Marketing: A Path to Trusting God

Kim Avery, M.A.

 


 
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!
 


 

Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.

Hebrews 11:1 NIV

 

cpeo3hokdkm-kari-sheaBefore I entered the wonderful world of coaching, I was a practicing Licensed Mental Health Counselor. It was a fun and rewarding career and in some ways it was very simple. As a counselor, I was expected to counsel. They didn’t hire me to balance the books, file for taxes, create Web sites, or send out newsletters. I counseled.

I woke every morning, drove to the office, grabbed a stack of files from the secretary, walked into the waiting room and called the first person’s name. I didn’t know how the person got to the waiting room or how he or she found our practice–every morning they just magically appeared.

What escaped me in all my education and preparation for life coaching was the fact that the day I became a life coach, I also became an accountant, tax preparer, web designer, newsletter writer, and most importantly of all–a marketer.

I began marketing my coaching, as I suppose many people do, by staying firmly inside my comfort zone. After all, God had called me to become a life coach, so surely He would provide the clients. I talked to a few friends, mentioned my new service at my church and built an amazing website.

But the clients didn’t come.

Clearly, God wanted me to grow in some new ways. God, I prayed, if you just show me what to do to get clients, I’ll do it.

The next day my son pointed out a story in our local newspaper about a new networking group beginning in a nearby town. I had never been to a networking event where people from various lines of work meet and greet but I felt this was God’s path for me.

Fighting my nervousness, I gathered up my business cards and off I went. It’s probably a good thing that I had no idea at the time just how much God intended to stretch me.

Dressed in my best business clothes, I arrived at the meeting determined to mix, mingle and network with the best of them. I had a nice chat with the chapter president and had a long, meaningful conversation with a local entrepreneur. As far as I could tell, neither of them were necessarily potential clients–but at least those two people now knew my name.

The buffet line opened and all thoughts of further networking vanished in the ensuing stampede. I got my plate, piled it high with rice and rubber chicken, and managed to grab the last seat at the back of the room.

The gavel sounded and the meeting began. Shirley, the  president, straightened her shoulders, gave a brief nod to our honored guest, and began to read an impressive list of our speaker’s educational achievements and various accomplishments. She closed her introduction with a detailed summary of the speaker’s business and carefully provided her contact information.

Amazing! Five minutes into the meeting, before the speaker even opened her mouth, this audience knew more about the speaker and her business than my best friend of twenty years knew about me.

All eyes turned to the speaker. She stood, moved to the front of the room, and wisely shared with us mere mortals the secrets of her success. We sat riveted. Obviously, we should listen. She stood at the front of the room, she wore the power suit, she was held in high esteem by our local president, and she was the expert.

It hit me. My all-out networking effort had netted me two iffy potential clients. In that same length of time, the speaker had fifty women who knew her, had grown to like her, and wanted to stay in touch with her.

letdkk7whqk-kane-reinholdtsenPublic speaking could be the answer to all my marketing woes. Of course, I had never given a speech before, and I had no idea how to do so. But in my heart, I knew God was asking me to step out in faith.

The meeting ended. With incredible fear and trepidation, I approached the chapter president. “Shirley, it occurred to me that as a professional life coach I have some great information that this group would really benefit from.” Gulp. “I have a talk called ‘From Ordinary to Extraordinary,’ (well, I kind of, sort of have thought about the topic a long time ago) and I would love (yeah, right) to present it at one of our meetings. Do you have an open slot that I could fill?” (Please say no. Please say no.)

“Yes,” she exclaimed. “I’m sure they would love that. How about August?” Before I knew it, I was committed.

A myriad of thoughts flooded my mind as I drove home that day. I’m insane, what have I done? What if I bore them to death and the coroner has to come? What if I heard God wrong and this isn’t of Him? Later I thought if this doesn’t work, next time I will schedule that delightful root canal instead.

I shouldn’t have stressed. The speech was a success, and from that day on, my client schedule slowly began to fill. Each time I spoke publicly, I got at least one new client from the event.

Many years have passed since that fateful day at my first networking group, and God indeed works in mysterious ways. I’ve discovered that I love marketing, so much so that weekly I now have the privilege of coaching other Christian coaches and helping them fill their practices with eager clients.

But more than growing my own coaching business or helping other coaches do the same, I’m thankful to have learned firsthand that the God who calls us will also show us the way.
 
Coaching the Coach:
 
azk19apkjhk-luke-palmerMarketing is more than just a necessary evil to be endured as we try to get clients. It is a critical part of our journey, designed to draw us closer to God.

It’s natural to want shortcuts through the difficulties of building a coaching business. Like all of life, however, God has left challenges in our path so that in our areas of greatest weakness His strength will shine brilliantly.

For many, the idea of marketing fills them with fear and dread. For me, it was a path that brought me closer to God. What would change for you if you embraced marketing as part of your spiritual journey?
 


 
Kim Avery Life CoachKim Avery, M.A., is Founder and President of Kim Avery Coaching, a coaching and mentoring firm that helps Christian coaches market successfully and coach masterfully. She is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor, Professional Certified Coach, Board Certified Coach and trains coaches at the Professional Christian Coaching Institute and The Academies. Kim’s mission is to help others live Christ-saturated, joy-filled and purpose-driven lives. You can pick up a copy of her free e-book Top Ten Marketing Mistakes NOT to Make at www.KimAveryCoaching.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.

Posted in Coaching Blog | Leave a comment

Confidence . . . after One More Class?

Renee Oscarson

 


 
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!
 


 

In God I have put my trust. I shall not be afraid. What can man do to me?

