The Sandwich Generation: Has Life Taken a Bite Out of Your Clients?

Shirene Gentry, M.A.

I became “sandwiched” between my youngest child’s diaper bag with snacks on one shoulder and a heaving bag on the other- the second bag carrying my aging parents’ file folders of bank statements.

I became weighed down physically, emotionally, relationally, and spiritually during a season of life that none of my peers could relate to.  I was in my mid-30s and as an only child; the burden of providing care for my aging parents was on my shoulders.  Although I can look back on my commitment to my aging parents with no regret, there were quite a few caregiving issues that came with huge learning curve.  While nothing could have completely prepared me for each and every situation I encountered, there are several areas in which I could have benefited from a coach who was knowledgeable about the issues facing a caregiver- especially one ‘sandwiched’ between generations.

With the International Coach Federation reporting that 80% of coaching clients had improved self-confidence and 67% had an improved life/work balance, a coach can help a sandwiched caregiver immensely (International Coach Federation, n.d.).

The following S-A-N-D-W-I-C-H acronym can be used to remember eight areas to review with clients. Problem solving in these areas can benefit not only your client, but those depending on your client for daily care.


S- Self-care is Crucial. How does the client intend to take care of himself or herself on a daily basis?  What will recharge their emotional and physical bodies? How will your client learn to say “yes” and “no” when needed? Caregivers often struggle with boundaries and even the basics of self-care.  As their coach, you can assist in this process.

A- Address Difficult Issues. Are their legal documents in order? Examples include Powers of Attorney, Living Wills, Estate Wills, just to name a few. Do they desire to stay in their home?  Are there financial resources to accomplish this?  Obtain names of the parents’ professional network and secure Powers of Attorney to discuss parents’ financial, legal, and medical matters with the respective professionals. If the aging loved one is not of sound mind, guardianship may be needed. Consult a lawyer in your state as needed to answer these questions.

N- Name and Identify Your Support Team. Who can be a support system for you and your family as well as those to help your aging parents? Examples include, but are not limited to, neighbors, close friends, local agencies to provide services, and professionals (accountants, lawyers, doctors, and cleaning services, etc.).

D- Driving & Transportation. How will your clients assess the driving abilities of their parent(s)? Are those who are aging able to drive?  This can easily be a source of conflict among family members, but a necessary topic to discuss. If needed, let the medical professionals speak to this issue.

W- Wishes, Expectations and Desires. How will the client begin the conversation with their loved ones regarding their wishes? Wishes can be an all-inclusive topic regarding care (short term and long term). What are the unwritten and unspoken beliefs that “drive” the family regarding care?  These are expectations that need to be addressed. In doing so, they may or may not be realistic given each family’s  unique responsibilities.  There is no right or wrong formula for these issues.

I- Individual Spirituality. Assess your client’s view of God using a Likert Scale.  Do they feel He is distant? Near? How can the caregiver best sense and feel God’s presence? Your client may want to journal their spiritual journey.  Also, it will be a blessing to reflect back on their written record in future years.

C- Communication. If married, how can the caregiver daily communicate to stay emotionally connected with their spouse? How can the spouse listen with empathy so as to understand? How can they, as a couple, navigate this season of caregiving while still honoring their marital covenant as priority? Communication coaching may be needed for the caregiving couple. Communication is not just for couples, however. Healthy communication skills are important for interactions with parents, children, employers, relatives, and friends. If the primary caregiver is employed, he or she may need to make their employer and/or employees aware of any schedule changes incurred by medical/legal appointments. As the coach, you need to make sure that you are modeling good communication skills for your client.

H- Humor and Positivity. How can your client(s) incorporate humor or other healthy coping skills to build resiliency?  Humor is good for the mind and body in relieving stress.  Have them make a list of their “Top 10” to incorporate on a regular basis to promote positive self-care.  In addition, these will be identifiable life skills for the future.

Many unexpected details of caregiving sandwich the caregiver on every level.   As coaches, it is our job to help our clients understand that he/she can be as proactive as possible with the issues that are within their control.



International Coach Federation, (n.d.) Benefits of using a coach. Retrieved from

Shirene H. Gentry received her bachelor of arts degree from Wake Forest University and her master of arts in professional counseling from Liberty University.  She is a board certified master Christian life coach in High Point, North Carolina specializing in the areas of stress management, relationship, marriage, and health/wellness.  She is a member of the AACC and the ICCA. She has written several books, including Change Unveiled: Hope for Positive Choices, Inspiration Unveiled: Hope for the Seasons of Life, and Recipes Unveiled: Hope for Healthy Eating. 

She can be reached at, Hope Unveiled Life Coaching (Facebook), hopeunveiled (Instagram), @hopeunveiled; @Shirene_G. (Twitter), and Hope Unveiled Life Coaching (YouTube).


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Stuffing Pain and Spiritual Platitudes

Shirene Gentry, M.A.

shirene-gentryPooh was my favorite childhood companion from my past. He wasn’t the only thing “stuffed” during my formative years.

As a naturally hard-wired introvert and only child, my default mode was to “stuff” when I became disappointed or hurt, ranging on the continuum of little daily occurrences or bigger ones that left me with negative life “takeaways.”

The latter half of my upbringing by my maternal grandmother provided the (thankful) influence of involvement in a biblically based church with lifelong friends. But the downside was this: I became really good at answering the heartaches with platitudes. Not that they’re wrong, mind you, but the platitude or verse bypassed and glossed over the disappointment. And I learned that this was the expected way to process the hurt. Not only that, this became an increasingly easy default mode well into my adulthood.

Although coaching doesn’t delve into the past, ask your clients if they stuff, spiritualize, or both. If your clients are faith based, here’s an original formula that reveals my own transformational process years ago:


 Sense: Sense the hurt that is present. Don’t stuff. Legitimate or not, sense what is stirring in your client’s Have him or her admit what is being felt. Stuffing and spiritualizing make for a dangerous combination toward healing.

Surrender: Once the hurt is sensed and felt – without the default mode of stuffing or spiritualizing – then the healing work can begin. An excellent point to tell your clients, if they are faith based, is that God can’t ultimately turn pain into anything good as long as it is being held on to

See: This is a two part process:

First, help your client “see” the truth in this situation, whether about himself/herself, God, or others. Sometimes an existential approach is needed to clarify understanding from a broader perspective.  This is where beliefs about how life works need to be carefully examined against the backdrop of Truth (Scripture) and truth (of the situation).

Second, see what God does with the situation. Implement Romans 8:28. God will assume responsibility for the outcome only after a client has released the pain.*

God gave us emotions to heed, handle, and hand over, unlike our stuffed companions of the past.

This is Hope Unveiled!

* If forgiveness is part of the predicament, then walk your client through this process or make a referral, depending on the severity of the offense.

Shirene H. Gentry received her bachelor of arts degree from Wake Forest University and her master of arts in professional counseling from Liberty University.  She is a board certified master Christian life coach in High Point, North Carolina specializing in the areas of stress management, relationship, marriage, and health/wellness.  She is a member of the AACC and the ICCA. She has written several books, including Change Unveiled: Hope for Positive Choices, Inspiration Unveiled: Hope for the Seasons of Life, and Recipes Unveiled: Hope for Healthy Eating. 

She can be reached at, Hope Unveiled Life Coaching (Facebook), hopeunveiled (Instagram), @hopeunveiled; @Shirene_G. (Twitter), and Hope Unveiled Life Coaching (YouTube).

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Happy Women Live Better

Burton, ValorieDr. Tim speaks with Certified Personal and Executive Coach Valorie Burton about the ways that women can trigger happiness each and every day.

Listen to Life, Love & Family show “Happy Women Live Better” with Valorie Burton:

Valorie Burton is author of six books on personal development, including How Did I Get So Busy?What’s Really Holding You Back?, and Where Will You Go From Here?. She is the founder of The Coaching and Positive Psychology (CAPP) Institute and she is deeply committed to helping people be more resilient so they can thrive in life and work.

She is a regular guest on both Headline News (HLN) and CNN, where she gives practical career advice for viewers every other week. She has appeared in and on NPR, Oprah Radio, “O” The Oprah Magazine, the LA Times, and numerous other media outlets. Ms. Burton has a master’s degree in applied positive psychology from the University of Pennsylvania and a master’s degree in journalism from Florida A&M University. Her BA is from Florida State University.

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Upcoming Events

The Internal Christian Coaching Association is committed to providing great events and opportunities for members. We have two fantastic webinars coming up that you don’t want to miss!


Feb 2014 cropped picYou don’t want to miss this fantastic webinar with Shannon Ethridge, M.A. She will be speaking on Building a Booming Coaching Practice through Speaking and Writing. Shannon Ethridge, M.A., is a best-selling author, international speaker, and certified life and relationship coach with a master’s degree in counseling and human relations from Liberty University. She has spoken to youth, college students, and adults for more than 20 years, and is the author of 22 books. Mark your calendars for Thursday, April 21stfrom 6-8pm EST!

Here’s a glimpse of what we have planned:


A successful coaching practice requires far more than honing your communication skills and hanging a shingle outside your door. Marketing and advertising are KEY to building ANY business, and a coaching practice is no different. S.H. Britt is quoted as saying, “Doing business without advertising is like winking at a girl in the dark. You know what you are doing, but nobody else does.” Indeed, we must let others know what type of coaching we offer, what qualifies us in this field, and how we can help people create the life, career, relationships, etc. that they crave. How can we do all of this effectively without looking as if we are “marketing ourselves?” One of the best ways to organically advertise your coaching practice is to establish both a speaking and writing platform. This allows your voice to be heard, your face to be recognized, your message to be magnified, and creates a “breadcrumb trail” to your office door.

