When I first learned about coaching, I was not in love with the concept. At the time, I was on staff with a large denomination and we had a history of “flavor-of-the-month” training programs, each of which was sure to be the magical missing ingredient for ushering in God’s kingdom. (Yawn!) So, as I heard about coaching, I figured it was just one more good (but not great) idea.
Nearly twenty years later, coaching has become my vocational identity. What changed? I got hooked on coaching when I realized it was a fantastic approach to discipleship.
Powerful coaching occurs when the client learns something new. The client thinks new thoughts. The client becomes someone new. Our role as a coach is help them take a one-dimensional idea or issue and make it multi-dimensional. Rather than solve the problem, we help the client see the situation in a clearer fashion. And then, the resolution of their issue often seems obvious.
The biggest movie of 2018 was Avengers: Infinity War. The plot of the movie was that the villain was trying to collect all six Infinity Stones to give him the power to do what he believed needed to be done. The back story is that each of the Infinity Stones controls an essential aspect of existence. It made me wonder if these six essential aspects of existence might help us consider how we might help our client fully discover their topic.
Now, this is a movie and not Scripture or anything of any substance. I mainly thought this exercise would be a fun way to think about creating discovery in coaching. It goes without saying that this is just a thought exercise and not any statement about the substance of the universe. If it gives me or you another great question to ask, mission accomplished.
The definitions of each stone are copied from this Wikipedia article.
You got a credential. Now clients are no excuse. You spent a few dollars on a nice website and even followed CAM’s advice on making your client the hero. Your organization or denomination got your email announcement that you are now certified and ready for clients. You’ve been writing a small post about coaching and putting it on your Facebook wall. Now all there is to do is wait. And wait. And wait.
There must be something wrong with the website. You look it over, and it doesn’t look as shiny and new as last week. That may be the problem. You hire a different web designer and fork out a bit more money this time. You’re thinking about starting a podcast. You’re wondering if you need to figure out SEO.
Clients aren’t knocking on your door, and they aren’t going to. Coaches have to knock on the client’s door. Why is that?
There was a commercial for a bank a few years ago that featured a “monkey on your back.” The unsuspecting banking client gets a variable rate mortgage, which seems like a good idea until she signs the contract. Before she puts the pen down, there appears a monkey on her back, representing the ongoing detriment that comes from such loan. What should have been a burden for the big bank is now the burden of their client. It’s a funny commercial.
Too many coaches willingly carry around a burden that is not theirs to carry. They coach as if their client’s burdens are their burdens. Unlike the banking commercial, nobody benefits when the coach carries the monkey on his/her back – the coach struggles and the client is not served.
What does it look like when a coach has the monkey on his/her back? There’s not a primate hanging from the coach’s neck; instead, there are voices in the coach’s head saying burdensome things. Here are three common ways the burden sounds in the coach’s head: