Coaching is a Skill Set, Not a Magic Pill

Coaching is a Skill Set, Not a Magic Pill

Coaching skills can be learned and put into practice. I´m finding this approach works well with this generation of digital relationships.

 

What would happen if …

My leadership style has been so transformed by coach training. So, I wondered what would happen if I taught basic coaching concepts to small group leaders in our church?

I launched the idea to our weary leaders and they all readily agreed to go for it. The next step was figuring out the essence of what brought transformation in my own leadership style and relationships. Here’s what I came up with:

Key Concepts

  • Authenticity – instead of “holding down the fort”, “hanging on”, or responding with “glory to God, in Him I have the victory!”, we all needed a good dose of authenticity. We had to learn how to share victories, failure and needs in a way that invited others to freely express themselves in return. It took several risky practice sessions but finally a new sense of openness and encouragement began to bloom.
  • Open questions – The next skill-set we tackled was how not to turn our home groups into a Bible study, group counseling session, or even a mini-church service. One leader-trainee was moved to tears by having someone ask questions and actually listen to her responses!
  • The Heart of a Coach – imitating the heart of Jesus. Together we considered how God is already moving and working in whoever we engage in conversation. By believing they are capable of hearing and obeying what God is saying to them, we empower others to trust God instead of merely following our advice.
  • OREO feedback – We taught them how to self-praise, self-correct, and plan together as a team – how to affirm positive things happening in the group more than analyzing what is going wrong and trying to correct out of our weakness. This has created an excitement and initiative on the part of the leaders to keep ambience, questions, and listening skills intentional each week.

We began weekly lunch meetings because practicing these skills became more and more exciting. Learning to live in an authentic way, to listen and ask more questions and have others believe in you was so sweet. We wanted to take that experience to the small groups we all were leading.

Results

In just a few weeks we were getting reports from our small groups: a young man we´d never met before rededicated his life to the Lord! A woman living in an abusive relationship was able to share her story and feel supported and accepted. She later broke off the relationship and is headed out to a discipleship school for 6 months!

A new person showed up and easily joined in the family ambience. Upon leaving the meeting she commented, “what´s going on here? I found myself sharing intimate details of my life story, and I had only wanted to sit back and observe!” She has become a member of the church and is leading another ministry.

Non-Christian friends are being invited into the groups and they are finding a place where they can observe Christianity in all its authenticity and they like it! Our groups doubled in the first 3 months I think because others began to see what was happening and wanted in on the “real thing!”

Get some training and put it into practice in every area of your life and watch the fruit multiply!


by Patricia Clewett, Leadership Coach & Coach. Bi-Lingual missionary to Spain, living in Barcelona for more than 20 years. Mother of 4 adult children. Married to the same man since 1978. Certified Professional Coach of cross-cultural and leadership coaching experience. Completed 3-year training including LCT 1 and MCT levels I and II. Now Completing Apprenticeship to train other coaches in the Spanish Speaking World.

The Importance of Personal Values

The Importance of Personal Values

Quick – tell me what your values are and why. How long would it take you to respond? Could you identify and explain your values? We should all be able to because we all operate from certain values, whether we can identify them or not. To a coach, it’s important to discover values because as Tony Stoltzfus writes in The Christian Life Coaching Handbook, “It’s hard to coach toward someone’s values if neither of you know what they are!” Conversely, Roy Disney said, “It’s not hard to make decisions when you know what your values are.”

Knowing values brings clarity

In coaching life purpose discovery, it’s important to deal with values. They are firmly connected to what direction a person wants to go and how they live out their life purpose. I’d never given much thought to my personal values until I was being coached to discover my life purpose. Once I discovered my values and wrote them down, I felt a great sense of empowerment as I could give voice to what was important to me and why. Knowing my values gave me clarity on my passions and my motivation to live out my life purpose.

Values describe what we are passionate about

Why is this important to me? Why do I feel so strongly about this? Why would I defend this person/viewpoint so vigorously? Why do I care about this so much? Again, from The Christian Life Coaching Handbook, “Values describe what we are most passionate about, what motivates us, and why we make certain choices.”

Think about values from the opposite view – how can I make a big decision if I don’t know what my values are and how they impact the decision? How can I know what my life purpose is if I don’t know what I’m most passionate about, what motivates me or why I make certain choices?

Christ placed value on us

In the US, we’ve formed the belief that passion means a strong feeling about a person or thing. But when you look at the root of passion, you find its original Latin meaning was suffer, or suffering. That’s where we get the Passion of the Christ from. The Suffering of Christ. Christ was willing to suffer and die because He placed such value on us. “But God demonstrated His own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 5:8

What do you value so much that you would be willing to suffer for? That suffering may not look the same as Jesus’, but there will be a willingness to discipline yourself, or even deny yourself (suffer), because of that value. Think about that question: what do I value so much I would be willing to suffer for? Then, ask the follow up question: Why would I be willing to suffer for that? There’s the beginning of discovering value and passion and how they influence you living out your life purpose.


Learn more about what Coaching or Coach Training could do for you!


by Jon Taylor, CMI Consultant, MCT Lead Trainer (Life Purpose Specialist). The Life Purpose Coaching module of the training had such an impact on him personally he wants to see others experience and multiply that impact for others. As Lead Pastor of a church in Phoenix, Arizona, Jon gets to coach, train and disciple wherever God gives the opportunity. More about Jon Taylor.

Subscribe to CMI’s “Insights for Impact” blog to keep informed about this and other recommended resources.

Routine Sacrifices Required

Routine Sacrifices Required

Unthinkable

Ron, a coach working with churchplanters in the Ukraine, says, “As a coach, when I would share something vulnerable, realizing I was going against the culture, sometimes the look would be astonishment. That I would share something I had made a mistake on, or just share my reflections on topics that were vulnerable was unthinkable in many cases. I knew if I didn’t gauge this properly it could end the relationship. In some cases, my vulnerability opened up relationships so they would talk more openly. In others, the relationships have fallen off. So, one of the risks of sharing vulnerably has been that in some cases, I’m totally misunderstood; and as a result, discounted.”

It gets dicey sometimes

Brad Bridges, organizational coach, VP of the Malphurs Group, and frequent blogger (http://www.twitter.com/bradbridges) says, “It’s more important to be incarnational than to make more money. So I make less, and this begins to impact my ability to support my family and how many cross cultural clients I can take. You have to limit the number of cross cultural clients or get outside funding. One way I try to deal with it is that I am not just called to make money, I am called to a greater mission; so I may not spend extra hours of my work day with that client, but I could invite them to dinner. I want to keep my integrity at work and keep integrity with the mission I feel called to. It does get dicey sometimes.”

Routine sacrifice

I’m struck as I talk to successful cross cultural coaches with how pragmatic they are about the need for routine sacrifice. This is simply a part of the work. I know in my own experience that the question of sacrifice came up early on as I started coaching cross culturally. It felt as though God was laying down the gauntlet!

  • Would I give up some of what I thought I needed and trust Him for the rewards? Some of the first sacrifices required of me were sacrifices of my schedule, time, and energy.
  • Would I meet early in the morning? Schedule several long sessions in a period of 3-4 days?
  • Would I accept that the energy it took to meet with my cross cultural clients meant that I would not be able to see as many clients or be able to accomplish as much on days I met with them?

Cross cultural coaches routinely sacrifice their physical and emotional comfort, their convenience, their income, their time, and their plans. Some put their reputation and at times, for coaches who have chosen to live cross culturally, their personal safety or health, at risk. I’d venture to say that sacrifice is REQUIRED for those who coach cross culturally.

When have you felt God asking you to lay down your boundaries or needs in order to sacrifice in a cross cultural coaching relationship? Have you ever sacrificed too much? What happened?

Check out Brad’s blog at http://www.bradbridges.net and the Malphurs Group at http://www.malphursgroup.com

The Culturally Intelligent Coach, Virtue Series: Sacrifice and Boundaries


Coaching is the art of asking questions that help a person discover deeper insights, greater awareness and the opportunity to live more fully the life they were meant to live. Learn more about what Coaching or Coach Training could do for you!


Tinaby Tina Stoltzfus Horst, founder and Executive Director of CMI. A Master Coach and Trainer, Tina is a thought leader for cross cultural coaching in the missions context and designed CMI’s Cross Cultural Coaching course.  She has been coaching cross culturally for over 10 years and travels regularly to provide coach training for missions leaders. Her book, “Culturally Intelligent Coaching: Cross Cultural Coaching for Missions and Ministry” is expected to come out in late 2016. Subscribe to CMI’s “Insights for Impact” blog to keep informed about this and other recommended resources.