Learning Objectives
Participants will

  1. Identify the most common psychological roadblocks hindering the marketing success of any coach, writer, or speaker, as well as strategies for overcoming these roadblocks
  2. Be able to articulate the vital elements of a strong speaking bio—one that will leave a lasting impact on any group or organization considering you as a speaker
  3. Explore unique marketing strategies, such as the use of press releases for potential interviews, utilizing social media, and publishing books and magazine/journal articles


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Relationship Coaching to end Romance

Money Can’t buy me Love

A relationship strengthening guide for intimate connections

Can a stuffed animal with a romantic message solve a relationship problem? Nope. Neither can a trip to the jewelry store, boxes of chocolate, sappy cards, balloons or vases of expensive flowers… none of these can fix a distant, damaged or dying relationship. But the VASE can.  Let me explain why.

Relationships take work. There is no easy way to achieve closeness and connection on an intimate level without time, talking and gentle touch. It can’t be done. We’ve all seen the commercials about a couple having a romantic exchange in a restaurant as the waiter brings them a special dessert with a diamond ring attached to a note that says, “Marry me”.  But as a counselor of more than 30 years I can tell you if that couple were distant or detached from each other before they got to the restaurant the jewelry would only be a shiny trinket that didn’t repair hurt, selfishness or neglect. 

Expensive gift cannot fix relationship problems. They can cause debt, which complicates problems, (84% of couples report they fight over spending according to Money Magazine), or cause a momentary escape from what isn’t working in their relationship… but the old saying is true. “Money can’t buy me love.”

So what can you do to really connect to the one you care about? Get a VASE. Here’s why.

Stuffed teddy bears and expensive perfumes affect the senses- the VASE approach affects the soul. Tina Turner got it right when she sang, “What’s love got to do with it?” because the feeling of romantic love is a fickle and temporary emotion. Having a fun dinner date on your anniversary is special – but not as powerful as really connecting over a bowl of Cheerios every day. Lasting love is about going deeper and that’s what this process creates… lasting committed relationship instead of a temporary feeling of chemistry. Real relationship connection on the heart level will grow a relationship closer than anything offered for sale at Macys.

V.A.S.E. stands for VALUES, ACCOUNTABILITY, SILENCE, EXPECTATIONS and here’s how it works.

Values-  Most couples have never sat down and actually talked about their core values. They might be able to guess what their partner believes, but haven’t communicated these issues to one another.

When you find a safe place to discuss your belief system with the person you care about the most it creates a powerful connection on a deep emotional level. One that is stronger than anything you could ever buy at a store. When I know what my wife believes about life, kids, family, money, love, politics, fun, God and everything else important to her I know her on a heart level. And when I know her heart, I can actively work to meet her there. Knowing and respecting your partner’s values removes silly arguments and power struggles from the conversation because you are working together out of shared beliefs instead of working against each other.

A-Accountability This isn’t a word most people like and it definitely isn’t a word people seek out. It’s tough to have someone in your life who asks you the hard questions like. “Haven’t you had enough to drink?” or “How is eating that going to affect your diabetes?” or “Why did you close the computer when I came in here?” or “Can we afford to do this?” When someone asks you a tough question you either have to face the issue and answer it, or you have to get really, really mad at them for having the courage to speak up. You know what path most people choose. They would rather fight than be held to a standard of behavior… one that matches what they say they believe, (see core values section above for more on this).

S-Silence isn’t golden in relationships, it’s deadly. If you go silent on expressing your feelings, fears or future with the one you say you love there is nothing a cute card with a talking dog that makes it better. I know card shops exist for the purpose of saying what you don’t know how to say… but can I be your friend for a moment and say “get a life?” There is more information available today on how to communicate in a loving way with your partner than there ever has been in the history of the world. Books, webinars, seminars, podcasts, workshops, retreats, teleseminars, counseling, classes, YouTube clips, even old episodes of Dr. Phil have tips on how to connect verbally. Too many people spend $5 on a piece of recycled card stock that says what a copywriter in Kansas thinks about love instead of sitting down to express what they believe about the one they care about. Want a more powerful relationship connection? Learn to express love. It’s worth every penny you spend to the people who won’t have to guess how you feel about them because you took the step, (and the risk) to verbalize your heart.


E-Expectations lead to great joy or great pain, which is usually heartbreaking and it goes back to silence. Here’s why. Picture a woman who thinks this is the year her guy will remember their special day and take her to their special place. She tells her friends, her mother and her therapist that they are going to the bed and breakfast for a romantic getaway because she has been dropping hints for months that were so easy a caveman could figure it out. Problem is her guy isn’t a caveman – he’s a guy and men often aren’t listening carefully to what their lady may be saying. In fact if the relationship is distant he may not be listening at all. Expecting your intended to read your mind isn’t going to get you what you want, but it can cause some huge explosions of rage over misunderstanding. If you expect a physically exciting weekend and you get ESPN instead your feelings are going to be hurt – and you may have caused it. I know some people like the feeling of being surprised that their hints led to a temporary feeling of being special, but most of the time their hints set them up for hurt. Better is to learn to speak up about what you want in the relationship. If you want more romance – say so. If going to a particular movie is what you want to do– bring it up. If something is important to you learn to express it directly. This may take away the pleasant feeling of surprise, but will guarantee you won’t experience the painful feeling of shock that silent expectations always bring.

So how does this VASE formula help?

It takes the cultural feeling of romance being something that money can buy down to a practical level of relationship that is priceless. The Beatles were wrong on this one. Money can’t buy love, but VASE’s can.


About the Author – Dwight Bain is a Nationally Certified Counselor and Certified Life Coach who has been making a difference in people’s lives since 1984. He serves on the executive leadership team of ICCA to fulfill the vision of Dr. Tim Clinton. Follow him online at or @DwightBain


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12 Coaching Strategies to avoid Ministry Burnout


There are few vocations that can engender burnout for people in ministry like the pastorate does. The demands on a pastor’s time, emotions and energy can be overwhelming.When I was a pastor, I often felt at least the symptoms of burnout. I recently spoke with 17 pastors who had experienced burnout, or who felt they came precariously close to burnout. The good news about these pastors is that they moved out of burnout, and now they are re-engaging in exciting and visionary ministries.So I asked them the obvious question: What did you do to reverse the dark spiral of burnout? The question was open-ended, so they could respond with as many answers as they desired. When it was all said and done, I tabulated 12 different responses from the 17 pastors. Obviously, many of them gave similar answers.

Here are the 12 responses ranked in order of frequency. Each answer has a representative quote from one of the pastors. 

1. Spent more time in prayer and the Word. “Slowly over time, I spent less and less time in the Bible and in prayer. I succumbed to the tyranny of the urgent. When I committed to reversing that pattern, my life and leadership began to renew.”

2. Dreamed again. “When I first arrived at this church, I had great visions and excitement. But I got caught up in negativity and trivial things, and I lost my vision. But recently I asked God to restore my dream and vision for my church, and He’s already answering that prayer.”

3. Stopped comparing. “One of the most freeing things of my ministry was to stop comparing myself to other pastors, and my church to other churches. I finally got it that God doesn’t love pastors of larger churches more than He loves me.”

4. Developed relationships with non-Christians. “I got so busy doing church that I started neglecting engaging people in the world. Now I make certain that I’m in some type of ongoing relationship with a non-Christian.”

5. Moved my focus from the negative to the positive. “I don’t know why I let the critics dominate my time and thoughts. When I stopped letting them control me, and when I started spending more time with positive and great people in the church, my entire emotional state improved dramatically.”

6. Learned to have fun. “I realized that there is a difference between taking my ministry seriously and taking myself too seriously. I have learned to lighten up and laugh more. As a result, I find myself rejoicing in the Lord more.”

7. Ended draining relationships. “There was this church member that made an appointment with me almost every week. He was so negative and so draining of my emotional energy. I knew he had his own emotional problems, but I knew I wasn’t equipped to deal with them. When I finally got the courage to end our counseling relationship and refer him to a professional, I felt like a weight had been lifted off me.”

8. Expressed gratitude regularly. “One of the ways I dealt with my impending burnout was to commit to handwrite five letters of gratitude a week. It was amazing to see how my vision began to restore when I took the focus off me and expressed gratitude to others.”

9. Spent more time doing things that energized me. “I tend to be a prideful person, so I don’t like to admit that I am not very good at something. Well, I’m a poor administrator, so administrative work drains me. When I finally got the courage to admit I wasn’t very good at it, I had a lay volunteer step right in and take much of the work off me. He told me that everyone knew I was a lousy administrator, and that he was thankful I finally admitted it. I am now spending time doing those things that I enjoy and give me energy.”

10. Got in better physical shape. “In my busyness, I started eating more, exercising less, and sleeping fitfully. I stayed tired and depressed. But when I got into an exercise routine and ate better, my whole outlook changed.”

11. Made a commitment to have a greater servant spirit. “I had trouble admitting that I had an ego problem. I always wanted things my way. God got to me and showed me that my calling in life is to serve others. It is absolutely amazing to see my leadership passion restored as I put myself last to the needs of others.”

12. Began to pray for my community. “Burnout can be the result of looking inwardly too much. I asked God to give me a greater vision for our church’s community. Shortly after I prayed that prayer, I became burdened for the elementary school near our church. Now I’m praying for specific direction to serve the school. I know God will answer that prayer as well.”

 Thom S. Rainer is president of LifeWay Christian Resources of the Southern Baptist Convention. This column first appeared on his website, Get Baptist Press headlines and breaking news on Twitter (@BaptistPress) or Facebook ( )


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Weekly Websaver Deadline Approaching

Enroll by January 26, 2014

Dear Colleague:Life Coaching is exploding! Millions of people who don’t need counseling still hire coaches to assist them in achieving their most important life goals. And thousands of professionals, pastors, lay leaders, teachers, and guidance counselors—those God has called and gifted to help others—are adding this new area of helping to their repertoire of skills. Now it’s your turn!ICCA Executive Director Dwight Bain, says, “Life Coaching is the next big trend and will take your career to a new level of success by equipping you to make a positive difference in the lives of your clients.”Don’t miss out on being a part of this burgeoning new field – an opportunity to expand your professional services and ministries. With expert Christian coaches such as Catherine Hart Weber, Katie Brazelton, Dwight Bain, Linda Mintle, Daniel Amen, Larry Crabb, and many more, you’ll be trained to coach others through life’s journey providing hope, direction and encouragement.

Enroll Now and Save Over $500!

 use this special link to access these deep discounts to start your journey as a coach:

Enroll now in one or more of the Professional Life Coaching training programs and enjoy the best savings we have to offer. Order any course before the October 6th deadline and pay only $299 per course (no limit). I am including a $300 Limited Scholarship that may be used for each Professional Life Coaching Training Program you purchase.We love being a part of your life!

Blessings,Tim Clinton, Ed.D., LPC, LMFT

President, AACC and Light University

P.S.—Enroll before the deadline to use the $300 Limited Scholarship and pay only $299 per training program instead of the regular tuition price of $800! Receive a free first-year preferred membership in ICCA when you enroll in any Professional Life Coaching course ($69 value).

Enroll today to benefit from the Core Elements of Coaching from our Global Coach Training Team: 

COCH 101
Coaching: The New Helping Relationship

Dwight Bain, M.A. and Catherine Hart Weber, Ph.D.
 • COCH 102
Christian Coaching: Scriptural and Spiritual Foundations

Katie Brazelton, M.Div., Ph.D.; Sandra Dopf, B.S.; Richard Eley, Ph.D.; Catherine Hart Weber, Ph.D.
 • COCH 103
Theory & Practice: Developing a Model for Effective Change

Georgia Shaffer, M.A.

• COCH 104
Relationships and Communication: Core Coaching Skills

Catherine Hart Weber, Ph.D.

• COCH 105
Facilitating, Learning and Change: Advanced Coaching Skills

Georgia Shaffer, M.A.

• COCH 106
Assessment and Resources in Coaching

Richard Eley, Ph.D.

• COCH 107
Ethical Guidelines and Professional Standards in Coaching

Dwight Bain, M.A.

• COCH 108
Coaching as a Ministry and Spiritual Care

Katie Brazelton, M.Div., Ph.D.
 • COCH 109
The Business of Coaching

Dwight Bain, M.A.
 • COCH 110
New Directions: Specialty Coaching

Dwight Bain, M.A.; Katie Brazelton, M.Div., Ph.D.; Sandra Dopf, B.S.; Georgia Shaffer, M.A.; Catherine Hart Weber, Ph.D.

• COCH 111
Coaching for Creativity and Innovations

Dwight Bain, M.A.; Katie Brazelton, M.Div., Ph.D.; Jennifer Cisney Ellers, M.A.; Sandra Dopf, B.S.; Richard Eley, Ph.D.; Sylvia Frejd, D.Min.; Georgia Shaffer, M.A.; Catherine Hart Weber, Ph.D.

• COCH 112
The Future of Christian Coaching

Dwight Bain, M.A.

• Bonus DVD
The Top Secrets to Marketing Success as a Coach

Dwight Bain, M.A.


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Coaching Empathy is the key to Coaching Change

“Don’t do for me, that which I can do for myself. Do for me what I am incapable of doing for myself.” This is the heart cry of someone who is struggling with life’s problems. This is what God did through Jesus Christ when He set aside His glory, entered into the reality of His creation, and provided a path of reconciliation for you. This is empathy.


Empathy requires you to model God’s actions towards mankind by voluntarily setting aside your standing, status, or station, entering into the reality of someone who is struggling with life’s problems, and creating the environment for that person’s restoration. Throughout this book, you will learn how to order your life to become a person of empathy. You will be challenged to step into someone’s life and offer the four actions of empathy. You will also learn how to live life beyond yourself by being a conduit for God’s resources to flow through you for the benefit and growth of others.


The first action that communicates empathy is mentoring.


Mentoring is a developmental relationship through which one person (the mentor) shares knowledge, skills, information and perspective to foster the personal and professional growth of someone else (the mentee). There are five elements of the mentoring relationship that produce the potential for empathy to flourish. They are time, intentionality, wisdom, active listening, and intuition. Of all of these elements, time is the most important. Unless you spend time with a person, you will have a limited knowledge about the depth of that person’s soul. Mentoring requires both quality and a quantity of time. It is through the quantity of time spent with someone who is struggling that you find the quality of time necessary to create the environment of restoration.


The second action that communicates empathy is encouraging.


