God’s Wake-up Call: A Call to Coach

CoachingCoachTen years ago, God set His alarm clock and woke me up to the reality that I’d lived on autopilot for so long it seemed there was nothing left of me. I had forgotten who I was. I had settled for doing what seemed right rather than being who He created me to be. I felt as if every mind-numbing insurance form and patient account detail that crossed my desk in my husband’s chiropractic practice sucked a little more life out of me. That emptiness was the price of sleepwalking through life.

What did Jesus use to open my eyes and bring me back to the land of the living? The bottom line was the power of Christ-centered coaching combined with praying the Word.

That morning as I watched the fog lift over the mountains from the deck of our log home, my thoughts also cleared. God then gave me a mental checklist that would work for me:

  • Hire an experienced coach. Check.
  • Rediscover how God has wired me and choose to be fully me, fully alive. Check.
  • Take personal responsibility for operating within my temperament, strengths, and gifting as much as it is up to me. Check.
  • Set powerful goals that are within my ability and right to control. Check.
  • Take action steps that line up with who I am and what is important to me. Check.
  • Fully participate in professional Christian coach training to hone my own coaching skills. Check.
  • Immerse myself in a community of coaches who affirm and value me and what I am called to do. Check.
  • Be conscious of and honor how others are wired. Check.
  • Talk their language. Check.
  • Pass it on so others can take it and run with it. Check.

I began with the first item on my check list and hired professional coach Christopher McCluskey. My approach to the “Vicki Packet” he requested before our first session was eye-opening in itself. I prepared a three-ring binder full of both formal and informal assessments of my strengths and weaknesses, letters of recommendation from successful jobs as well as a job lost, creative project photos, and transcripts.

My ears perked up at my coach’s words: “Wow, this really is a re-discovery process for you!” Over time, his powerful questions drew out the purpose of my heart, which lined up with my own Myers-Briggs results: to make a difference in creative and insightful ways that help people grow.

Judy Santos, who launched the Christian Coaches Network in 1998, warned me one week, saying, “You can’t hit a home run every time, Vicki!” and the next week, said, “You’re the best I’ve ever seen at this temperament-based coaching.” Her affirmation deepened my sense of calling to facilitate this process of cooperating with God’s design for those who are ready and coachable.

My coaches’ respectful, honest, and challenging feedback, as well as opportunities to step outside of my comfort zone to serve as a faculty member in the world of professional Christian coaching, came with the opportunity to say “Yes,” “No,” or “Renegotiate.” I am honored they saw the real me in spite of my struggles and welcomed me warmly into their community of coaching colleagues.

This dynamic process accomplished God’s life-giving work in me. These days, “Fully You, Fully Alive” is more than my tag line; it is a recurring theme through my life coaching, mentor coaching, and retreat coaching, all of which are temperament-based.

What’s my powerful goal? To be just plain Vicki with Christ as my life, to be the best Christian coach God will have me be, and as much as it depends on me, to help others live out their unique God-given purpose in a way that brings them life and Him glory.

God knew I needed an experienced, competent coach who cared enough to focus on my agenda; to be fully present in co-creating our relationship of trust and intimacy; to communicate effectively through deep listening, powerful questions, and direct communication; and to encourage my personal responsibility for doing the work that would give the greatest sense of progress between sessions.

These are the basic coaching competencies we need to practice and demonstrate with such a high standard of excellence that we are then freed up to bring our own essence and being into the conversation. I am confident that as we join in community with other experienced Christian coaches, our clients will be better served, our collective vision will be strengthened, and God will be glorified.

How I approach coaching is personalized to most effectively draw out clients of various personality styles, strengths, and preferences. Your insights into what motivates your client (what to say “Yes” to) as well as potential Achilles heels (what to self-manage) can be invaluable in your shaping powerful questions to help your clients achieve awareness in their lives and figure out how they can realize their dreams. I’ve learned that what I needed as a client plays an important role in what I am inspired to give my coaching clients and my students in the Essentials of Coaching classes, Coaching Skills Development practicum, and Coaching Skills Mastery practicum I teach.

My way of organizing my first packet stands out in sharp contrast to how some of my clients handle their initial packets. Scribbled notes and goals presented on a napkin immediately before a coaching session don’t necessarily show lack of motivation but speak volumes about the need to take into account individualized approaches and styles.

For me, an extrovert, I enjoy the give and take of a coaching session with interactive conversation where we can brainstorm and launch new, challenging pursuits. I find this even more energizing than drinking a steaming hot cup of coffee.