The Virtue of Flexibility

The Virtue of Flexibility

Be aware

Today I spent time with 20 talented coaches and coach trainees. We discussed a flexible approach to first sessions with new cross cultural clients. We talked about …

  • adapting the coaching agreement for cultures that value relationship;
  • initiating pre-session communication for ‘Status’ culture clients, rather than waiting for them to initiate; and
  • modifying relational story telling for clients with ‘Concealment’ values.

I shared that we can modify our normal first session routines according to culture while still remaining true to coaching principles This kind of flexibility is especially crucial at the beginning of a coaching relationship.

Practice flexibility

What’s the bottom line? Culturally intelligent coaching demands flexibility. There is no way to successfully coach cross culturally without it. Some of us are naturally flexible and can step it up with only a little effort! Others of us will have to work harder and more diligently to develop flexibility. If you, like me, are not naturally flexible, practice can help. But how do you practice something like being flexible in coaching?

Be aware

Here are some practical capacity building exercises for flexibility:

  • If you usually coach face to face, try a Skype session.
  • If you usually coach by Skype, set up a face to face coaching time.
  • Practice doing a coaching funnel in 15 minutes; and then in 1.5-2 hours.
  • Try coaching over coffee/tea with a friend or acquaintance.
  • Try coaching in pairs or groups rather than individually, as some cultures prefer.
  • If you have never coached a team, volunteer to do a coaching session for a ministry team at your church or another team in your organization
  • If you are accustomed to working only with pairs or teams, schedule an individual session.
  • Identity several areas that you think are “givens” in your coaching practice or coaching ministry. Examples might be: where you meet clients, what you communicate to new clients, when you work, how you do a coaching agreement. Then, list several ways that you could flex in each of these.

Make at least one of these ideas an action step. Then do it!

Ask for help

Whether you struggle with flexibility, or you have a natural gift in this area, we all can become more nimble in practicing the virtue of flexibility in cross cultural coaching. Try some of the suggestions above. And don’t hesitate to ask God for help –  He is eager to help us gain what we need in order to fulfill our callings as mission coaches!

Question: What action step are you willing to take today to become more flexible as a culturally intelligent coach?

The Culturally Intelligent Coach, Virtue Series: Flexibility


Coaching is the art of asking questions that help a person discover deeper insights, greater awareness and the opportunity to live more fully the life they were meant to live. Learn more about what Coaching or Coach Training could do for you!


Tinaby Tina Stoltzfus Horst, founder and Executive Director of CMI. A Master Coach and Trainer, Tina is a thought leader for cross cultural coaching in the missions context and designed CMI’s Cross Cultural Coaching course.  She has been coaching cross culturally for over 10 years and travels regularly to provide coach training for missions leaders. Her book, “Culturally Intelligent Coaching: Cross Cultural Coaching for Missions and Ministry” is expected to come out in late 2016. Subscribe to CMI’s “Insights for Impact” blog to keep informed about this and other recommended resources.

The Life-Changing Power of Discovering Your Life Purpose

The Life-Changing Power of Discovering Your Life Purpose

Do a simple search for “life purpose” on Google and it will yield over 1 billion hits. Thats right, over 1 billion. That is a pretty strong indicator that there is an intense longing to know one’s life purpose. Why am I here? What is my purpose in life? What am I supposed to do with my life? They’re all good questions and people are searching for answers.

Many websites offer a near-instant discovery of life purpose. “7 Strange Questions that Help You Find Life Purpose,” “Discover Your Life Purpose in About 20 Minutes,” “5 Unexpected Ways to Find Your Life Purpose,” “15 Questions to Discover Your Life Purpose” are just a few of the results.

It’s a great journey

As a life and leadership coach, I’m obviously a strong proponent of letting a coach help you discover your life purpose. It is a great journey and process to discover how your design, passions, preparation and calling all come together to form your purpose. And I strongly believe that living out your life purpose can be powerfully life-changing. I say that because that’s what happened to me.

Little did I know …

In 2009 I was 16 years into full-time ministry, but didn’t have a clue what my life purpose was and I was feeling somewhat empty and unfulfilled doing ministry. Sure, I knew I was having a positive impact on people’s lives, but felt like something was missing. Did I really want to do what I was doing for the rest of my ministry career? I was accepted to the 2009 Mission Coach Training program with CMI, and that’s when things began to change for me. Part of the training curriculum is focused on Life Purpose Coaching, but little did I know what that meant, or what it would mean to me to be coached in this area and to discover my life purpose.