Psalm 56:11 NASB

 

rmhsymxupw0-jj-thompsonShould I register for another class? I wondered. I had one course left to complete the requirements for the Accredited Coach Training Program. Because the Supervision Practicum course had been added after I began the program, I did not need to take that class. But I lacked confidence in my abilities as a coach. Taking an advanced class seemed like a good idea.

The course required that students have at least three coaching clients and be a Certified Life Coach or an Associate Certified Coach. I qualified.

As a university faculty member, I have the privilege of coaching graduate students through their final projects. Many students do not graduate because they leave school without completing thesis or dissertation requirements. Jan, one of the first students I coached (vs. advised) through a thesis, told me, “I finally realized that this thesis wasn’t going to write itself!” The structure provided by regular coaching sessions and coaching agreements enables students to take responsibility for their progress.

Because “life happens” during the process of completing a thesis, thesis coaching often includes some life coaching. Sue, one of my three clients at the time I registered for Supervision Practicum, wrote in an email that she would “choose [me as] an advisor because [she] would get the benefit of a life-coaching paradigm.” She added that she was “inspired by [me] academically.” Likewise, I was inspired by her ability to think deeply about issues. We got along well, and I agreed to be her thesis coach.

I mentally reviewed the International Coach Federation (ICF) Code of Ethics. Sue was experiencing family challenges. She also had a conflict with another professor. I was concerned about her, but she assured me that she was seeing a counselor and she acknowledged that she understood the differences between coaching and counseling.

a-xeuwysplw-molly-belleIn our first interview, Sue described her potential thesis topic and shared her values, describing herself as “radical.” I knew that in order for her to make an informed decision about working with me on a value-laden project, I would have to share my beliefs with her, since I describe myself as “moderate.” Since she cancelled several coaching sessions, some time passed before I was able to bring up the topic of values. Good social science thesis research often involves both the advisor and advisee examining their own assumptions, and I looked forward to the challenge of coaching her through her project, even though neither of us was likely to change our beliefs.

The ICF Code of Ethics does not prohibit dual relationships, and clients are believed to be “creative, resourceful, and whole.” I was Sue’s instructor as well as her coach. This did not seem unusual to me because faculty members often have the dual roles of instructor and thesis advisor. Instead of advising, I was coaching. Yet I did have the responsibility (and power) of assigning a grade.

Our coaching relationship ended when final grades were posted. Although Sue passed the class, her grade was not as high as she would have liked; she believed that I had not given her life challenges enough consideration when assigning final grades.

When she contacted me about her grade, she also informed me that the discussion about our value differences was not helpful. We talked once or twice after the course ended; however, she left school, and I had not seen her since the class ended.

One day I received an email and phone call from Sue that frightened me. She was considering taking action against me. I was afraid for my reputation and fearful of repercussions at work.

Discussions with a mentor reinforced that I had followed ICF ethical standards. I was participating in the Supervision Practicum course at the time the coaching relationship with Sue ended. When I began the course, I didn’t understand how the course topics of transference and counter-transference related to coaching. Although the terms sound intimidating, transference occurs in most of our relationships because our past experiences impact how we relate to other people and situations. Transference takes place in coaching, however, when a client projects or redirects emotions stemming from past interactions to the coach or coaching relationship. Similarly, counter-transference takes place when a coach has an emotional response to the client or coach-client relationship, which is connected to earlier experiences.

During the course, I saw the concepts in action as accusations about unethical behavior tapped into my fears. My confidence was shaky to begin with and working with Sue destroyed what little I had. I am thankful that I had supportive colleagues in class and an experienced mentor during this time.

What might I have done differently? I have had good coaching relationships with other thesis students, as well as non-students, since this experience. I recently reviewed email exchanges I had with Sue in an attempt to understand the failed coaching relationship.

I identified several problem areas. In hindsight, and due to additional information, I could argue that Sue’s run-in with another professor should have led me to be more cautious in partnering with her on a thesis. But if that were a criterion, some students would never get a coach, finish a thesis, and graduate. Transference and counter- transference may have contributed to both of our strong emotions.

As a thesis coach, I maintained more detailed records than I may have as an advisor. According to my records, we had only a few coaching sessions. The records of email exchanges, adherence to ICF ethical standards, and participation in Supervision Practicum were important in helping me assess and process this difficult experience.

The major problem in my approach was that I relied on professional records and ethical behavior for my well-being. I sought to increase my self-confidence by being prepared, by adhering to ethical standards, and by seeking input from more experienced coaches. I should have placed my confidence in God. Because my ultimate source of confidence was misplaced, I was frightened by what Sue might do to me. Now I am growing in confidence in the God of all grace.
 
Coaching the Coach Tip:
My experience taught me at least four good things that every coach would do well to remember.
 
1.  Put Your Trust in God
 
ljqedqamani-ben-whiteYou may find yourself lacking confidence in your coaching. Trust God. Ask for his help, his strength, his guidance. Remember that he is your source of power and confidence.

In my situation, my fears pushed me into closer fellowship with God. When you experience fear, turn to God in prayer. Seek his counsel through his Word.
 
2.  Remain in Close Fellowship with God
 
Don’t wait until you are fearful. As your focus on him increases, fears will decrease. Be aware of your own unresolved issues. Your fear may stem from the thought that what might happen will be similar to a difficult event you experienced before. Be confident of God’s love for you, knowing that he is in control.
 
3.  Recognize That Risks Do Exist
 
Jesus called us to be “wise as serpents and yet as harmless as doves” (Matthew 10:16, J. Phillips). Pray for wisdom, and pray regularly for your clients. Wisdom requires that we be professionally prepared. Seeking adequate training is good as long as that training isn’t our ultimate source of confidence. Be familiar with ethical standards for coaches. As your coaching skills develop, be sure that you have a mentor coach or a group of coaches to help you examine your actions, hold you accountable, and help you process challenging situations.
 