I thank God for His gracious wake-up call. He took what I needed to learn, combined it with my strengths and preferences, and turned it into a blessing that goes beyond all I could ask or imagine in my second half of life.

Coaching the Coach Tip

In addition to opening my eyes so many years ago, God also opened my ears before I could open my mouth as a coach. So when meeting with clients, I keep in mind the acronym ACT, which will also help you as a coach:

  • Be Aware of how you, the coach, are wired. What energizes you? How do you take in information? How do you prefer to make decisions? How do you like to approach your world?
  • Be Conscious of how your clients are wired. What energizes them? How do they take in information? How do they prefer to make decisions? How do they like to approach their world?
  • Talk your client’s language. How can you communicate in ways that show you understand what’s important to them? What will draw out the purposes of his or her heart? What word pictures would take the conversation to a deeper, more meaningful level?

When you begin to talk your client’s language, you will discover new ways to coach in the two major areas that potentially drain people the most. The first area is unresolved conflict, and the second is operating outside of their strengths, temperament, and gifting. If you can help a client address these two areas, you energize each one to pursue true passions and bring added value to the coaching relationship. It pays to respond to God’s wake-up call!

TAKE IT AND RUN WITH IT


  • What is God impressing on you in this season of your life?
  • How will you respond to His wake-up call?

Please feel free to share your thoughts to encourage others. Click on the speech bubble above to leave a reply…

Antidote to Worry

We worry about so many things . . .How will I get it all done this week? How will I pay the bills this month? How can I get back on my feet? What do I want to be when I grow up?  When will I finally get some much needed rest and peace? The good news is that God has the antidote to worry.

It’s great to plan ahead and dream of what we’d like to see happen in the future. Taking a stand against what is unfair can be important. But worrying and replaying it over and over in our minds can wear us out, though. Fretting acts as a toxin which can literally make us sick. Worry requires an antidote. What does Paul’s letter to the Philippians, chapter 4 of which could be nicknamed “the mental health chapter” of the Bible, reveal to us about it?

God’s Antidote to Worry

Prayer with thanksgiving is God’s antidote to worry.

“6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

8 Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. 9 Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you” Philippians 4:6-9 (NIV).

God’s Peace

The peace of God AND the God of peace are both included in the antidote to toxic worry. Our part is to choose well.

In coaching, I am always asking people “What stood out to you?” I have been referring people to this Scripture for more than twenty years but what stands out to me today is this. The peace of God AND the God of peace are both included in the antidote to toxic worry.

My part is to choose. I can choose not to be anxious. I can choose to pray. I can choose to give thanks. I can choose to ask God for what I need. I can choose to count on the peace of God then doing its part, guarding my heart and mind. I can choose to think about whatever is excellent or praiseworthy. I can choose to practice this as a lifestyle, knowing the God of peace WILL be with me. I can choose to count on Him.

We do not have to accept the vulnerability of prayerlessness. Thank God we are free to make new choices and are given grace to practice.

“And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people” Ephesians 6:18 (NIV).

TAKE IT AND RUN WITH IT


  • Now what about you? How badly do you want the peace of God and the God of peace as your own antidote to worry?
  • Prayer and anxiety are two opposing forces. Which one will you choose to align yourself with today?
  • What do you need to actively practice to develop this healthy habit?

Please feel free to share your thoughts to encourage others. Click on the speech bubble above to leave a reply…

Feel God’s Pleasure

“I believe God made me for a purpose, but he also made me fast. And when I run I feel His pleasure.” ~ Eric Liddell, Chariots of Fire

This little man I sculpted out of clay several years ago is not fully alive. He has no life in him and no ability to do anything. Yet, the mere fact that I created him brings me pleasure. When I hold him in my hand, I can’t help but smile.

You are probably familiar with Eric Liddell’s story from Chariots of Fire. It is such a great example of living out your God-given purpose and bringing Him pleasure in the process that we use it as an example when  teaching Essentials of Coaching to those who are training to become life coaches.

Check out this video clip to be inspired by the kind of picture that really is worth a thousand words… and ponder what it means for you at this time. It can be a valuable three and a half minutes for you as well as for anyone you choose to share it with… http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GPB7r0UpNIE   (excerpted from Chariots of Fire 1981; Eric Liddell: “I believe God made me for a purpose, but he also made me fast. And when I run I feel His pleasure”.)

TAKE IT AND RUN WITH IT


  • Now what about you? As far as you know at this time, who did God design you to be?
  • What did God design you to do that, as you do it, you feel His pleasure?
  • What does this mean for you in your current season of life?