Encouraging is a developmental relationship through which one person inspires, with courage or confidence, the ability of another, to accomplish something far beyond the normal capacity of that person’s perceived limitations. To encourage is to instill or infuse with courage. We see this behavior as Jesus infused seventy disciples to go out and heal the sick and proclaim the kingdom of God is near. When someone is struggling or suffering, you need to comprehensively encourage that person in six primary areas. You need to strengthen that person with physical courage. You will also need to strengthen that person with intellectual courage. Another area that needs to be built up with courage is a struggling or suffering person’s emotional state.  As the one who is walking along side of a person who is struggling, you need to also encourage that person with moral courage. In close relationship to moral courage is the necessity to infuse social courage into the life of a person who is struggling. The final area that requires courage is the spiritual aspect of a person’s life.


The third action that communicates empathy is nurturing.


Nurturing is a developmental relationship through which one person promotes and sustains the growth and development of another, by meeting the immediate physical needs, while building the foundation of self-sustainability. Unlike mentoring, which requires time and intentionality, and unlike encouraging, which requires a comprehensive infusion of courage, nurturing requires a commitment of physical resources and the ongoing investment into another’s life until self-sustainability is achieved. Nurturing is the act of allowing God’s resources to flow through you to meet the immediate needs of those who are struggling and suffering.



The final action that communicates empathy is supporting.


Supporting is a developmental relationship through which one person serves as a foundation to sustain and withstand the weight of the personal burdens of someone else until that individual is restored. For someone who is struggling, supporting is the knowledge that someone else cares. It is the sense that someone else has your back. Someone who is struggling needs to have a sense of security within a trusted relationship. The developmental relationship of supporting is to meet the ongoing needs (not just the immediate needs) of someone who is struggling so that he can begin to realize progress in other areas of his life.


This can be accomplished in two ways: directly or indirectly. When you directly meet the needs of someone in the midst of his struggles, you are providing the resources to shore up the walls that threaten to collapse and bury the person. Indirect support takes place in the form of providing the resources to an organization that then provides the direct physical support to those who are struggling. You also might assist the person with identifying and securing the resources necessary to aid the person through a difficult time. You do not necessarily need to be the source of the resources to have an empathetic spirit.


As a person of empathy, you need to voluntarily set aside your standing, status, or station, enter into someone else’s reality, and be the catalyst for that person’s restoration. With Jesus as your model and the Holy Spirit as your guide, you will begin to build up the courage, desire, and ability to become that empathetic spirit that will make a difference in the life of someone who is struggling.


The excerpt is taken from the new book by Coach Kenneth E Rupert, “Empathy: Love and Life Beyond Self”. Jesus Christ provided us with the example of how to be a more empathetic person. As coaches, we need to recognize that beyond accountability and the motivation to achieve results, we are mentors, encouragers, nurturers, and supporters of our clients.

About the Author – ICCA writer Ken Rupert is founder of The Vita-Copia Group and a Board Certified, Master Christian Life who specializes in Strategic Life Coaching & Financial Mentoring. He is a successful Author who has released:

  • Planned Excellence: How to Achieve Greatness through Strategic Planning
  • Strategic Goals: The DNA of Personal Success
  • The Dynamics of Abundant Life: Living a Life of Purpose and Meaning
  • 10 Ways to Improve Your Retirement Planning: Behavioral Changes That Make a Difference

All of which are available at his website, Cross Books Publishing or Contact Coach Ken directly or visit his profile to find out more about his vision to impact legacy. 

 Want to share your coaching insights with the global ICCA team? Send your article submissions to 

Remember to follow ICCA on Twitter @CoachAlliance 

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Everyone in the Media is talking about Coaching!

“You will never maximize your potential in any area without COACHING. It is impossible. You may be good. You may even be better than everyone else. But without outside input you will never be as good as you could be.” – Andy Stanley


“If you want to build your business and at the same time have a rewarding personal life, you call a coach.” – Denver Post


“Today’s managers, professionals and entrepreneurs are hiring coaches to help them with time management, a change in career or balancing their work and personal lives.” – Fortune Magazine


“Who, exactly, seeks out a coach? Winners who want even more out of life.” – Chicago Tribune


“Got a nagging feeling that your life could be more fulfilling? Want to change direction but aren’t sure how to do it? Here’s how to jump start your new life today? Hire a personal coach.”- Modern Maturity Magazine


“People who want to stand out at work or face a job crisis increasingly turn to career coaches.” – The Wall Street Journal


“The number of executives hiring personal coaches is rocketing as more and more professionals turn to outside help for advice in how to manage their day, dollars, employee’s, develop better leadership skills and maximize effectiveness.”- London Evening Standard

Recent studies show business coaching and executive coaching to be the most effective means for achieving sustainable growth, change and development in the individual, group and organization.”
– HR Monthly, (published by The Australian Human Resources Institute (AHRI)

“If you’re thinking of overhauling your career to achieve a more fulfilling life, consider joining the estimated 100,000 Americans who annually enlist the help of a personal coach each year.” – Money Magazine

 “Managers that underwent a managerial training program showed an increased productivity of 22.4%. However, a second group was provided coaching following the training process and their productivity increased by 88%. Research does demonstrate that one-on-one executive coaching is of value.”
– Public Personnel Management Journal

“Coaching is an action-oriented partnership that, unlike psychotherapy which delves into patterns of the past, concentrates on where you are today and how you can reach your goals.” – Time Magazine


“Once used to bolster troubled staffers, coaching now is part of the standard leadership development training for elite executives and talented up-and-comers at IBM, Motorola, J.P. Morgan, Chase, and Hewlett Packard. These companies are discreetly giving their best prospects what star athletes have long had: a trusted adviser to help reach their goals.” –


“People are looking to coaches as sounding boards and motivators who can offer a fresh perspective on career and life problems – but without the conflicting agendas of a spouse, family member, or even a mentor.” – Fortune Magazine


“How do you define success? For some, obviously, success means money. Others rate emotional happiness as being more important. Yet others rate popularity above all else. Regardless of how you define success, an emerging specialty called ‘success coaching’ (also known as personal and professional coaching) offers the chance to visualize your highest goals and stay on track to achieve them.” – Central New York Business Journal


“For years, business people have used corporate coaches to help their companies work more effectively. Now, an increasing number of individuals are turning to coaches for help in finding balance in their personal lives.” – The Spokane Spokesman Review


“Coaching can certainly help you strengthen your sense of self-worth, focus on your goals – and get there, fast.” – The London Daily Telegraph


“The hottest thing in management is the executive coach – part boss, part consultant, part therapist. Coaches are everywhere these days…Corporate coaches are in such demand that they can charge from $600 to $2,000 a month for three or four 30- to 60-minute phone conversations.” – Fortune Magazine



“Coaching is not about the past or figuring out why and how life got so complicated or overwhelming. It is about moving forward on the things that matter most to you, dissolving barriers and blocks to your own success, and designing a life that you love. A personal coach is better than a best friend.” – Sausalito Networking, Inc.


“Part consultant, part motivational speaker, part therapist, and part rent-a-friend, coaches work with managers, entrepreneurs, and just plain folks, helping them define and achieve their goals – career, personal, or most often, both.” – Newsweek Magazine


“Coaching started in the business world to help stressed out executives cope with their professional and personal lives, and it still thrives in the corporate environment. But, increasingly, individuals are turning to coaches for help with every sort of problem.”- Boston Globe


“Coaching is the number two growth industry right behind IT (Information Technology) jobs, and it’s the number one home based profession.”- Entrepreneur StartUps Magazine


“Coaches aren’t just for sports: They goad you, guide you on the road to success” – Seattle Times


“A coach maybe the guardian angel you need to rev up your career.” – Money Magazine


“Coaching simply speeds up a process of change that would most likely occur anyway if an individual had enough time. Without a coaching program that forces a client to focus and make time, people sometimes miss the real issues they need to focus on.” – The Ivy Business Journal


“Part therapist, part consultant, part motivational expert, part professional organizer, part friend, part nag – the personal coach seeks to do for your life what a personal trainer does for your body.” – Minneapolis-St. Paul Star-Tribune


“No matter how strong a person mentally is, without proper mental nourishment he or she will crumble. Personal coaching is one of the best ways to help you get that nourishment and to keep you stay focused.” –


“In the next few years, coaching will become the norm in the business world.” – Washington Post


“What exactly is a coach? Part personal consultant, part sounding board, part manager. For a surprising number of people, it is now the coach – not the boss – who pushes them to hire, to fire, to fine-tune a sales pitch, to stretch.” – Fortune Magazine


“At a time when companies are downsizing and at a time when boomers are facing retirement, coaches are easing traumatic transitions.” – Long Beach Press-Telegram


“A coach maybe the guardian angel you need to rev up your career.” – Money Magazine


“The goal of coaching is the goal of good management – to make the most of an organization’s valuable resources.”- Harvard Business Review


“Coaching usually refers to a relationship between an individual and a trained professional who work on a set of pre-defined objectives with the aim of achieving particular goals or targets. Coaching protagonists believe that as a result of this relationship, greater results can be achieved and an individual can go on to do things that would otherwise have been impossible.” – Journal of Management Development


“Coaches are everywhere these days. Companies hire them to shore up executives or, in some cases, to ship them out. Division heads hire them as change agents. Workers at all levels of the corporate ladder are taking matters into their own hands and enlisting coaches for guidance on how to improve their performance, boost their profits, and make better decisions about everything from personnel to strategy.” – Fortune Magazine


“The leaders of organizations such as Alcoa, American Red Cross, AT&T, Ford, Northwestern Mutual Life, 3M, UPS, American Standard, the federal governments of the United States and Canada are convinced that coaching works to develop people and increase productivity.” – C2M: The Journal of Management Consulting


“Across corporate America, coaching sessions at many companies have become as routine for executives as budget forecasts and quota meetings.”- Investor’s Business Daily


“To get the most out of yourself you need to tune yourself regularly, just like a musical instrument needs regular tuning. Personal coaching is one of the best ways to help you improve yourself and stay focused.” –