4.  Seek God for Your Peace
 
God desires us to love him more than we love what he has called us to do. When we do that, his peace permeates us. May it be “well with your soul” as you seek and honor God through your coaching.
 


 
Renee Oscarson is a Certified Life Coach through the Institute for Life Coach Training and a Board Certified Coach (Center for Credentialing and Education). She completed additional coaching coursework at the Professional Christian Coaching Institute and Potentials Realized. As a university professor and life coach, she specializes in Human Development and Aging, assisting individuals and organizations navigating caregiving, midlife issues, and preparation for retirement. She is passionate about using coaching as a vehicle for racial and cultural reconciliation among communities and groups.
 
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.

Posted in Coaching Blog | Leave a comment

Rest

chairs

 

He that can take rest is greater than he that can take cities.

– Benjamin Franklin

 
How many times have you found yourself saying one of these:

“I have too much going on to take a break”

 “If only I had more hours in a day”

 “There is no way I can get 8 hours of sleep tonight”

 “I’m just way too busy”
 
Rest is something that we all look forward to. Whether it comes on a lazy Sunday afternoon, or the only vacation you take all year, we all need rest. When was the last time that you were able to enjoy a break from all of the responsibilities that weigh you down daily? Not just take a break, but actually enjoy it? Maybe you don’t know how to rest. Maybe sitting still is hard for you. Maybe you are in a season where you feel like the weight of the world is on your shoulders. Where do you go from here?

Here are some practical tips about why rest is important and how to find it.

  1. Rest is Biblical

Yes, rest IS Biblical. Have you ever taken the time to realize that even God rested? The first example of rest comes from Genesis. Genesis 2:2 says, “And on the seventh day God finished his work that he had done, and he rested on the seventh day from all his work that he had done”. If the God who created the universe, found it important to take time to rest, why do we not do the same? The answer is that we feel like we are invincible. We feel that we can move at 100-mph per day and just move from one thing to the next. This is impossible. We need time to rest.

 

  1. Schedule Time for Rest

Our problem is that we think rest is something that we can do after we get everything done. What is one of the best things that you can do to make sure that you are getting rest? Schedule it. Take the time to schedule one day a week where you can unplug and find rest. After finding that one day, find small moments in every day where you can take to yourself. Taking time for yourself is not selfish. Whether that means spending time with family, going on a hike, binge-watch a show on Netflix, or any other activity where you can spend time away from distractions. But, most importantly, make sure you are spending time in God’s word daily. He is the only one who can give true rest in any season.

 

  1. Disengage

Culture has glorified becoming busy, and shames those who take the time to slow down. Rest is something that culture does not value. Whether you are walking to get your morning cup of coffee or just in the grocery store, everywhere you look people are rushing. Always moving one from one thing to another, not taking the time to enjoy the moment. Technology and social media have become two of the greatest tools of this generation. But, they have become misused. When you come home from a long work day, what is the first thing you do? Do you check work emails? Do you think about what tomorrow will look like? Put down one of the biggest distractions of this time, cellphones. If it’s not your cellphone, then your tablet or email. Instead, read a book, write in a journal, spend time with family. Rest has become more elusive as our work flow has intruded into our homes. We will go through email at all hours of the day, constantly check our phones, and keep and maintain overflowing schedules. For many coaches, home is where you work from. If you do in fact work from home, go find a local coffee shop, a park, anywhere where you can disengage and allow your mind to be at rest from the busyness of life. Not responding to emails or texts for a few hours won’t be the end of the world.

 

  1. Learn to Say No

One of the most difficult things to do is say no. Is your schedule already booked but you feel bad telling a new potential client no? When we have a problem with saying no, we are on a fast track to burnout. If you are unable to take care of yourself, you will be unable to take care of others. If we try to keep up with a society that seems to always be moving at 100-mph, we will end up emotionally drained, mentally exhausted, and spiritually empty. You will not need to over explain why you can’t, nor will need to defend your decision of saying no. Saying no allows you to protect yourself from something that could hurt you in the long run.

 
Take these tips and apply them to your life today. Learn to relax. Learn to enjoy breaks. Learn what it means to rest.

Posted in Coaching Blog | Leave a comment

9 Ways To Teach Kids To Manage Money

Marina Robertson

 
When you were a kid, you probably never thought about how challenging money management was. Children typically just rely on their parents for everything. They ask what they need or want and they get it.

While it’s understandable that moms and dads want to give everything to their kids, it’s also very important that they learn the value of money and how to manage it as early as possible. This will be a huge help for them as they grow older, especially when they become adults themselves have to earn for their own needs.

Studies show that individuals who were trained early in managing money are better with their finances as adults. It is for your own children’s good that you teach them at a young age on how to value money and spend responsibly. With this, you’ll know that they will have a better future and life.

Learning how to manage money properly when they are younger helps children incorporate good spending habits in their lifestyles. This will become a habit that they will take with them as they grow up. They will have a solid foundation when it comes to spending their money wisely as they have been doing this since they were little.

Since they understand how money is earned and its value, they will be smarter in deciding on how they spend it. This is something that they will be thankful for, especially when they come to the point when they have to become independent and start providing for themselves.

There are various ways on how to train your children to become responsible with money matters. It is important that you are responsible in managing your own finances, first and foremost, as youngsters learn by example. They will follow your lead so if you are setting a good example.

It is also recommended that you expose them to the prices of various products and services. If they are aware of the amount it costs to get things, they will be more mindful with their expenditures. It is also best to include them when preparing for the family budget.

Not only will children feel involved, they will also get a better idea of how budgeting works. They will know what specific amount goes to where and how you need to manage this properly so you won’t be short and at the same time be able to save.