I now wake up every day knowing I will have opportunities to live out my purpose. My purpose statement is “I live in God’s grace and acceptance as I coach, train and disciple individuals and small groups to grow from where they are to be more like Jesus.” Each day I look forward to the opportunities He will bring me to get to live that out. There is such peace, freedom and joy in knowing and living out my purpose and calling.

What others say

“We are heading to [our new location] so I can fulfill my calling and live out my dream. Thank you for all you’ve done to get me to this point in my life, my marriage and now my ministry.”

“When we started the coaching process I truly did not believe that I would be able to make the change to the nonprofit world, let alone ministry – how could God use me when I had never done this before? As I look back on the exercises we did I can see how each one revealed another step of me ‘accepting’ that God prepared me and purposefully gave me experience that is now being used to his Glory! “

“This whole experience made me look back at pivotal points in my life, visualize my small and big dreams, see people I’ve helped and realize talents and skills that I could [use].”

“That purpose statement is something that would be worth getting up every day to live out!”

I share these comments with you because I want you to experience the life-changing power of discovering your life purpose. I’ve seen that power of discovery in myself as well as people from different walks of life, ages and experiences. But all have the same reaction: a true excitement and joy at discovering and living out their life purpose!


Learn more about what Coaching or Coach Training could do for you!


Jon Taylorby Jon Taylor, CMI Consultant, MCT Lead Trainer (Life Purpose Specialist). The Life Purpose Coaching module of the training had such an impact on him personally he wants to see others experience and multiply that impact for others. As Lead Pastor of a church in Phoenix, Arizona, Jon gets to coach, train and disciple wherever God gives the opportunity. More about Jon Taylor.

Subscribe to CMI’s “Insights for Impact” blog to keep informed about this and other recommended resources.

How Flexible Can You Be?

How Flexible Can You Be?

Recently I talked with a former client who I had referred to another coach. I asked him how it went. He laughed a bit and told me it really hadn’t gone at all. In fact, despite trying for several months to set up appointments, they never had a session!

What happened?

The client explained that first of all, he didn’t “get” the time zone difference between him and his coach. When he was instructed that he was to take the lead in setting up the appointment, it felt to him like his new coach did not really care about him. When I asked the coach about all this, she explained it differently: the client did not take initiative, failed to show for the scheduled session several times and did not follow up. The coach did not think it was her job to run after the client! As a result, no coaching happened; no transformation occurred; no support was extended; no encouragement received.

Different values

‘Good’ American style coaching practice dictates that the client must take the initiative in the relationship. When clients ‘no-show’ or don’t contact us to set up the next session, we interpret that as lack of interest or commitment. In Western ‘Equality’ value societies, everyone is expected to take initiative and go after their goals. However, in the South Asian culture where this client came from, initiative usually comes from the ‘leader’(or in this case the coach) who is perceived to have more status. Also,relationship is valued more highly than task. This means that the client will dive into the ‘task’ of coaching only when the ‘relationship’ is established.

Different ways

Working cross culturally with these kinds of differences requires stretching beyond our normal practices. We become aware of different ways of doing things and different ways of thinking. This challenges our understandings and preconceptions, and reveals some of our own cultural biases embedded in what we might consider ‘good’ coaching process. If we are to be effective and avoid misunderstandings that can prevent coaching from ever happening, we need to carefully reflect on these questions:

  • Should coaching stay the same no matter who we are coaching?
  • If not, what can or should be adjusted?
  • When and where are boundaries needed?
  • When do we lay down our preconceptions and sacrifice what seems right to us in order to serve our cross cultural clients?

Your answers to these questions can make all the difference as to whether coaching actually happens, transformation occurs, support is extended, or encouragement is received.

Reflect: “When have you “held the line” on coaching absolutes? When have you flexed due to cultural values?”

The Culturally Intelligent Coach, Series: Sacrifice and Boundaries


Coaching is the art of asking questions that help a person discover deeper insights, greater awareness and the opportunity to live more fully the life they were meant to live. Learn more about what Coaching or Coach Training could do for you!


Tinaby Tina Stoltzfus Horst, founder and Executive Director of CMI.  A Master Coach and Trainer, Tina is a thought leader for cross cultural coaching in the missions context and designed CMI’s Cross Cultural Coaching course.  She has been coaching cross culturally for over 10 years and travels regularly to provide coach training for missions leaders. Her book, “Culturally Intelligent Coaching: Cross Cultural Coaching for Missions and Ministry” is expected to come out in late 2016. Subscribe to CMI’s “Insights for Impact” blog to keep informed about this and other recommended resources.