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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Coaching the Single-again Christian

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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!
 


 

Elizabeth Gaston Cunningham

 

The LORD will guide you always;

he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land and will strengthen your frame.

You will be like a well-watered garden, like a spring whose waters never fail.

Isaiah 58:11

 
After her divorce, it took six years and three recovery groups for Sidney to feel ready to date again. She’d been married for twenty-one years to her high-school sweetheart. Now, at the age of forty-six, she was trying online dating. The experience was both exhilarating and terrifying, she confided. It was exhilarating because of her ardent hope for new love. It was terrifying because the other women on the online dating websites somehow seemed “more attractive . . . more confident . . . more with-it.”

sergey-zolkin-192937After numerous coffee meetups and dates with men from the sites, Sidney was exhausted and uncertain. “It’s like a part-time job,” she lamented. “Each night, I sift through online profiles, winks, likes, pokes, requests, voice mails, texts, and emails. And then there’s the sexual component. I’ve had a few dates with Justin, a wonderful man from my singles group. I like him a lot, but last weekend, he suggested the two of us go on an overnight camping trip. I don’t know what to expect—or if I can truly trust him.”

Through our coaching relationship, Sidney sought to clarify goals, identify expectations, and establish boundaries that would guide her as she ventured back into the brave new world of dating.

I suggested Sidney make a list of character traits that she considered important in a potential mate—a list of “must haves” and “can’t stands” that she would not be willing to compromise. Sidney enjoyed the assignment and came back the next week with a well- considered list, which we discussed, item by item. This exercise also provided her with objective criteria she could use to evaluate her relationship with Justin. While she hadn’t given it much thought before, Sidney now realized that his habit of dealing impatiently with service staff at restaurants and shops was a concern of hers, which she needed to stop ignoring.

To help Sidney gain more self-awareness, I asked a colleague to administer the Myers-Briggs and Enneagram personality-preference assessments, and then meet by phone with Sidney and me to review results. Sidney was intrigued by these two new lenses through which she could interpret her temperament. The tools also helped her pinpoint significant differences between Justin and herself. This led to discussions about what often draws men and women together initially (differences) versus what tends to bond them long-term (similarities).

Though intellectually she grasped the concept of moral purity, Sidney confided she struggled with the notion that two middle-age adults, both sexually active during decades of marriage, would need to wait until after marriage to resume sexual activity. This led to a number of conversations exploring the meaning of love from God’s perspective.

I noted that many singles approach love backwards. That is, they become involved romantically and physically and then, sometimes, they develop a deep meaningful friendship. In even rarer cases, the relationship progresses to true unconditional love, which seeks the highest and best for the other person.

gerrit-klein-85300“God’s progression for relationships is just the opposite,” I said. “We are to begin with what the Bible calls agape love—seeking the highest and best not only with those we date but with everyone in our lives, and then, as the Lord leads, progress to a deepening friendship while preserving the deeply sexual expressions of love for after marriage. Besides honoring God, this progression helps couples maintain their objectivity and hear from the Holy Spirit as they seek His guidance for their future.”

I suggested Sidney read June Hunt’s book Biblical Counseling Keys on Dating, which address this progression, and many other helpful topics, in more depth. We also explored the body-soul connection, which God hardwired into sex, as Sidney read Sex and the Soul of a Woman by Paula Rinehart. Guided by this book, she and I discussed the profound emotional and spiritual impact sexual intimacy has on women, in particular, and why sex outside of marriage, regardless of one’s age, can be deeply damaging.

Sidney confided that her physical relationship with Justin already was progressing much faster than their friendship. She also realized she was paying little attention to seeking God’s highest and best for the men she was dating.

In the weeks to come, Sidney and I enjoyed many stimulating discussions about the proper focus of dating, namely “not a rabid hunt for Mr. Right, but an earnest quest to become the person God designed us to be.” In the process, I drew out a deeply held fear that Sidney was not even aware she had: the fear that, if she were to remain single, her deepest needs may never be met.

