Three Reasons You Can Get Excited About Spring

 Lisa Murray, M.A.

 


 

… and the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.  Anais Nin

 

aaron-burden-229222This quote comes to mind often as I gaze around me and see spring begin to unfold in full bloom.  It’s how I feel inside.  Its as if the cavernous chill of winter that has held me tightly in its cocoon has now begun to loosen its grasp underneath the penetrating heat of the sun.  Winter is gone.  Death is gone.  New life is born – right here, right now.

I guess that’s why I love Easter so much.  Within a three-day period, we get to experience the apex of spiritual winter – a death so profound that everything is draped in darkness.  It feels interminable.  The anguish of our sin, overwhelming.  All hope is lost.  Or so it seems…

And then on Sunday, beautiful Sunday, the unimaginable happens!  Mary and Martha  find the stone has been rolled away.  Jesus is not there.  He is risen.  He is risen indeed!

Out of death springs life.  Out of darkness shines light.  His light.  I never have to fear the winter, because I know that is not the end of the story.  Spring is coming.

For any of us who have experienced winter in their lives, there are three reasons to get excited about spring.

 

The arrival of spring means that winter is almost over.

 

We all need winter.  God takes us gently and faithfully into barren seasons, heart-breaking seasons, because He knows that all of the old, shattered, wounded parts need to be healed so that new life can grow.  Without winter, there is no spring.  Without death, there is no life.

In the last weeks of winter, however, I become weary.  The tepid grey skies, the endless days forced into confined spaces, and the repetition of dreariness, begin to take its toll.  Spring announces that we made it through another winter season.  We survived.  Hope is just over the horizon.
 
 
The arrival of spring prepares our hearts for rebirth.

 

rod-long-47289There is nothing better than the first days that spring finally breaks through the waning hold of winter, and delivers the most life-giving, magical days.  I can breathe again. I can hope again.  All things become new.

When Jesus was crucified, it appeared that death had prevailed.  There was no hope.  But then on the third day, this marvelous and other-worldly, divine explosion broke through the tomb and broke through my heart, resurrecting from the ashes a new light, a new life inside of me.  I am reborn, in the depths of marrow and soul.  I am utterly and delightfully refreshed and renewed.  Spring has come.  Life has come.
 
 
 
 
 
The arrival of spring offers the promise of hope, of new life.

 

Redemption ushers is unexpected restoration.  Colossians 1:20-22 ESV says,

 And through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross. And you, who once were alienated and hostile in mind, doing evil deeds, He has now reconciled in his body of flesh by His death, in order to present you holy and blameless and above reproach before Him.

 

karl-fredrickson-74973We, who were strangers, are now friends.  We who were enemies, are now brothers.  Jesus has reconciled all of my sin in His sacrifice on the cross, and now I am holy and blameless in His sight.

I am a new creation.  I have a new identity.  My identity is as one who is beloved and chosen of her Father.  I have hope for a future.  Spring reveals to me that there are new seeds of life continually being planted in me.  As winter seasons fulfill their purpose in my life, so spring fulfills its purpose.  Spring prepares and nurtures the crops for the harvest.

He has called you.  He has a plan for you.  He wants you to experience His life, His love, His freedom, His peace.  He wants to heal you.  He wants to plant new passions and purposes within you.  He wants to bring forth a new harvest in your life.

The arrival of spring means that winter is almost over.  Whatever the winter is in your life – it won’t last forever.  Spring is coming.  Spring prepares our hearts for rebirth.  Old things truly are dead and buried in the ground – behold ALL things are new in Him!  The arrival of spring offers the promise of new hope.  The journey is not over.  Just as the blooms on the daffodils are beginning to unfold from their slumber and display God’s glory, so you too, are just beginning to blossom.  Embrace it.  Celebrate it.

Spring is beautiful!

 

Don’t remain closed tightly in a bud.  Step out. Risk. Embrace all that God has for you and begin to see your life blossom!

 


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 Coaching Blog | Leave a comment

Desert Experience

Georgia Shaffer, M.A.


 

Excerpted with permission from A Gift of Mourning Glories.

 


 

aricka-lewis-208108“I’m sorry, but there’s nothing else we can do,” the doctor said.