“The demand for Executive Coaches has skyrocketed over the past 5 years- today’s executive coach is intended to help leaders and potential leaders across the rocky, wild, and challenging road of organizational growth in today’s dynamic and unstable work environment.” – The Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology


“Asked for a conservative estimate of the monetary payoff from the coaching they got, these managers described an average return of more than $100,000, or about six times what the coaching had cost their companies.” – Fortune Magazine


“I absolutely believe that people unless coached, never reach their maximum capabilities.” – Bob Nardelli, former CEO, Home Depot


“What’s really driving the boom in coaching, is this: as we move from 30 miles an hour to 70 to 120 to 180? As we go from driving straight down the road to making right turns and left turns to abandoning cars and getting on motorcycles? The whole game changes, and a lot of people are trying to keep up, learn how not fall off.” – John Kotter, Harvard Business School


“We’ve done lots of research over the past three years, and we’ve found that leaders who have the best coaching skills have better business results.” – Tanya Clemens, V.P. of Global Executive & Organizational Development at IBM


“I never cease to be amazed at the power of the coaching process to draw out the skills or talent that was previously hidden within an individual, and which invariably finds a way to solve a problem previously thought unsolvable,” – John Russell, Harley-Davidson Europe Ltd.


“People who are coached will be the norm because other people won’t get promoted.” – Jack Welch, former CEO, General Electric


“Coaching is unlocking a person’s potential to maximize their own performance. It is helping them to learn rather than teaching them.” – Timothy Gallwey, author


“Corporations believe that coaching helps keep employees and that the dollar investment in it is far less than the cost of replacing an employee.”- David A. Thomas, Harvard Business School





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A Christmas Parenting Perspective

Christmas means many things to many people. It means family and friends. It means warm celebrations and Christmas eve services with a church family. It can mean the glow of wonder in a child’s eyes. However, there are some who struggle during this time of year. Some have lost loved ones, some who feel the cold presence of loneliness, and some who struggle in silence because there is no one there to listen.

That coworker who is always smiling in the break room, she is going through a painful divorce. That man in the seat next to you on Sunday, he is watching his daughter die of leukemia. That high school football coach that passes you in the hallway, he is hiding the emotional wounds of physical abuse. That business executive who has the corner office, she is struggling to care for her father with Alzheimer’s. Those new neighbors who recently moved in have a child who needs a complicated surgery and is facing a long recovery and rehabilitation schedule. The scenarios of quiet suffering are endless and each story carries its own pain.

As we move through the Christmas season, keep in mind all of those who long for the touch of a caring individual. Consider those who just want someone to talk to, someone to be interested in who they are as a person. Some of the greatest joys we have had this season was buying and wrapping presents for the residents of the Arc of Carroll County. These are disabled adults who no longer have family in the area. Giving food to Carroll Food Sunday to provide a meal for those who are still struggling with the effects of a difficult economy. There are so many ways to make this Christmas more meaningful by reaching out to those who are not as fortunate as you.

Some of you know my son Daniel. He has physical and cognitive challenges, but he also has an incredible spirit. This year he has shown my wife and me that a simple gesture and a kind word came make someone’s Christmas season a little brighter.

As my son Daniel left the radiologist’s office last night (an experience he has never liked), he stopped an older couple (in their mid 90’s) in the hallway and took the older woman’s hand and said “Have a good Christmas.” She smiled and replied with a similar greeting.

He then took the older gentleman’s hand and said “Merry Christmas.” He too, was pleased with Daniel’s kind spirit. As the couple shuffled down the hall, I just had the sense that in the gentleness of his spirit, Daniel made this couple’s Christmas special.

This Christmas season, touch the lives of others with an empathetic spirit. This season is about being a person who does for others what Jesus Christ did for you. God, who is infinite, who is self-existent, who is omnipresent, who is omnipotent, and who is omniscience, in the person of Jesus Christ, through the power of the Holy Spirit, set aside His divine nature, and His righteous position of glory, to enter into the reality of mankind, who, not being bound by time submitted Himself to the limitations of time, to walk along side of His creation, to mentor, encourage, nurture, and support that creation, by spending quantity and quality time together, to share experiences that create vulnerability, to seek to understand, to learn to accept the differences, and finally, to love with the love of the Father in pursuit of you to develop a love relationship, suffered public humiliation, false accusations, illegal trials, and excruciating torture, only to died on the cross just so you would have a pathway for reconciliation to God the Father, since you had no ability to reconcile yourself to Him. That is an overwhelming thought.

About the Author – ICCA writer Ken Rupert is founder of The Vita-Copia Group and a Board Certified, Master Christian Life who specializes in Strategic Life Coaching & Financial Mentoring. He is a successful Author who just released his 4th book, titled “The Dynamics of Abundant Life: Living a Life of Purpose and Meaning” which is available at his website or Contact Ken directly or visit his profile to find out about his vision to impact legacy.

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