by Michael Baker, MS, CSC, CCNI Director of Membership and Outreach
“Do as I say, not as I do.” Decades later I still hear my father admonishing me with those words. The circumstances and relationships are lost on me now, but those words came to me this morning after reading an email from James Clear, author of Atomic Habits.
I receive several emails from individuals and organizations that are inspirational and designed to encourage deeper thinking and more purposeful actions. To be a better human being. To be a better Christian. Some are helpful, some are too obvious, and others just don’t hit the mark for me. But that’s my take, and someone else may feel differently. One person’s perspective is one person’s perspective.
On most occasions, when I read an email that ‘hits the mark’ I automatically think, “My clients can use this,” or, “I can include this in my coaching to help my clients.” I want to be a better coach. I want my clients to reach their goals, whatever they may be. But this morning I saw it differently. I realized the email was sent to me, for me. So why am I automatically transferring the email content to my clients and bypassing myself?
What I was really recognizing was my inability first to absorb the information myself. If the above-mentioned email is recommending how to make a change in my habits, do I first examine myself within that framework? Or do I just throw out what I read, hoping it resonates with my client? Do I need to apply or change something within myself first in order to share the idea or concept with my client? In a non-directive manner, of course. Am I seeing the conversation from my father’s perspective, or from God’s?
Coaching isn’t easy. It’s hard, and it takes hours of training, mentoring, and practice to serve our clients. As Christian coaches we invite the Holy Spirit into our conversation with clients to guide presence, connection, and awareness. I want to consistently improve as a coach. To do that I need to see myself first and ensure I am grounded in my thoughts and actions, so that my words to my client are, “Be aware of the change within you, and act with purpose, from your heart; and be the person God believes you to be.”