I just completed my first day of coach training at Western Seminary. Great group of students and terrific professor who is a seasoned coach to business executives and pastors. I thoroughly enjoyed my time with them. By the conclusion of the final session of Introduction to Coaching tomorrow, I will be equipped to engage in basic coaching skills. My intent is to find at least two people with whom I can practice those skills in the coming weeks.
The two foundational skills of coaching are listening intently and asking powerful, relevant questions. I have long been a strong listener and I’m pretty good at following up with meaningful questions. The hard part is guiding a coaching conversation in such a way that serves the client well so that progress toward actionable steps are made. This means taking me out of the equation. In the coaching relationship, it’s not about what I need, or what might satisfy my curiosity, or worse, what might make me look impressive to the client. Rather, it is all about the client’s journey toward his or her goals. The client sets the agenda, owns the content of the conversation, and is responsible to bring her decisions to fruition through actions to which she commits. My job as a coach is simply to provide a safe place for her to identify her goals, address the challenges, choose realistic action plans, and then commit to them.
In other words, in this context I’m learning to be a coach; not a counselor, or a mentor, or a consultant, or a spiritual director. All of those other roles are important and have their appropriate place, to be sure. But for now I’m exploring what it means to be a coach, and most importantly, I’m beginning to put in to practice my fledgling coaching skills.
Will you pray for me as I engage this process?