If your kids are in the appropriate age to work a job during the summer, let them try it so they can experience how it is to work for their own money. Another option is to give them chores at home in exchange for their allowance.

We have more tips on how to train your children to become responsible in money management. Our fantastic infographic lists amazing ideas on how this can be done.

Check out our excellent illustration below and teach your kids to manage their money right.

9 Ways To Teach Kids To Manage Money

 


robertson_marinaMarina Robertson is a small business owner who has grown her business from scratch. She understands the value of using money wisely. She loves to splurge a little for family vacations though.

Posted in Coaching Blog | Leave a comment

A Season of Transition: The College Student

transition

Guest contributor Kyle Sutton

 

Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”

-Joshua 1:9

 
Transition. When someone hears this word it can instantly bring up emotions: fear, anxiety, excitement, etc. Dealing with transition can be difficult. Think back to a time where you were in a transition process. Maybe it was going away to college, or starting a new marriage, or launching a new career path. How did you deal with the myriad of emotions? One of the most exciting, but at the same time most difficult transitions, is graduating from college and moving on to either graduate school or full time work. This decision-making process can be one of the most stressful times someone’s life.

 

This is something that I have both seen first-hand and dealt with myself. As a Resident Assistant on a college campus, I have seen students transition from college to graduate school or full time work accompanied with fear or anxiety. For many, this is the first time that they will be living completely on their own. For others, they will be moving to a completely new place without people they know to start at a new school or a new job. For some, they will move on from living on a college dorm to getting married. When you live in the same area for four years surrounded by close friends, you can fall into a comfort zone. Once graduation comes, reality approaches quickly.

 

Here are three things that I wish I would have known going through a transition process.

 
1. How to Prepare for A New Season

For many, thinking about what is beyond the present can be intimidating. I was not as prepared as I should have been. Others in the situation would say the same thing. Preparing would have saved so much time and effort. Being prepared allows for understanding the difference between change and transition. Change, for example, is the act of moving away to a new college or starting a new job. Change is more of an external process. Transition is more internal. Transition is the psychological process through which people come to terms with a new situation, and how they adjust and adapt. Why is it important to understand the difference between the two? Because a lack of preparation for the inevitable transitions of life allows anxiety and fear to creep in.

Coaching Goal: Help your clients understand that they should prepare for what is next.

 
2. How to Deal with the Fear and Anxiety
I still remember walking to the graduation ceremony with some of my closest friends. For many of us this was the last time that we would all be together in this season of life. If you asked any of us how we were feeling at that moment the first word would be: scared. Some were getting ready to get married and start a new job in a new city. Others were going on to graduate school, moving away from the friends they have lived with for the past four years. The rest were coming back to the same campus for graduate school. We all knew one thing for certain, we were encountering something new, but we did not know how it would play out.

Coaching Goal: Help your clients understand that the fear and anxiety is temporary. God has a plan for them through this. Fear and anxiety takes away the joy of ending a season and starting a new one.

 
3. Don’t Get Frustrated When Life Doesn’t Go as Planned
In college, I had a perfect plan laid out for my life. I was going to get my degree, graduate, get married and start working. It’s funny how we think our plans will work out exactly how we want. I’m sure you have experienced the same thing! God has a plan for all of our lives that is far beyond what we could imagine or think. If life went exactly how I wanted, I would have certainly missed so much of what God had in store for me. The pain, the hurt, the good times right along with the bad have helped develop me who I am today.

Coaching Goal: Help your clients understand that the plan that they have laid out themselves will only rob the great expectation of receiving what God has in store for them! Every single time, what God delivers for them is far greater than what we expect.

 

As a coach who is looking to help a college aged client deal with a new transition, I hope these few examples can help you understand from the perspective of the student!

 

Posted in Coaching Blog | Leave a comment

10 Compelling Reasons to Incorporate Journaling into Your Work with Coaching Clients

Deborah Haddix

 


 
jan-kahanek-184675What’s in your coaching toolbox?  While no two toolboxes look exactly the same, I’m going to presume that yours is filled with some combination of tools such as specialized training, a smooth intake system, assessments and inventories, great questions, and a selection of activities and homework assignments.

The items in our coaching toolbox are a vital part of our work with our clients.  These are the things we use to help our clients identify where they are right now and where they want to go in the future.  Our tools facilitate the stages of our client’s growth and assist in assessment along the way.  Effective coaches know the value of their tools whether it be a probing question or a self-reflective homework assignment.

Along with the wonderful assortment of tools listed above, I would like to suggest the addition of another powerful tool to your coaching toolbox – journaling.

Journaling is the process of being honest, in written form, with God and self about what is going on in one’s life.  It can be done in a physical journal with a writing instrument, online, or by way of an app.  There are traditional and non-traditional forms of journaling as well as a myriad of creative combinations.  It is a widely versatile tool.

But WHY should it be added to our coaching toolbox?  Because:

  1. The process of journaling helps our clients focus – on their task, on their goal, and on speaking to God.
  2. It assists our clients in taking stock of the present.
  3. Journaling helps our clients organize their thoughts.
  4. It provides clarity.
  5. Journaling helps to bring out thoughts that might never have occurred to our client otherwise.
  6. The process, itself, facilitates the making of connections.
  7. It helps clients view what is, rather than what is not.
  8. Journaling helps make our clients’ thoughts and prayer more concrete.
  9. It helps our clients cultivate deeper understandings while exploring their true selves.
  10. It makes a record of our clients’ growth.

 

As you can see from this brief list, journaling is a discipline of great value to our clients.  Its benefits are many — even beyond the ten listed here.

