My church has a pastor of coaching. Really.
So as part of the coaching team, I attended an ICF-aligned training event at the church office, focused on transformational conversations, asking powerful questions, and setting S.M.A.R.T. (specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-specific) goals.
One core concept stopped me cold: Coaching that transforms lives flows from coaches who are mentally, emotionally, and spiritually mature. Intuitively, this truth has been flitting around the edges of my consciousness for months now. But I just couldn’t seem to give name to it.
From my perspective, here’s what that means practically.
Although it’s true that we, as coaches, are not experts for our clients’ lives, it’s equally true that mature coaching flows from mature coaches. It’s doubtful that we, as coaches, can call facilitate the growth process for clients effectively until we have experienced it ourselves. Certainly the Holy Spirit can inspire powerful questions that call forth God’s purposes from our clients. But unless we’ve plumbed the depths of our own souls and done the hard work of growth for ourselves, it’s doubtful whether we will have the insight we need to draw out the best in our clients.
So, what are the implications?
Maturity in Life. Maturity in Coaching.
Here’s what I think.
As professional coaches, we are responsible for our ongoing mental, emotional, and spiritual growth. And because everyone has blind spots, it means that we probably can’t do it alone. We need others to speak into our lives regularly and to hold us accountable for maintaining a standard of excellence in our own lives and our growth as a coach.
And the ways in which we accomplish those goals will be as individual as we are. For some, it might mean hiring a coach or a spiritual director. For others, it could mean working with a mentor.
For me, it’s been a combination of all of those things and more. I meet with a coach twice a month to discuss issues related to my personal and business growth and development. My spiritual director and I meet monthly. It’s a place where I can share from my growth edge spiritually and receive the support, encouragement, and accountability I need.
Throughout my life, I’ve had multiple mentoring relationships, primarily with women who are ahead of me in life and ministry. They’ve consisted of church and marketplace leaders, authors, and speakers, all areas to which I’m called.
I also read voraciously — books on spiritual growth and formation, business and leadership books, and books written by individuals I consider role models, both past and present.
Intentional relationships and regular reading and study spur me on continually to greater growth and maturity. Of course, it’s not a continual, upward climb. Challenges occasionally derail me; and failure, although disappointing, teaches me lessons I would otherwise never learn.
It takes a lot of time, energy, and discipline to facilitate growth. As coaches, we frequently remind our clients of that truth. Maybe it’s time to remind ourselves of it as well.
How do you invest in your ongoing growth and maturity?