I desperately wanted him to prescribe something—anything—to give me back my strength. The transplant, chemo- therapy, and radiation had taken their toll on my stamina and endurance.

As the doctor walked out of the room, my desire for a quick recovery walked out with him and hopelessness settled in my heart.

On the ride home, I felt numb. Unaware of my surroundings, I had no idea how to deal with these feelings of loss.

Each day I awoke with an ache in the center of my being, accompanied by the belief that nothing would ever change. Sometimes I would cry; other times I wanted to but couldn’t.  I forced myself to eat. Winter existed both outdoors and inside of me.

Although I knew depression accompanies grief, I had no clue how intense and debilitating it could be.

“I want to feel lighthearted again. Everything seems so serious and heavy,” I said to Lindy, my counselor. “It’s like a dark oppressive cloud remains fixed over me. All I do is rest and submit doctor bills, which invariably get rejected by the insurance company for some stupid reason. I realize I can’t go back to the way my life was, but the pain I feel…”

“Emotional pain?” Lindy asked.

“Yes, it’s far worse than any physical pain I’ve experienced,” I said. “I don’t know what to do. I just want this wretched feeling to go away!”

Unfortunately, relief from the suffering that accompanies sorrow doesn’t come immediately. Eugene Peterson, author of The Message, wrote, “It’s arguable that the main difference today is not how much people are hurting, but how much they expect to be relieved from their hurting. The previous century suffered just as much—in fact, probably much more…. The big difference today is that we have this mentality that if it’s wrong, you can fix it. You don’t have to live with any discomfort or frustration.”

The incorrect assumption that we shouldn’t have to tolerate pain only adds to our misery when our situation doesn’t improve. We wonder, “What’s wrong with me? Why can’t I get rid of this tormenting ache in my soul? Why can’t I dust myself off and move on?”

averie-woodard-122274We need to understand that depression is a journey through the desert—a long arduous trek through hot, arid terrain. But like the Israelites, who learned to know God in the midst of their desert discomfort, we, too, can experience the living God in the midst of our emotional battles.

In the seventeenth chapter of Exodus we read that the Israelites’ spirits were low as they confronted one dilemma after another. They had just solved the problem of no water when the Amalekites attacked (Exodus 17:8-13, NIV)!

Joshua, at Moses’ direction, chose some men and prepared for battle. While Joshua and his men were fighting, Moses went to the top of the hill and held up the staff of God. By holding up his hands Moses was symbolically appealing to God for help. “As long as Moses held up his hands, the Israelites were winning, but whenever he lowered his hands, the Amalekites were winning” (Exodus 17:11, NIV).

Holding up a staff for hours can be tough, and Moses’ arms grew weary. Aaron and Hur retrieved a stone (symbol of the Lord as our firm foundation) on which Moses could rest, and they held up Moses’ hands until Joshua overcame the Amalekite army.

The Israelites’ three-step approach can be helpful to us when our spirits are low and we think we can’t go on.
 
 
1. Request God’s help.

We need to accept our vulnerability, admit we are helpless, and, like Moses lifting up his arms in the desert, appeal to God for help.

During radiation treatments, when my blood counts kept dropping to dangerously low levels, my insurance company informed me they had decided not to pay the $105,000 for the bone marrow transplant I had completed several months earlier.

It was during this time that I penned the following in my journal.

 

February 5, 1990:

At times the ache inside feels like I’m sick— homesick. But I am at home! Maybe it is a yearning for another home, one without pain. Wherever I go it hurts; the pain follows me. Lord, please help me; only you can help.
I will admit that I spent a lot of time mumbling and grumbling and seeking the help of others. However, it was when I acknowledged I was helpless and requested God’s guidance that my circumstances and my outlook slowly began to improve.

Although asking for God’s help doesn’t guarantee instant relief, we must not be like King Asa (2 Chronicles 16:12) who sought help only from physicians and did not seek assistance from God.

 
 
2. Rest and trust in him when you grow weary.

ben-white-147268Once during a follow-up visit, while jotting some notes in my file, my doctor looked up at me. “I don’t know how you do it,” he said. “So much is stacked against you. Not only are you attempting to regain your strength but you’ve lost your job, your marriage, and now you’re in the middle of fighting the insurance company.”