In having our clients participate in journaling activities, we help to create space for them to slow down, hear God’s voice, and make some sense of life.  The physical act of writing that is required helps to engage our client’s brain and aids in helping them make needed connections.  The “linear-ness” of journaling assists in organization of thoughts and clarity.  All of these are needed elements for our client’s growth and success.

For those who are ready to add this beneficial tool to their coaching toolbox, I’d like to suggest a few ideas for getting started.  First, allow your client to choose the method of journaling that fits best with their wiring whether it be a physical journal, online journal, or the use of an app.  Then until you have had opportunity to build up a file of non-traditional or creative journaling activities, stick with a simple, traditional format.  You might choose from one of the following:

  • Journal of Lists. Have your client keep a list of blessings, memories, experiences, or scriptural insights.
  • Gratitude Journal. An ongoing list of specific things for which your client is thankful.
  • Observation Journal. A record of things your client has sensed around him/her.
  • Have your client keep a record of daily events of personal or spiritual significance or lessons learned.
  • Ask them to record problems/solutions, fears/hopes, or goals and ambitions.

Then be sure to provide an opportunity for your client to reflect upon their entries and to share their insights.

A versatile, valuable tool.  Help your clients reap remarkable benefits by adding the practice of journaling to your coaching toolbox.

 


 

haddix_deborahDeborah Haddix is a certified Life Coach, speaker, and the author of four books including Soul Nourishment: Satisfying Our Deep Longing for God.  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.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Steps to Launching a Successful Business

Georgia Shaffer, M.A.

 


 
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!
 


 

“Don’t be afraid, because the Lord your God will be with you everywhere you go.”

Joshua 1:9 NCV

 

kyyxepfp3qy-alexander-milsOne area that often paralyzes coaches before they even begin is a lack of confidence. One coach, who was just launching her business, emailed me saying, “I am stressed over the idea that people are now going to be paying me. Will I give them enough value for their money?”

In an email another coach who was about to start his business said, “I’m worried about letting my clients down.”

When thoughts like this start to haunt you, remember you are not alone. Moses was called by God, but he immediately responded, “Who am I?”

If Moses were called today to be a coach he might ask, “Who am I to even think I can be a coach? Who am I to think I’m ready to launch a coaching business and be paid for my services?”

It doesn’t matter who you are. What matters is who God is. Just as he was with Moses, God will be with you. Therefore, the first step in launching your coaching business is to reflect on God and his attributes.
 
Reflect on Who God Is
Immerse yourself in Scripture, reminding you of the presence and power of God. Read the stories of Moses and Joshua. And just as God equipped these two men, he can equip you.

As you reflect on the attributes of God, take an honest assessment of yourself. Do you believe God is creative and powerful enough to make a coach out of you? Do you believe he has the ability to do this even if you feel as though you’re not gifted in coaching? What do you believe about God’s ability to develop your talents and to use you in the lives of others?

When you recognize your humble dependence on God and his power to enable you to achieve his purposes, that’s when he can use you to transform the lives of those you coach.
 
Get a Coach
Many who are first starting their business find it helpful to have a coach for support and guidance. Remember Moses didn’t go it alone either. He had his brother Aaron for support, and he took advice from his father-in-law Jethro. (See Exodus 18.)

I often find that the clients I coach need a combination of encouragement and a gentle push. One beginning coach emailed me several times the day before her first appointment with paying client. She was terrified. With some support and genuine encouragement on my part, however, she was able to push past her fears, lean on God, and take the risk. She kept reminding herself that God is powerful enough to coach her and sure enough, her first session went extremely well.
 
Organize the Details
w1ckomtu_68-kelly-britoBeginning coaches also need to organize their office and attend to the administrative details. Decide on the key coaching questionnaires and inventories you would like to use and then personalize them with your business name or logo. If an inventory or assessment is copyrighted, you definitely need to keep the copyright information on the document and give credit to the original author. Where possible, you want a standard look and personal to the documents you give to your clients.

For example, in the top left corner of my welcome letter, client data form, and pre-session questionnaire I have my logo with the words What Needs to Grow, What Needs to Go (you can some examples of how I personalize my documents by visiting my free resources page at www.GeorgiaShaffer.com). As one coach said, “Having a professional look to my inventories or articles builds my confidence and reminds me of the fact that I am a professional coach.”

I then store all these personalized templates in one file folder named Coaching Tools under My Documents on my computer.

Decide also how you will keep track of your clients’ emails, their completed inventories, and their pre-session forms. What system will work best for you?

For each client, I have a physical file folder stored in a file cabinet labeled with his or her name. I usually keep a copy of the life coaching agreement and other key information such as the client data form. You, however, might not have space for file cabinets or they might be filled with other documents and information. One of the coaches I worked with has her assistant scan the various inventories and assessments and store the electronic copies on her computer.

For emails, I copy or drag all correspondence into separate Outlook folders labeled with each client’s name. I also keep another folder with each client’s name in a folder labeled “Coaching” under “My Documents,” and I have an external hard drive that regularly backs up my computer files.

Because there is always the possibility of a computer crash, fire, robbery, and computer viruses, it is also important to have an offsite back up of your computer files. Whether you use iCloud or pay for a service like Carbonite, decide how you will backup your clients’ key information. One of my friends had her laptop stolen and the offsite service enabled her to retrieve all her files.

Finally, don’t forget that for tax purposes you need to keep account of the income you receive from each client. It’s best to consult your accountant to find out what format he or she prefers you to use, such as QuickBooks or Excel.

Besides the record keeping, part of organizing your details may also include signing up and offering your clients services such as voice and video over the internet service (VIOP). Skype is a common VIOP that coaches use, but there are others such as Tango. Some clients find using a service like Skype to be a real challenge, while others believe it is important to see their coach.