Please feel free to share your thoughts to encourage others. Click on the speech bubble above to leave a reply…

 

Hopes and Dreams

A Life Coach helps you discover and celebrate your uniqueness… while drawing out your hopes and dreams.

“You’re the only you God made!  He made you and broke the mold!  No one can duplicate your life.” Max Lucado has a way of speaking truth that really hits home in his devotional, Only One You,

As my Dad approaches his 85th birthday within the next few days, I celebrate him being a humble man, a good, caring, playful, and strong man. He is a rare man who will shop rather than simply hunting something down and bagging it. Over the years, he has shown himself to be patriotic and loyal, no matter what. He and my mom have been married for more than 62 years, a testimony to the power of love in marriage. His is the truest kind of success… a man who is loved more than he could ever possibly know.

My favorite birthday question, known around here as ‘The Vicki Question’, is “What are your hopes and dreams for the coming year?” Dad knows it is coming… everyone in our family does. Yet it seems to catch us all off guard at the time it is asked. It draws out our desires… those wonderful things we hope for and dream of that may be outside of our ability and right to control yet are worth blowing out the candles to wish for. It can also draw out the goals we want to intentionally pursue that are powerful because they are God-given, clearly possible ‘as much as it depends on us’.

By the way, my birthday is one week after Dad’s and I must confess that I am a lot better at asking ‘The Vicki Question’ than answering it. Check back in next week to see what I come up with for this year. The birthday candle photo entitled “Stop Counting” is in honor of Dad’s big birthday and mine as well. Meanwhile, you may want to dig deeper into this Old Testament name of God as a starting point for celebrating…

  • When I know God as Elohim, The Creator, I can begin to accept others as they are.
  • When I accept Him as Elohim, My Creator, I begin to accept myself as I am.

TAKE IT AND RUN WITH IT


  • Now what about you? How will you discover and celebrate your God-given uniqueness?
  • What are your hopes and dreams for the coming year?
  • What are the specific goals you choose to intentionally pursue… as much as it’s up to you?

Please feel free to share your thoughts to encourage others. Just click on the speech bubble at the top of this post to leave a comment.

Be a Good Steward of Your Gift and Story

A letter from God that explains why in the world I would start writing a blog at this point in my life… after procrastinating for years…

“Be a good steward of your gift. Be a good steward of your story. These are not separate entities but two facets of stewardship. You are a spark of energy. That spark requires air, the freely moving breath of God at the right time and in the right amount to ignite and cause you to be on fire. Your gift of exhortation can be fanned into flames as you exercise the discipline of writing.

Through your own story and the Truth that God has revealed in your own life regardless of how you felt, you can come alongside many. You can stimulate their faith and affirm them in the ways others have affirmed you (or maybe even more importantly, as you hoped they would.) This will involve doing a careful exploration of who you are and the work you have been given and then sinking yourself into that. It will be God-breathed and you’ll love it even when it is difficult at times.

Don’t waste time on those wanting only temporary solutions. Don’t waste your energy on those who are not interested in being encouraged in grace. Be on the lookout for those who are open to your gift and who can benefit from your story. I AM the Lord your God. I will bring them across your path at just the right time. Seize the opportunity.

Your writing will crystallize for you the areas of practical application of My Word and will be a way of creating tools others can use to take it and run with it. As I told you many years ago, back when you thought I meant to write at that time, don’t worry about the details of how this will all come together. I have been working this process of encouragement out in your life for years and now’s the time for you to capture it before it eludes you again.

Look through your Bible for significant scriptures and dates. Intentionally bring back to your mind key concepts that have gotten you through tough times. Listen to your own testimony. People will relate to you in your struggles and benefit from your experience with Me. I will encourage them through you. The weight of it is on Me… and I can handle it.

You have seen me do this through you as you sink yourself into coaching, teaching, and group facilitation. You really have experienced being fully alive as we’ve partnered together. Now do you dare to believe that we can do this together? Remember that I went to great heights and depths to reclaim this plunder from the enemy for this very purpose… so you can use your gift to make a difference through insightful and creative ideas. Leave no room for doubt. People will grow as a result. They will move forward with Me. I will be glorified and you will be fulfilled. Don’t allow yourself to be discouraged by a perceived or anticipated lack of results. That particular harvest is up to Me and I truly believe you will be pleasantly surprised at what I can do with just plain Vicki fully surrendered to Me.”

With a letter from God like that, how can I not do this blog?

TAKE IT AND RUN WITH IT


  • Now what about you? What action are you inspired to take to be a good steward of your gift and your story?
  • What support do you need to put into place to make it happen… as much as it is up to you?

Let’s put our vision into action and enjoy this harvest together!