One day last spring, I spent an entire morning strolling through the Museum of Modern Art, enjoying various exhibits, ingesting the color and beauty around me, allowing it to nourish my soul. I admired each individual’s artistry and the nuance captured in each work of art.
There was more than exceptional technique on display here. Depth of heart and soul shone through each artist’s work as they expressed themselves and their worldview on the canvas.
Coaching Mastery: Depth of Heart and Soul
In many ways, Christian coaches are like artists.
Like artists, every coach begins with learning basic skills and techniques. We cultivate core coaching competencies — establishing trust and intimacy with the client, practicing active listening, creating awareness, managing progress and accountability, along with others.
But there comes a time when, as coaches, we make a decision to move beyond minimal skill requirements toward mastery, or we choose to stay where we are — satisfied with minimum skills and technical proficiency.
Just as the mastery on display at the Museum of Modern Art extends beyond skill so does mastery in coaching.
It requires depth of heart and soul. I believe masterful coaching reflects tremendous self-awareness and emotional intelligence as well as a a nuanced understanding of our clients and the world in which we live.
Although coaching mastery can be hard to define, you know it when you see it.
So how do we, as coaches, cultivate coaching mastery?
Developing Coaching Mastery
Coaching mastery is more than raising your skills and technique to the level of mastery. It’s goes to the very core of who you are. That’s why a discussion of coaching mastery is incomplete without touching on the heart and soul of the coach.
A lack of wholeness or emotional maturity in the areas of the heart and soul will spill over into your coaching.That’s why periodic self-assessment is important as you move toward mastery.
For the Christian coach, consider starting with these:
Cultivate intimacy with God.
Mastery in coaching begins with your relationship with God. Let the words of the Apostle Paul take root in your soul: “I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Jesus Christ my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things.” (Philippians 3:8 NIV).
Seek Him above all else, including the success of your business. He alone can satisfy the deepest longings on your heart and the hearts of your clients.
When it comes to cultivating intimacy with God, sometimes it helps to try something new. Consider expanding your spiritual disciplines to include a few new ones, such as solitude and silence, simplicity of heart and life, and retreat and reflection. Adele Calhoun is an experienced guide, and her Spiritual Disciplines Handbook is a rare treat.
Identify and eliminate habits, hang-ups, and mindsets that can derail your business and sully your reputation as a coach.
Do you have shoddy record-keeping skills? Are you technologically challenged? If so, it’s time to act.
Masterful coaches recognize their strengths and weaknesses. They understand the importance of devoting the majority of their time and energy to working in their strengths and either address the gap in their learning or delegate tasks at which they’re less effective to someone else.
And if you’ve not done so already, it’s time to deal with the baggage from your past. Such issues as a lack of self-confidence and poor boundaries are sure to limit your professional and personal success.
Regarding mindset, work with a coach to identify limiting beliefs such as a scarcity versus an abundance mentality.
A scarcity mindset believes there’s not enough to go around, causing us to guard and hoard what we have. It creates destructive and unnecessary competition.
Conversely, an abundance mindset believes there are enough resources and successes to share with others. People with an abundance mindset are “generous experts,” and generally have a high self-worth and security.
Commit to life-long learning and continuous education.
Leaders are readers. Period. If you’re not reading top business books and magazines, you will quickly fall behind and you can come across as irrelevant and outdated. When it comes to gaining new clients, you can’t afford to take that risk.
Remember, perception is reality. How you come across to potential clients is as important as your credentials. Act to come across as the expert that you are.
To start, consider subscribing to these business publications: The Harvard Business Review, Inc. Magazine, Fast Company, and Entrepreneur.
It’s equally important to read leadership books. No time to read leadership books? No problem. Michael Hyatt’s Leaders Book Summaries are excellent and well worth the cost. I’ve subscribed to this for years and can’t begin to tell you how beneficial it’s been.
Build a life as you build your business.
Living a life that nourishes your soul and fills your emotional tank is just as important as building your business. It’s critical to your success. Unless your tank is full, you will have nothing to give to your clients.
Entrepreneurs who focus on their businesses to the exclusion of everything else often suffer from poor health, depression, anxiety, mood swings, and other illnesses.
As Christian coaches, we must maintain biblical priorities, honoring our commitments to God and our families, stewarding our health, and making time for rest and self-care.
Overwork and striving to build our business in the flesh indicates a lack of trust for God to provide for our needs.
Remember, “Unless the Lord builds the house, they labor in vain who build it.” Truly, these are wise words for us all (Psalm 127:1).
The Road to Coaching Mastery
The road to coaching mastery extends far beyond skills and techniques. It’s about heart and soul. It’s about self-awareness and professional and personal development. And it’s about making intentional choices to do what it takes to get there.
Don’t settle for less than God has for you in any area of your life.
I challenge you to make coaching mastery your goal, and then commit to doing what it takes to get there.
What next steps will you take to become a masterful coach?