Another service I provide for my clients, at no extra cost, is the option of recording their coaching sessions. This gives them the opportunity to go back and listen to their conversations with me. I’ve successfully used Freeconferencepro.com. This is an account you need to set up before you begin working with a client. Once you have an account, you will need to schedule each session on their website and send your client a phone number and an access code. After the coaching session, you can download the MP3 file and email it to the client as an attachment. One thing you need to make clear up front is that if your client has limited long distance or pays per minute, in contrast to unlimited long distance, the client will have to pay for the phone call.

The advantage of attending to these details ahead of time is that later it enables you to focus more on meeting the needs of your clients and on building those relationships. The beginning stages of launching a coaching business can seem daunting, but the rewards of helping people change their lives are great. To move forward you need only take it one step at a time. The first step is to reflect on God and his attributes. Then, find a coach and get busy organizing your details. With God’s power working in and through you, you will help others to grow.
 
Coaching the Coach Tip:
7hu4iwksw2k-jazmin-quaynorThroughout your coaching career, pause often and reflect on who God is. Find verses in Scripture that encourage you and help you focus on God. One of my favorite verses reminds me I’m not alone: “I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you and watch over you” (Psalm 32:8).

Reading this book and referring back to portions of it as necessary is a good way to be coached, but also consider enlisting the aid of a professional coach.

If you dislike dealing with details, it will be easy to overlook or avoid getting your office documents organized. Resist that temptation because attending to these tasks is what helps to make a professional coach.
 


 
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.

Posted in Coaching Blog | Leave a comment

Seven Practical Tips for Life Coaches on Social Media

life coaches

 


 

As a Life Coach, you will most likely oversee running your own social media. Social media has become one of the most accessible ways for the world to see what you have to offer. This is the easiest way for you to get your message out. You have probably noticed by now that you need a social media presence. If you are not using social media, start now. Building a thriving social media presence can be overwhelming, but all it simply takes is time. With social media, you can reach clients, and potential clients like never before. You can promote your work and business without spending a dime.  Social media is an integral part of communication in our world today and it should be an integral part of your coaching practice.

 

Here are 7 Practical Tips for Life Coaches on Social Media:

 

  1. Choose the Right Sites for You

Whether you have been using social media for years, or are new to social media, choosing the right platform to use is key. Every day it seems like there are new social media apps coming out. With the most popular of these being the likes of (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc.). The biggest mistake that you could make is missing your target by focusing on the wrong platform. It is ok to start small. If you feel like just using Facebook, then run with it. Find your niche and go. From there, find out where potential clients may be “hanging out” online.  Avoid using the platforms you don’t like. Start with the social media platform that you use the most. In your free time, what social media do you find yourself using? Facebook? Twitter? Pinterest? Once you have figured out which platform to use, you have found the perfect place to start.

 

  1. Share Your Own Content

You have probably heard this saying numerous times, content is king. When developing a social media presence, it is great to share or retweet other professionals on your accounts. But don’t get lost in that. If you are only sharing other’s content, people won’t have a reason to follow you. It is ok to promote your work through blog posts, testimonials, and newsletters. When you write a blog, share it. Tie everything back to your work. Always use social media to bring your followers to your website. Provide in your bio who you are, what you do, and a link to your website. This should help gauge interest and bring traffic to your site. Make yourself as accessible as possible. Besides connecting your website with social media pages, a great idea is to add social media links on your website so that readers can easily share your content, such as blog posts!

 

  1. Be Consistent, But Don’t Overdo It

When you are scrolling through Facebook, Instagram or Twitter, certainly you have at least one friend who posts too much. Whether it is posting everything they do, or maybe they constantly are promoting something, don’t be that person who annoys others because they are hogging the newsfeed. The key to building online relationships over social media is that you must be consistent. Post at least one thing every day. Show potential clients that you are willing to engage with them. The worst thing you can do when building a social media presence is to become inconsistent or go missing for a few weeks.

 

  1. Don’t Get Lost in Comparison

Do you know another coach who has thousands of followers or friends on social media? Don’t get frustrated. If you are just starting out, it takes time. Just because you can have thousands of followers, it doesn’t mean that they are going to engage with what you post. Don’t get lost in the numbers. You want social media followers that are going to listen and interact with you.

 

  1. Join the Conversation

After building your social media profile, interact with your followers. People want to feel like they are engaging with a person. Respond when others tweet or Facebook message you. Share or retweet things that you may find interesting. Asking engaging questions to your audience. Thank people for following you, and for sharing your content. Try your best to return the favor when you can. Have other coaching friends? Share each other’s content. Reply to people who message you and retweet or share their comments. This can be as simple as liking a Facebook comment or joining a Pinterest board.

 

  1. Schedule Your Posts in Advance

Life is busy. You may have client meetings set up throughout the week, or you may be traveling. So, what should you do to stay consistent? Plan. There are great tools like Buffer or Hoot Suite that can post your content for you. Schedule in your week a morning or afternoon to write out some blog posts, or newsletters. Planning ahead will help you get a head start, and keep you from starting to decline on your consistency. But, don’t forget that when you post can be almost as crucial as what and where you post. There are times of the day when each social media will be more active than others. No matter when you choose to schedule posts or how often you post, the quality of the work is more important than the quantity of your work.

 

  1. Have Fun with It

Yes, it is always important to maintain professionalism, but don’t make people think you are a robot. Remember you represent your business when you post or reply to messages, but don’t leave out your personality! Share your thoughts, share your story, don’t worry about always sticking to a strict schedule with posting. Being yourself will allow others to see the real you and will lead to those more meaningful connections.

Posted in Coaching Blog | Leave a comment

Why Gratitude Should Be a Gift in Every Season of Your Life

Lisa Murray, M.A.