I pointed to heaven and replied, “That’s the only hope I have.”

Perhaps I was learning to rest and trust in God, instead of resisting what life had brought my way.

 
 
3. Rely on help and support from others.

Most of us prefer to give help rather than receive it, but it sometimes becomes necessary to allow others to support us. Help for my insurance problems came from friends and acquaintances who saw the injustice and were willing to “hold up my arms.” It took five years and the involvement of lawyers, but eventually the insurance company did pay for the transplant.

Finding hope in the midst of despair can seem impossible—like searching for beauty in the midst of filth. But when there’s nothing more you can do, remember the three R’s:

  1. Request God’s help
  2. Rest and trust in Him
  3. Rely on others

 


Want to read more from Georgia? Her book, A Gift of Mourning Glories, helps readers avoid the self-doubts, frustration and painful mistakes often made when beginning anew. Using a practical five-step approach, she shares how we can move from despair and helplessness (mourning) to hope and joy (glory). Purchase Georgia’s book here! http://www.georgiashaffer.com/wordpress/store/books/a-gift-of-mourning-glories/


shaffer_georgiaGeorgia Shaffer, M.A., MCLC, CPLC, is a credentialed life coach, Pennsylvania licensed psychologist, professional speaker, and the author of five books, including: Coaching the Coach: Lessons from Christian Coaches and Taking Out Your Emotional Trash. She is on the teaching team of AACC’s DVD-training series: Life Coaching 101 and 201. In 2015, Georgia received AACC’s award for Excellence in Christian Caregiving. She specializes in individual coaching for coaches, women, and communicators, as well as group coaching using EQ, Strengths Finder 2.0, and personality assessments for coaches. To find out more, visit www.GeorgiaShaffer.com.

Posted in Coaching Blog | Leave a comment

Conducting a Resume Review as Part of Career Self-Discovery

Dina Jones, M.A.


 
I love resumes.

Usually, when I tell someone that I love working on resumes with clients, I get one of those “are you sure?” looks. I’ve met many people who dread this part of the professional word. Is your resume up to date? How many coaches outsource this piece of the career development journey with their clients?

Stop. The next time you engage in career coaching, spend some quality time on the resume. It’s not just for getting interviews from employers, but for helping your client learn more about themselves.


Professional Skills Profile

alvin-mahmudov-221416Let’s start with the professional skills profile.  It is customary for clients to follow the resume header with a listing of their top skills as most relevant to the position.  (Not an objective. This is outdated unless you are applying to a federal position). This is great opportunity to review (or implement) strength discovery with clients. This can look like a coaching conversation or an official assessment. Observing with a client what strengths they possess and how they are relevant to their desired field at hand can be eye opening. Sometimes clients realize they need to build a certain skill, others realize they are a better candidate than they thought!

Coaching questions:

  • Do these skills match the job description or role?
  • Are the strengths and abilities you hold most dear represented here?
  • Do you feel that anything here is a stretch or that any strengths are missing?

 

Education

Following a skills profile, clients may choose to next share a section on their education and on their experience. I recommend placing whichever is most relevant to the position at hand first. As you talk through a client’s education section, this is a great time to talk through several significant factors in career development. Is your client satisfied with their level of education? Have they completed internships or certification programs to set themselves apart from other employment hopefuls? This is often where a client tells me that they want to go back to school, or that there is a training program they have been thinking about starting. This is why a resume review is so much fun, and so significant in a career-coaching journey.

Coaching questions:

  • Are there any awards, clubs, honors or internships you did at this school that would be helpful for an employer to know about?
  • How does your degree prepare you for the job you’re seeking? If it is an indirect correlation, are you demonstrating your transferable skills?

 

Experience

hunter-johnson-222001In the experience section, clients write about what they have accomplished and what strengths they’ve displayed in various roles. This is often yet another chance to touch on strengths. When I see clients listing tasks instead of accomplishments or skills, I begin talking the client through what the accomplished in their previous positions. When working with younger clients who are newer to the work force, I often find it helpful to ask how they did a task well. For example, if they had listed on their resume “gave towels to the pool patrons”, we talk through what they brought to their role. Were they friendly and welcoming to the organization’s guests? Were they in a fast paced environment? Did they have to multitask or organize information? This can be affirming for the client with relatively little experience.