“The truth is, God has promised to meet all of your needs,” I assured her. “He may choose to meet them through a husband. But even if He doesn’t, you can count on His promises to meet your deepest needs for love, security, and significance.” I referred her to Lawrence Crabb’s book Understanding People: Deep Longings for Relationship. I reminded her of what God’s Word says: “The LORD will guide you always; he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land and will strengthen your frame. You will be like a well-watered garden, like a spring whose waters never fail.” (Isaiah 58:11).

ben-white-131958Safe People: How to Find Relationships That Are Good for You and Avoid Those That Aren’t by Henry Cloud and John Townsend  helped Sidney learn how to identify, and be, a safe person—one who is capable of entering into healthy relationships. Another excellent book by Cloud and Townsend, Boundaries in Dating, addressed many of her remaining questions about what is, and isn’t, appropriate in Christian dating relationships.

After a weekend-long “silent retreat” to focus on hearing from God, Sidney decided to take a break from dating altogether, including her relationship with Justin, in order to recalibrate. “The ground we covered during our coaching sessions has given me the tools I need to approach dating with a fresh perspective,” she said. “I have new confidence that, regardless of whether a new husband comes my way, I can trust God to be my hope and my future. And for me, that is enough!”

 
Coaching the Coach Tip:

Today’s media-based culture provides unprecedented opportunity for, and pressure on, Christian singles reentering the world of dating. Helping them clarify goals, identify expectations, and establish boundaries can provide invaluable support during their journey. If you have experience in that area, consider making it a coaching specialty.
 


 
Elizabeth Gaston Cunningham is an Accredited Business Communicator and Credentialed Christian Life Coach with 35 years of experience leading corporate communications and public relations in for-profit and non-profit organizations. Formerly Executive Director of Employee Communications and Ethics at financial services giant USAA, Elizabeth now serves as Special Assistant at Hope for the Heart, a worldwide biblical counseling ministry, where she assists with social media, trade books, public relations, and a variety of other communication projects.
 
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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Journaling for the Soul

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Excerpted with permission from Journaling for the Soul: Slow Down, Replenish, Exhale [A Handbook of Methods], by author, speaker, and life coach Deborah Haddix. Want to read more? Click here to purchase!


Deborah Haddix, ACLC

Something is missing.  Something important and necessary to the very health of our client’s soul (and often to our own).

The busyness of life has made its migration into the depths of our being, squeezing God out.  Our soul aches as it cries out for time with Him, but in the noise it is not heard.

Through the spiritual practice of Journaling for One’s Soul we can help our clients eliminate the hurry, bring quiet for hearing, and create much needed space for meeting with God.


What is Journaling for the Soul?

cathryn-lavery-67852

  • Simply defined, Journaling for the Soul is a way to connect with God at a deeper level.
  • Foundational to this discipline is the journaling process — one that invites us to record our experiences, observations, ideas, and reflection on a regular basis.
  • Journaling is a tool for soul care. Used as a spiritual discipline, it helps us grow in grace, experience truth, and discover His character.
  • The process of Journaling for the Soul strengthens other spiritual disciplines.
  • Journaling our Bible study can lead us to new insights. Combine journaling with prayer, and our prayers become more concrete which in turn facilitates better communication with our heavenly Father. Incorporated into the discipline of simplicity, journaling leads to genuine and unhindered praise and worship.
  • Journaling for the Soul is about engaging:
    • Our mind and our body as we become focused and involved.
    • Our creativity as we consider our God-wiring and discover fun and meaningful ways to meet with Him.
    • With other spiritual disciplines. For example, journaling will help you engage with the Bible text, moving you from the act of reading for information to reading for transformation.

Journaling for the Soul helps us move away from our old mindset that spiritual practices are draining obligations and helps us view them as practices that connect us to God, His grace, His energy, and His joy. It’s a tool for engaging more intentionally and consistently with God, a means for getting to know His heart (John 17:3).

As one is able to move toward this new mindset discovering methods of Soul Journaling that speak directly to their heart and draw them in, a practice of more intentional and consistent engagement with our heavenly Father will be cultivated. The soul will be nourished as it is filled with God’s grace, His energy, and His joy. Christ will be known more fully.