 


 

Gratitude is the fairest blossom which springs from the soul.

-Henry Ward Beecher

 

silhouette-1923656_640The fact that we had made it meant so much.

Our first Thanksgiving together was a miracle of sorts.  This fragile, blended family had endured so much in such a short amount of time, many could have fairly reckoned we might not make it.

In the first few months of our marriage, we had experienced one crisis after another, not to mention all of the normal struggles of blending a family —learning how to live with each other, respect one another and forge an identity, a small piece of “we-ness” amidst the fractured parts and pieces of our collective histories.  We entered Thanksgiving week holding our breath, praying for relief, waiting to exhale.

By the time Thanksgiving Day arrived and our extended family was gathered with us in our new home, we were barely hanging on.  We said grace as usual before our meal.  We were chatting casually together while we savored all of our family’s traditional recipes.

At the end of the meal, when the ladies were about to clear the table, my stepson suddenly interrupted the various conversations and asked if we could go around the table and share something for which we were thankful.  He looked toward my husband to start, and before my husband could open his mouth to share, tears began to flow.

One by one, we circled the table offering thanks, expressing gratitude for what God had done or was doing in our lives. Tears flowed easily, graciously.  It was authentic.  Beautiful.  What surprised me the most in that moment was the reality that everyone had their struggles, their heartbreaks, their trials.  No one was exempt.  Yet what a treasure to see everyone giving thanks in the midst of their struggles.

I had grappled with gratitude for so long.  It seemed I was always waiting to get to the other side of life’s trials to acknowledge His provision and His blessing in my life.  I was holding my breath for this season of striving to pass to see the miracle, to give thanks, to offer appreciation.

How can we be appreciative when we are standing at the end of ourselves, struggling to put one cold foot in front of the other for yet another day?  How can we give thanks, when it seems everywhere we look, there is scarce for which to be thankful?

Yet isn’t that what real gratitude is all about?  Isn’t it easy to be thankful when everything is going smoothly, when our life’s plan is unfolding exactly the way we had hoped, when we’re living life on the high side of the horizon?  It’s so much harder when we’re battling just to survive.

I’ve found three reasons to cultivate the gift of gratitude in every season of our lives.

 

Gratitude brings balance.

hands-1950985_640We tend to live in extremes.  We high-five our successes and grumble inconsolably about our losses.  It would appear that life is a seesaw of highs and lows.  As Christians, we have come to believe that life should be made up of successive mountaintop experiences.   We long for them.  We look for them.  We become obsessed by them.

Gratitude accepts the nature of life as a blend of experiences.  Gratitude allows us to move from extremes of thinking and feeling to embracing every experience as a meaningful, purposeful gift in our lives.  Gratitude doesn’t need life to get perfect.  Gratitude is thankful right in the middle of the imperfect, the unreasonable, the tortuous.

Allow your soul to acknowledge all that is and trust that it is okay.  I’m learning how to see all the experiences in my life as worthy, as needful on my journey.  I’m learning how to acknowledge them and breathe into them instead of running away from them.

 

Gratitude brings meaning.

Even in our suffering, even in the bleakest seasons, even when the night seems unending, gratitude allows us to welcome all experiences into the fabric of our story and cultivate meaning from the most debilitating of human pain and suffering.

Brennan Manning describes gratitude this way:

 The dominant characteristic of an authentic spiritual life is the gratitude that flows from trust — not only for all the gifts that I receive from God, but gratitude for all the suffering. Because in that purifying experience, suffering has often been the shortest path to intimacy with God.

Search for the meaning in your circumstances.  Lean in a little closer to Him.  Allow your suffering to heal you, grow you, teach you.  Your adversity was never meant to be wasted.  Don’t let your pain pull you away from God, let it draw you closer as your roots become ever deeper and stronger.

Melodie Beattie offers a unique picture of gratitude, saying, “Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend.”1

 

Gratitude brings peace.

nature-1946879_640In an article in Today’s Christian Woman, Caryn Rivadeneira describes that, “gratitude and peace of mind are inseparable.”2

When we give ourselves the gift of gratitude, we no longer live life running from the negative and fantasizing about the positive, obsessed with a utopia of perfection that doesn’t exist.  Gratitude allows us to accept with open hands the ebb and flow of humanity.  Gratitude creates an environment of contentment.  It settles our anxious torment.  Gratitude yields peace.

Paul noted in Philippians 4:11b, “for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances.”

Begin today to reflect back on the momentous experiences, the miracles big and small that have happened in your life.  Take note of each of them.  Write them on the tablet of your heart, record them in your journal or your Bible to pass down to the generations to come, telling them of God’s faithfulness.  Repeat them.  Savor them.  Enjoy them.  Give thanks for them.

Acknowledge the wounds that have etched themselves in your memory, that have buried themselves in the darkest corners of your soul.  Begin to breathe into them.  Accept them.  Give thanks for them.  Give thanks for how your story, your pain was part of what brought you to your healing, your Healer.  Give thanks that in all things, He has never left you, He has never forsaken you.  Give thanks that He continues to heal you, He continues to teach you.  He loves you.  He has a purpose for everything, even your pain.  Your story is not finished.

Are you struggling through a dark season of your soul, waiting for your miracle to come?  Has life left you feeling overwhelmed, helpless, hopeless?  Do you find yourself barely hanging on, ready to give up?  Don’t.

If there was hope that my delicate, breakable little blended family could one day grow solid and strong, there is so much hope for you, too.  Believe it.  Embrace it.

 

Gratitude brings balance.  Gratitude brings meaning.  Gratitude brings peace.