Coaching questions

  • How have you helped others by giving your time or talents to an organization or cause?
  • What was your biggest accomplishment as a volunteer?
  • What made this type of work rewarding for you?

Still in the experience section, often I ask clients how much they enjoyed each task on their resume. Sometimes I discover that a client found something a terrible fit for them, but keeps listing it on their resume because it was a large part of their role. In this case, I recommend trying to find and focus on the tasks that you would most like to repeat. Otherwise, employers may reach out because they see something you’ve done that they need at their organization- even if it was something you did not enjoy!

 

Volunteer

I love talking through a client’s volunteer section of their resume, if they have one. There have been a few college students who have had extensive volunteer experience in one area, while remaining “Undecided” or with lackluster feelings about an unrelated major. Sometimes if you love it enough to do it for free, there is something to explore there! I also find that sometimes clients who are not realizing their full potential or exercising all of their strengths in their paid employment, are doing so in their volunteer work! Sometimes, we decide to move some volunteer experiences up into the experience section (that’s allowed!) so an employer sees this first!

Coaching questions

  • What made you decide to donate your time to this organization/in this way?
  • How would you contrast your feelings about your volunteer role with your feelings about past employment? Do you feel productive? Fulfilled? Engaged?
  • What about this volunteer position demonstrates your fit for your future goals?

 
The Cover Letter

helloquence-51716When working through a cover letter with a client, I ask them to write the cover letter keeping in mind that they should sell the reader on why the support the company’s mission, vision and values.  Sometimes, this leads the client to further explore the company’s mission, vision and values and they discover that there may be a better fit- or they become more passionate about the organization at hand!

Coaching questions

  • Do you feel excited by reading this organization’s mission, vision and values?
  • How can you explain to the employer that you are a fit not only for the industry, but also for their specific company?
  • Is there anything that gives you reason for pause when researching this company?

 

There are more sections and more questions, so what I have shared here is really the tip of the iceberg. I hope that the next time you are working with your client on a career issue, you spend enjoyable time together with their resume.
 
 


 
Jones Dina (2)Dina Jones, M.A., serves as the Director for Professional and Public Relations for the American Association of Christian Counselors. Jones holds an M.A. degree from Liberty University is in Professional Counseling. She has worked in church counseling, career counseling, and life coaching with a career emphasis. Dina is a member of the Mid-Atlantic Career Counseling Association and has served as a board member for two years, with one year as the Hospitality Chair. Additionally, she teaches both residentially and online for the College of General Studies at Liberty University. Jones serves on meal teams and is involved with the women’s ministry program at Lynchburg First Church of the Nazarene. She is a loving wife and mother of three.

Posted in Coaching Blog | Leave a comment

Seeing Red

Georgia Shaffer, M.A.


 

Excerpted with permission from A Gift of Mourning Glories.
 


 
Have you ever felt angry and fed up with everyone and everything? I have and often wondered if that is how a murderer feels. It’s a scary, crazy, horrible feeling.

Although I had expected the deep sadness I felt over the loss of my health, job, and marriage, what I didn’t anticipate was the seething rage.

Here are a few suggestions for recycling our anger:
 
 
1. Do something physical.
kyle-ellefson-196125Furious that her husband had left her and their three children for his young secretary, Carolyn said, “Exercise and gardening became a release for my rage. I worked out almost every morning, and in the evening after dinner I ranted, raved, fussed, and fumed as I weeded my garden.”

I, too, recycled my anger in the garden. One morning after battling the insurance company over the bill for my transplant, I headed for my backyard.

The weeds became insurance agents. “You don’t care about people!” I yanked out a skunk cabbage. “You only care about money!” I uprooted a dandelion. “When people need insurance, you don’t pay.” I dug at the roots of a thistle. “You only want to take care of healthy people.”

The physical exertion helped me vent my fury. But it didn’t happen overnight. Like the weeds that have a persistent way of reappearing, so did my anger. I had to continue processing it.
 
 
2. Any activity that expends physical energy such as cleaning the house, kneading dough, pounding nails, or digging in the dirt can help us dispel our wrath. Pray, reflect, and meditate.

