put some things, like which niche to peruse, into the secular box and rush to strategize without first flooding our thoughts and ideas in prayer and listening to God.

God has plans for each of us. Talking and listening to Him is vital for discovering those plans. Without talking to God and looking and listening for where He was speaking I would have missed the best strategy for my coaching practice, God’s.

 


Matthew Reed is a coach, speaker and blogger at www.matthewreedcoaching.com. Before entering coaching Matthew spent 16 years pastoring at two dynamic and fast- growing churches. His specialty is helping professionals, particularly those in medicine, who are successful in the workplace achieve the same level of success in their personal lives. In addition to coaching, he serves on the steering team of Christ Healthcare Ministry of Orange/Sullivan Co. NY, a free clinic seeking to share the Gospel through medicine.

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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