 

Deborah Haddix is a certified Life Coach, speaker, and the author of five books including Journaling for the Soul: Slow Down, Replenish, Exhale. She is a contributing author for Write Changes: Stories of Transformation Through Journaling and is on the faculty of the National Association of Christian Journal Writers. Deborah specializes in spiritual development coaching and workshop presentations. To learn more visit deborahhaddix.com.

 

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Unrepentant and Unwilling

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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!
 


 

Katie Brazelton, Ph.D., M.Div., M.A.

 

Repent, and turn from your sins. Don’t let them destroy you!

Ezekiel 18:30 NLT

 
matthew-henry-130381Over the past several decades as a Life Purpose Coach® and Life Plan Facilitator, I’ve heard more sad stories from clients than my heart can bear sometimes. I’ve grieved, for example, with a woman who accidentally backed a car over her toddler sister years earlier. I’ve helped others whose homes and church had flooded, whose spouse had cheated, whose childhood was ripped away by sexual abuse, whose parents had moved thirty-two times, whose businesses and ministries had failed, whose brother had hanged himself, and whose child was terminally ill.

From these types of intense coaching sessions, I’ve come to understand that God can take any life story and turn it into a soul-winning testimony for his glory. In fact, my all-time favorite client is a 56-year-old woman whose most frequently-used words and expressions were the likes of, “I, me, my, mine, princess, queen bee, daddy’s girl, it’s all about me, and it’s my way or the highway.” When her pattern of pride became obvious to her in our conversations, she wept like a baby, thanked God for revealing the truth to her, and immediately asked him for forgiveness.

But no client has ever caused me more consternation than a woman whom I’ll call Sandy. I first met this married, ministry leader over the phone when she called me upon her pastor’s recommendation. He suggested she talk to me about enlarging her ministry role at church, based on my perception of God’s unique plan for her life. I was impressed by Sandy’s servant’s heart in my pre-screening interview and felt honored to accept her as a client.

The big day arrived for our first appointment, which I decided would be at my home to make the experience as lovely as possible for her. I had huge sunflowers smiling on the entryway table, an eclectic array of china preset on the dining-room table for tea and biscotti, and the drapes opened wide to capture the lake view. I was prayed up and had prayer partners covering us.

brooke-cagle-158013The doorbell rang, and as I met Sandy on the front porch, she said, “I’m so glad I’m here.” We were off to a great start in my doorway, until she blurted out, “I want to talk to you, because my daughter married beneath herself.” I was stunned. Where was the sweet Sandy? I braced myself for a tough session and once again asked God to guide me.

As she signed my guest book in the entryway, she made this announcement: “I just came from lunch at the yacht club.”

Okay, no big deal. She was probably just trying to make small talk, based on getting a glimpse of the lake outside my windows, but I did make a mental note to watch for signs of Better-Than-You Syndrome and Pay-Attention-to-Me Disease.

Off we went to the dining room table. I hadn’t even finished doctoring up my tea; we hadn’t even opened our coaching session in prayer, when out of the blue, Sandy shared with a grin, “I’m in love with a married dentist.”

Oh, man, what was I supposed to do with that?

Let me spare you the gory details about her intentions to have an affair with the dentist, with whom she’d just had lunch at the club; I’ll even spare you the two sermonettes I gave her about adultery. I used every probing question, listening skill, intercessory prayer, and exhortation I could think of, to no avail. Sandy was not budging from her stubborn disregard for God’s commandments, yet she had come seeking his will for her life. So, I did what I had to do. I moved her to the living room for a change of scenery, tempo, and tone, mainly so I wouldn’t be tempted to “guilt trip” her or to give up before God released me from the coaching session.

I was convinced that my new strategy would work. All I had to do was get her talking about God’s call on her life; then I could circle back around and calmly ask her how an affair and ensuing ministry scandal would affect God’s magnificent plans for her. I didn’t let on about my mastermind intentions, and she didn’t suspect a thing in my stealth approach. Boy, did she light up like a Christmas tree, when we discussed her One Big Thing that God called her to do. When I realized that her primary motives for wanting to know her “thing” were to satisfy her curiosity and for bragging rights, not follow- through, my intuition told me to redirect the session toward character formation. But I felt like I had her just where I wanted her with the repentance deed being all but done; soon she’d be sobbing tears of remorse in my arms–so I resolved to stay the current course.