We can begin praying for eyes to see, ears to hear, and a heart to perceive God’s perspective for those circumstances that upset us. “Lord, how do you want me to respond to this?” or “How do you want me to see this?” are questions I have often asked.

Dr. Mark Futato, Professor of Old Testament at Reformed Theological Seminary in Orlando, Florida, once told me, “Through the Book of Psalms, God gives us the freedom to ask our agonizing questions in prayer, questions like ‘Where were you?’ and ‘Why?’ For example, ‘Why, O Lord, do you stand far off? Why do you hide yourself in times of trouble?’ (Psalm 10:1, NIV); ‘My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? Why are you so far from saving me, so far from the words of my groaning?’” (Psalm 22:1, ESV).
 
 
3. Write in a journal.
 

aaron-burden-123582Our journals can be a safe place to unload toxic thoughts. As we write we begin to shed our deep hurts and irritations.

September 26, 1992:

I find myself so angry, hurt, irritated, and furious. I will write down every little thing that is annoying me and give the list to Jesus. I will ask him to take it and make something good of it.

  • I’m angry at all the things to do around the The cooking, cleaning, bills, ironing, clothes to wash and mend.
  • I’m angry with All he wants to do is play Nintendo or watch TV and then do his homework at the last minute.
  • I’m angry at my lack of stamina and
  • I’m angry that all I seem to do is go to doctor appointments.

 
 
4. Share your feelings.

Whether we talk to a counselor or caring friend, a good lis- tener can help us express our aggravations constructively. “Some days the urge to destroy frightens me. I’m afraid that by expressing my anger I’ll lose control and be hauled away in a straightjacket,” I told Lindy, my counselor.

“Don’t forget: acknowledging your rage is a healthy sign and as much a part of grief as sadness,” Lindy reminded me.

“It doesn’t feel healthy,” I responded. “It feels awful.”
 
 
5. Get rest, eat well, and set priorities.

eli-defaria-100532If every little thing annoys me, it’s time for some rest and pampering.

“It’s amazing how much smaller my problems appeared after a good dinner and a good night’s sleep,” a friend told me. She was discovering that taking time to rest and renew after a difficult week enabled her to release her frustrations and focus on what really mattered.

Ephesians 4:26(NRSV) reminds us, “Be angry but do not sin”. Rather than being afraid when anger grips us, we ought to tremble at the thought of what will happen if we lash out rather than face our fury.

Expressing our aggravation is a bit like taking out the trash. Our anger, irritations, and frustrations need to be discarded or recycled. Just be careful where they’re dumped.
 


 
Want to read more from Georgia? Her book, A Gift of Mourning Glories, helps readers avoid the self-doubts, frustration and painful mistakes often made when beginning anew. Using a practical five-step approach, she shares how we can move from despair and helplessness (mourning) to hope and joy (glory). Purchase Georgia’s book here! http://www.georgiashaffer.com/wordpress/store/books/a-gift-of-mourning-glories/
 


 
shaffer_georgiaGeorgia Shaffer, M.A., MCLC, CPLC, is a credentialed life coach, Pennsylvania licensed psychologist, professional speaker, and the author of five books, including: Coaching the Coach: Lessons from Christian Coaches and Taking Out Your Emotional Trash. She is on the teaching team of AACC’s DVD-training series: Life Coaching 101 and 201. In 2015, Georgia received AACC’s award for Excellence in Christian Caregiving. She specializes in individual coaching for coaches, women, and communicators, as well as group coaching using EQ, Strengths Finder 2.0, and personality assessments for coaches. To find out more, visit www.GeorgiaShaffer.com.

Posted in Coaching Blog, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

The Proverbs Project

June Hunt, 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!
 


 

The one who calls you is faithful and he will do it.

1 Thessalonians 5:24

 
img-1Years ago I had the privilege of staying in the home of a highly respected couple during a week-long speaking and singing tour. Steve, Shelly, and their daughter, Courtney, couldn’t have made me feel more at home.

I arrived in Orlando on a Friday and needed to travel to West Palm Beach the following Friday for a television appearance. As it turned out, Steve had business to conduct in West Palm that very same Friday, so when he offered to drive me there and back, I was delighted. During the three-hour trip, Steve and I chatted about numerous topics—from current events to the economy to his job. But within the first twenty minutes, the conversation dove into the deepest of waters.