 

1https://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/m/melodybeat177949.html?src=t_gratitude

2http://www.todayschristianwoman.com/articles/2011/november/prefergiven.html

 


 

Lisa Murray 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

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Your Coaching Journey Begins Here

Dwight Bain, M.A.

 


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!


 

This is the very portrait of a vocation: a thing that calls or beckons, that calls inexorably, yet you must strain your ears to catch the voice that insists on being sought, yet refuses to be found.

C. S. Lewis

 

14aoissrsps-david-marcuWhere does your coaching journey begin? I believe it begins when God uses you to make a positive difference in shaping another person’s life. It’s about being used as a messenger to communicate God’s voice to someone who is open to hearing about a greater purpose. Your journey as a coach is about sensing and knowing how to draw the unique potential out of another person, so he or she can move forward to experience God’s greater plan for his or her life.

To avoid confusion about ethical practices, always remember that counseling is about helping people past their pain to find stability again. Coaching is about helping people realize their potential as a man or woman of strength. They are quite different disciplines, but I believe each still involves a divine calling from God.

C.S. Lewis described it this way: “This is the very portrait of a vocation: a thing that calls or beckons, that calls inexorably, yet you must strain your ears to catch the voice that insists on being sought, yet refuses to be found.” Did you hear the part about quietly listening for the “still, small voice” as Elijah called it? (1 Kings 19:11-12, NKJV).

If you have a call on your life as a coach, then you need to listen quietly to what the Spirit is stirring up inside you. If it’s God, then you won’t be able to quiet that stirring until you move forward toward action. At least that’s how my journey as a coach began.

 

God’s Call on Me
More than thirty years ago I sensed God’s call on my life to become a Christian counselor. My mentor, Elmer Towns, co-founder of Liberty University, describes the call of God on your life first as a “call to prepare,” and prepare is what I did! In college and seminary I was driven to learn everything possible about Christian counseling. I listened to Christian radio programs, read every book and magazine, and attended every workshop and seminar I could find, since there weren’t many resources in the 1970s for this emerging professional industry.

It was like a dream come true in 1984 when a friend and I started a Christian Counseling Center in Orlando. We became the most trusted agency in our area by living out the call of God to help people in crisis find calm again. It was God’s vision, lived out through the lives of two young seminary graduates who quietly listened for His voice.

Then more than twenty years ago that calling started to stir inside me again, in part due to the frustration I experienced over a dysfunctional counseling cycle that repeated too many times. Maybe you’ve seen it too. It went like this. Someone would call in a crisis, barely surviving. We would aggressively guide them through the stress to find stability and then send them home from counseling with high hopes for a better future.

p0rr_3xc988-forrest-cavaleUnfortunately, two years later the person’s life crashed again and we were back into crisis counseling 101, just to keep the person from drowning in problems. Something big was missing from the process, but what was it?

That’s when I began to sense that same gentle voice asking questions like these: “What if there was a new way to help people? Would you be willing to learn the skills to guide people past their pain toward their potential?”

My answer was “Absolutely!” It made perfect sense to learn how to better serve regular people who missed God’s purpose not because they were stuck in misery, but because they were beyond misery; they were stuck in mediocre.

Then it got exciting! God’s Spirit stirred up the desire to learn more about taking people to a new level of success, and the search began again. Professional coaching hadn’t been invented yet, but a number of voices in the marketplace were coming together to discuss how to guide people toward their potential. Creative minds like Thomas Leonard, Patrick Williams, Dan Sullivan, Babs Smith, Chris McCluskey, John Nagy, Ken Blanchard, Laurie Beth Jones, John Maxwell, and countless others were thinking creatively about how to take average people and help them achieve above average results. God began to allow me to connect with like-minded people who were sensing the same desire to make a positive difference.

 

My First Coaching Process

cvwcovttn40-taylor-nicoleI believe coaching is a journey, one that flows out of your life story. That journey for me was through speaking to business groups. I first heard the term “Life Coach” after speaking to a Fortune 500 company in the early 1990s when a member of the audience asked if I offered executive coaching. I wasn’t sure what that person was asking, so I took down the person’s phone number and promised to call back. After doing some research about getting trained and certified in this new discipline, I called back and we began the coaching process. The stirring in my spirit was a reflection of another call to prepare–not just as a counselor–but also as a coach!

Maybe my story sounds a lot like your story. Maybe God is already stirring you to be part of something more, part of the next wave of helping people and not just as a coach, but as a distinctively Christian Coach. There is a difference!

Who knows? Maybe you will be a pioneer in the process of Christian Coaching. Maybe your name will be among those listed as the early voices who said, “There needs to be something better for coaches, something clearly Christian—something like X.” I hope so, and I hope to encourage you on your journey of being the messenger of God’s voice to take average people past mediocrity to experience God’s vision for their lives.

 

Coaching the Coach Tip

If you have been searching for the next chapter in your journey as a people helper, perhaps coaching is the answer. There is no better place to start than with the largest group of Christian Coaches in the world, the International Christian Coaching Association (ICCA). If you are sensing God’s call on your life to prepare to serve others as a coach, I invite you to visit ICCA’s website at http://www.iccaonline.net/, or you can also visit www.LightUniversity.com since there are almost 200 hours of online Christian Coach training programs available. Both of these organizations are dedicated to equipping you to make a positive difference in our world for Jesus Christ.

 


 

Dwight BainDwight Bain, M.A., is a pioneer in Christian coaching with more than 25 years of experience. He is a Certified Life Coach who has worked with executives, pro-athletes and business owners facing complex situations that required managing significant change. Dwight is a best-selling author, media personality and communicator who has worked with corporations like Disney, Toyota and Bank of America; as well as organizations such as Florida Hospital, the American Heart Association and the U.S. Army.

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.

Posted in Coaching Blog | Leave a comment