My plan of circling back around to her affair was foiled; she never did bend, break, weep, or show any sign of concern about her emotional affair. At that point, my spirit was so grieved that I could barely contain my sorrow. I heard God asking me to stop the sham, and he called to mind the words of my personal Life Plan Facilitator, Tom Paterson, who’d written Living the Life You’re Meant to Live. Tom’s voice in my head was saying, Stop. Don’t participate in the mockery she’s making of God’s will. If she’s unwilling to walk away from her sin, she’s unwilling, and there’s nothing you can do about it. Make no apologies for ending the session now.

nordwood-themes-162462Oh Lordy Mercy, I didn’t know if I had the wherewithal to be a tough-love coach. Thoughts rushed through my mind like a raging river: Where did I go wrong as a coach? What will she tell her pastor? How will I ever explain this difficult situation to the coaches I train? She’s paid me quite handsomely! Do I owe her a refund?

I watched myself stand up tall and I heard myself say to her calmly, “Sandy, we need to end our session now. I’d be happy to suggest the name of a Christian therapist, who can help you see the spiritual danger you’re in, but I can’t help you anymore. I strongly urge you to pull yourself out of ministry immediately. If you’re willing to be honest with your pastor, I’ll help you prepare for that meeting. (Pause. Inhale. Exhale.) Let me walk you to the door.”

We parted cordially, and I never heard from her again. I’ve replayed that coaching session hundreds of times in my mind, looking for what I could have done differently, but I’m still stymied.

I pray that you’ll find countless ways to help countless clients turn their lives around for God, and I pray that you’ll have the wisdom and courage to walk away from those who are unrepentant and even unwilling to discuss truth.

 

Coaching the Coach Tip:

Strive to be a humble, non-judgmental, Luke 15 coach for straying sheep–a coach who cares deeply about sinners and remembers, “…there is joy in the presence of God’s angels when even one sinner repents” (Luke 15:10 NLT). But here’s a good rule to memorize: When a client shows no remorse for sin and is unwilling to even consider the truth, don’t continue throwing pearls to swine (Matthew 7:6 NASB). When God says, “Enough of that stubborn pride!”–refer the person to a counselor, who can take a more clinical approach about underlying causes for the client’s ungodly, rebellious behavior. And don’t let a bad experience sour you. Keep doing excellent work for the Lord with those who desire biblically-based coaching.

 


brazelton_katieKatie Brazelton, Ph.D., M.Div., M.A., is an ICCA Board Member and Rockbridge Seminary Board Member. She is Founder of Life Purpose Coaching Centers International®, a coach-training provider approved by ICF, CCE-BCC, and IACET to offer continuing education units. Katie is a sought-after coach, 2-Day Life Plan Facilitator, and speaker worldwide, as well as a bestselling author with eight books and three DVD coaching curricula about life purpose. (www.LifePurposeCoachingCenters.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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From Failure to Phenomenal

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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

 

Whenever two or three of you come together in my name, I am there with you

Matthew 18:20, CEV

 

tamara-bellis-199853I’ll never forget my first coaching session with Jennifer; it was a complete disaster. At least, that’s what it felt like at the time. Jennifer, a tall, blonde, twenty-four-year-old woman, came for coaching after I had been professionally coaching for about two years. Our first session was one of the most awkward ones I have ever experienced.

Jennifer’s personality emanated an unusual standoffishness, with almost a disdain for me. I found that perplexing and intimidating. Unfortunately, I began doing everything wrong. I tried to get her approval. I tried to get her to laugh. Nothing. Finally, out of ideas, I asked her why she had come to see me, which is what I should have asked her when she first sat down.

Unbelievably, she shrugged her shoulders, and said she didn’t really know.

Okay, I thought, this is going to be the longest hour of my life! Determined to do a good job, I sat up straighter, put on my best “attentive coach” countenance and asked her the question I always ask whenever I’m completely baffled: “Will you tell me a little about yourself.”

Normally, people are good at talking about themselves, but not Jennifer. She frowned. “There’s not really much to tell.”

I waited.

Fortunately, she continued.

She told me she was a hair stylist, had flunked out of college, and now she was miserable.

At my request for more information, she said she had attended a private Catholic high school and had earned a full art scholarship to a private university. There, she explained, she was too anxious at being rebuffed by her professors to approach them when she began having academic problems and had, instead, opted to stop attending classes. Eventually she flunked her first-year courses, and her scholarship was retracted.

She then moved back home with her mom and her mom’s boyfriend, whom she said she detested. To make matters worse, she stated that she wanted to bring her mom in for our next session for relationship and communication coaching.

That revelation was a shock. I had been hoping that this session would be our first and last. Surprisingly, she made a second appointment.

“Oh, by the way,” I said as she was leaving, “here’s a book on setting boundaries in relationships that you might want to read before our next session.”

alice-hampson-5714Our second appointment was nearly as bad as our first. Before I could even say hello, she pulled the book that I had given her out of her bag and tossed it onto my desk. “I read the whole thing in one evening and didn’t learn a thing!” she said.

Oh dear, I thought. I felt like an idiot and wondered if I was intellectually inferior because I hadn’t been able to read that book in one night.

But I put on my figurative coaching hat and we began. Since this session was with Jennifer and her mother, we spent our time discussing their relationship and what they each wanted to get out of coaching. It was not pretty.

After they left, I was exhausted, discouraged, and ready to refer them to someone else.

Before our next session, I discussed the case with my own Life Coach. Truthfully, I needed help and I wanted my coach to tell me what to do! Of course, she didn’t. Instead she suggested we pray.

While we were praying, God brought a fact to my mind. I had forgotten that Jennifer’s mom had told me that she was into the New Age movement and believed in a “higher power.” This case is spiritual warfare! I thought. This idea completely shifted my thought process about Jennifer and how to proceed with her, and it reminded me of the critical urgency of taking every client before the Lord!

Over the course of the next nine sessions, Jennifer slowly began to transform before my eyes. I referred her to a psychiatrist as well, and her mom returned for two more sessions.

The changes in Jennifer were a-maz-ing! During one critical session, she mentioned that her father had been wounded in the Vietnam War. That revelation set off a chain of questions, which eventually led to us realizing that Jennifer was eligible to go to any college in the state for free!

Jennifer and her mom’s relationship also underwent dramatic change. At the beginning of our coaching sessions, they had each stated that their relationship was poor and that they couldn’t talk without fighting. The mother felt that Jennifer was a slob and didn’t help at all around the house, and Jennifer felt that her mother favored the boyfriend over their mother-daughter relationship and never wanted to spend any time with her.

During one session they made a commitment to have a mother-daughter-only date two times a month. Because Jennifer received some much-needed attention and affirmation from her mother, she began to want to help around the house; she even organized her room, the laundry room, and the entire second floor, a subject that had previously been a serious source of contention between the two.

victoria-bilsborough-232767Jennifer’s interest in art also returned. She hadn’t drawn or painted since she had flunked out of college. After coaching, she enrolled in college, began selling her artwork, and started earning straight A’s! She was elated about her returning creativity. She had even quit smoking, gone back to eating a vegetarian diet, and lost twenty-five pounds.

Another huge change was that Jennifer became less anxious. Prior to coaching, she never left home without her prescription anti-anxiety medication, Xanax, because of daily panic attacks. “You’ll never guess what!” she told me during one session. “I haven’t had a Xanax in a month! And I haven’t even bothered to refill my prescription!” She smiled from ear to ear. “I never imagined I’d be able to do without it.”

In our last session, Jennifer described an “emergency” with a friend. She had tried to contact me for help, but when she was not able to get in touch with me, she realized that she could come up with her own solution. She remembered something from the book I had loaned her on setting healthy boundaries and established some boundaries on a friendship that had been very lopsided. In doing so, she gained incredible confidence.