“June,” Steve said somewhat hesitantly, “I wonder if I could talk to you about a problem I’ve been struggling with for a long time?”

“Absolutely! I’d be honored to help in any way that I can.”

“It’s my anger. No matter how hard I try, I just keep failing. I feel so guilty. Especially because of the toll it takes on my family. Shelly is a wonderful wife. I couldn’t ask for more. We’ve been married for twenty-six years, and she has been so patient with me about this. But I know I’ve hurt her many times by the way I’ve exploded when I’m mad. It’s as if everything I know in my head flies right out the window. And to see the look on Courtney’s face after I’ve yelled about something I should have handled so much differently . . . I feel like such a failure. Do you have any ideas?”

I was impressed with Steve’s humility and authenticity. Though he was a successful businessman, respected church leader, and devoted family man, he knew he had a problem. He seemed genuinely ready to change. What Steve did not know was that gracious Shelly and Courtney, each separately and privately, had mentioned Steve’s anger to me earlier in the week—completely unprompted. I didn’t divulge this to Steve, but the unified message was clear: Anger kept him from reaching his God-given potential.

Immediately, I felt impressed to present Steve with a project. I asked, “Would you be willing to embark on a project for one month to address your anger?”

“Yes, I would,” he replied without hesitation. “What is it?”

“Would you be willing to read one chapter of Proverbs each day for a month?”

img-2“A chapter a day? That’s it?”

“Well, begin with chapter one and read each verse slowly so the words sink into your mind and heart. Then, each day, write down every verse that has anything to do with anger, whether speech or attitude. When you’re finished, review the verses you’ve written and ask the Lord what He wants you to learn from them.”

“Sure,” he said. “I can do that. No problem.”

We dubbed our experiment “The Proverbs Project.”

On Saturday, I returned to my home in Dallas, praying during and after my flight for God to work powerfully in Steve’s life. For the next eight weeks I heard nothing from him. But then, at the beginning of week nine, I received the following note:

Dear June,

I’m a changed man. Every morning after breakfast, Shelly and I read a chapter in Proverbs. At first, I thought, “Why did June give me the project— nothing I’ve read has anything to do with anger.” But I stayed with it and completed The Proverbs Project.

When I read all the verses that show what an angry man looks like, I was overwhelmed by the image of the person I did not want to be—someone who stirs up strife and dissension, someone people should avoid. I knew I needed to change. Well, bottom line—the Lord is changing me!

 

A short time later, I had dinner with Shelly and Steve, who were in Dallas on business. What a delight to hear how God had worked. Not only did Steve note the change, but Shelly was quick to confirm, “The Proverbs Project had made all the difference in the world!”

img-3How grateful to God I am for showing me what Steve needed—at just the right time.

Since suggesting The Proverbs Project to Steve, I have recommended it to many others over the years. This exercise is usually not a cure-all, not a quick-fix, but it provides a powerful motivation to cooperate with God. It motivates anyone who is genuinely willing to let Him change them.

The Bible says, “The one who calls you is faithful and he will do it” (1 Thessalonians 5:24). For more than twenty-five years, I have had the privilege of seeing God “do it” as I have coached others to be all they can be in Him, knowing that the application of His Word is the secret weapon that turns our tests into living testimonies.
 
Coaching the Coach Tip:
To experience the maximum power of God, appropriately use the Word of God. If you genuinely want God’s blessing, learn how to use the Bible. Hebrews 4:12 says, “The Word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.”
 


 
hunt_june1June Hunt founded the biblical counseling ministry of Hope For The Heart in 1986. Today it offers biblical hope and practical help in 27 languages and 60+ countries. June’s Biblical Counseling Library provides in-depth insights into 100 topics. Her teaching is featured in monthly Biblical Counseling Institutes and on two daily radio programs: Hope For The Heart and Hope In The Night, dedicated to presenting God’s Truth for Today’s Problems. Connect with June on her Facebook at June.Hunt.Hope or at www.HopeForTheHeart.org.

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

Establishing Goals

Linda Mintle, Ph.D.

 


 
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!
 