As she told me this, I felt like a proud mama hen. I’m a much better coach because of having my own coach. I thought this particular client was going to be disastrous for me, and I was ready to give up. It’s very likely that I’d never have been able to have the objectivity crucial to a successful coaching relationship with Jennifer if I hadn’t had my own coach. I’m so thankful for her. Had I tried to figure out this difficult client on my own, I might have missed a golden opportunity to make a difference in her life. I would not have experienced the pervasively positive influence that can be transmitted through the coaching relationship, and I would have lost out on experiencing the vital guidance that prayer exerts in every coaching session and relationship.

 

Coaching the Coach Tip:
Don’t give away or give up on a difficult client too soon. Contact another coach for additional perspective. Above all, remember to take the situation to the Lord in prayer, preferably with that other coach.

I now look at difficult clients differently. Instead of seeing them as draining or as a burden, I see the relationship as an opportunity for them and me to grow. They are God’s hidden treasures. I just need to separate my emotions and thoughts from theirs.

Rather than thinking I’m not coaching well enough or I’m an idiot, I need to ask God to shift my perspective and show me how I can best benefit them.

 


 
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.
 
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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Prayer: A Tool or a Lifeline?

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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!


 

Denise Bauman

 

Pray without ceasing.

1 Thessalonians 5:17 NASB

 
ben-white-139141As a Christian Life Coach, I open each session with prayer. As a Christ follower, I want the Holy Spirit to do his best work in the time I have with my client. This habit can easily become just a check mark on my to-do list for each session. So how do I keep prayer as my lifeline and not merely a session opening tool?

The answer starts with my personal prayer life, which has taken on a whole new level of importance and growth in the past few years. During this time, I felt compelled to read the Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John) four times in one year. As I read about the life of Jesus, I see how important prayer was to him. It was so important that he went to the desert for forty days to fast and pray as recorded in Matthew 4:1-11. He got up early in the morning and, according to Mark 1:35, went to a scheduled, quiet place to be alone with his Father and pray. The disciples saw the importance Jesus placed on prayer and asked for prayer instruction in Luke 11:1. Seeing the importance Jesus placed on prayer and knowing my own spiritual neediness, I committed to being more like him in this regard.

During this time I had an opportunity to take part in the Cornerstone Formation Ministries training program taught by Dr. Terry Wardle. It was entitled the “Ministry of Formational Prayer.” In this training we were taught to pray expectantly, understanding God will answer if we give him a chance.

btnxjsfojtq-ben-whiteThe Bible is clear in James 4:2, ESV: “You do not have, because you do not ask.” Learning to pray expectantly transformed my spiritual and personal life. Since I’ve begun to do this, I have witnessed firsthand how God the Father communicates through prayer to one client after another on a variety of issues.

If I am in a session and I sense my client is struggling or we seem to hit a wall, I may take a minute silently to ask God for insight. I may also ask the client to ask God for an answer, and we will take a minute together in prayer, asking for an immediate answer. Many times he does. At other times, as a homework assignment, I request that clients ask God for clear direction for the next week.

These prayers can change how clients view God. I had one client change from not wanting to burden God with her problems because “He has so much to take care of already” to understanding “God does really care about my everyday life.” She now asks God about every decision. She does not want to make any changes without praying first, because she has seen what prayer can do!

 


Coaching the Coach Tip:

Because of the transformation of my personal prayer life, I now incorporate prayer in each coaching session. Wow! What a difference it has made. I no longer worry that I won’t have enough tools in my tool belt to help each client in their specific area of need. The Holy Spirit prompts me throughout the session (because I am in constant prayer) with ideas and options. The Holy Spirit will give my client and me the answers we need if we give him the chance. Does this mean I don’t do my homework as a coach? May it never be! I still read every day and research resources. As I pray for my clients I now ask God through prayer, to show me what my clients may need before I meet with them. So many times God does just that.
 
 


 
Denise Baumann has been married for more than 30 years and has four children including one with special needs. Denise has been a life coach for over 3 years and is a member of AACC and ICCA. Jeremiah 29:11 tells us God has a plan for our lives and I love helping my clients discover and add clarity to the plan God has for them. To contact Denise e-mail her atlifecoach@denisebaumann.com or check out her website at www.denisebaumann.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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