 

If you don’t know where you are going, you’ll end up someplace else.

Yogi Berra

 

u_5bnlnfpn4-oliver-kleinJulie first saw me on a national television show and decided I was the coach she needed. Given her initial goal for coaching, I wasn’t so sure.

During our first visit, I had her fill out the requisite paperwork and tell me more about her goals for our coaching time. In a nutshell, Julie wanted to build a financial empire. Since I was not a financial coach and we were talking about a fairly large portfolio, I told Julie I was not the best person to help her reach that goal. When I suggested she employ a financial coach, she hesitated and insisted I be her coach. This began a discussion of what I could do for her based on my training and background.

What I could do was help her evaluate whether or not her goal was doable given her current life circumstances and life goals. Much in her life had changed since the time she was a major financial player in the business world. What I sensed from our conversation was her unrealistic expectation of what it would take for her to function in the business world like she did years ago. She was no longer a single woman who could work long and grueling hours, and she now had other responsibilities and interests.

For us to proceed, we had to agree on working goals. She began to articulate the challenge—reengage in the venture capitalist market with no sacrifice to her life balance. I didn’t see how this was possible. She was now married with children, facts that did not exist when she made her first million. The hiccup in her proposed business success path had everything to do choices and changes in her life.

What I could do was help her evaluate the pros and cons of moving back into the world of high finance. What would it take, and how would her life be different? Was she willing to sacrifice areas of her life in order to reengage at her previous level of commitment?

rlw-uc03gwc-glenn-carstens-peters (1)Setting goals is the first and most powerful step in the coaching process. It is how progress and success are measured. Goals must be realistic and clearly defined by the client. Julie was asking to achieve a goal without considering the impact of that goal on other parts of her life. Her push to get back on top would come with a price to her family, personal leisure time, and friendships. Furthermore, in my opinion, her already problematic marriage needed more, not less, attention.

Her desire to have it all at this point in her life was unrealistic. Something had to give. Would it be her marriage, her children, her personal time, or her desire to be a financial player again? What part of her life would bear the sacrifice of time and attention if she reengaged in the financial market at the level she felt she needed to succeed?

Julie had to evaluate the amount of time and energy she could give to her career in order to duplicate her past efforts. So the agreed-upon goal of our coaching became a realistic reevaluation of what would change if she became a financial player again. Was she committed to that change, and would she accept the imbalance this would create in the rest of her life?

After several sessions, using the Wheel of Life tool, Julie had a better view of her life. She was able to consider each area—mother, wife, friend, community leader, and so forth—and assess the balance she currently had in each area against the balance she desired. Visually, she could see that she was already frustrated in certain areas due to her lack of time and attention. Adding her former business career to her current life would push more areas out of balance.

What Julie finally decided was to work on areas of imbalance and find a new way to engage in the business world, a way she could control and that would not require a huge investment of her time. Coaching helped her sort out her desires in a more realistic manner. She finished our sessions with a sense of what was possible in the here and now, developed goals for the future when her children were older, and initiated action steps that allowed her to keep her hand in the business world, making some deals, but not going full-speed ahead at this stage in her life.

w3ynosfvya0-mikhail-vasilyevOnce her goal was clear, the ambivalence she carried dissipated. Coaching helped her consider the impact of a desired change. At the end of our time, Julie was able to decide on a plan of action for now and in the near future.
 
Coaching the Coach Tip:
 
Clarity about your parameters for coaching at the beginning of the relationship is important. Sometimes you have to challenge the validity of a client’s goals and commitment. While being careful not to manipulate the person, you can be helpful by realistically laying out the consequences of various paths or choices. The earlier you can do this in the process, the better the coaching will proceed. Goals direct the conversation and the action steps. When they are clear, the client can measure progress and make informed decisions.
 


 
mintle_lindaLinda Mintle, Ph.D., coaches clients in the areas of relationships, life balance, and food and weight issues. She is a bestselling author with 18 titles. Dr. Mintle is a licensed therapist, professor, national speaker, paid blogger for BeliefNet and a media expert. With 30 years of experience working with people in all types of settings, coaching has been a rewarding way for Linda to help people maximize their strengths, set goals and take positive steps towards their life goals.
 
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

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