Leading the World by Supporting Christian Coaching

Coaching as Intentional “One-Anothering”  

by Pamela Mertz, CPCC, PCC www.blueprintlife.com

Love One Another

The art of coaching is something that we get to practice and continue to refine our skills to be the best coach for our clients.  These skills are learned andthen honed continually.

I see coaching as intentional one-anothering, fulfilling those commands that Jesus gave us all as His followers.  When I first had this revelation of how coaching fits into this Biblical command, I was astonished and I continue to be amazed at how God uses coaching to create space to help other believers move forward, and out of the stuck, locked up, barren spaces.  We do need others to help us at times, and coaching is a helping profession!

This will be a series of articles unpacking this concept, and I hope you enjoy it and realize just how special your coaching practice is.  May this encourage and inspire you as a coach to bind back anything that comes against your coaching practice and your mindset of being truly called to help the “one-anothers” that God brings your way.

We are to love God and love one another.  Simple and yet so profound and comprehensive. 

First, let’s examine “love” as defined by Paul in 1 Cor 13:4-8.  This is often used in weddings, but the original intent was to describe how to use all the gifts that Paul was teaching and training the Corinthian church about. He was expanding the concept of love for them, by describing it.

Love is patient, love is kind and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant, does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered, does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.  Love never fails; but if there are gifts of prophecy, they will be done away; if there are tongues, they will cease; if there is knowledge, it will be done away.

Love, as defined, is “other” centric.  It isn’t about how the world describes love, especially self-love.  This self-love is actually in opposition to true love as defined by the Bible and counted in the list of sinful behaviors in people that we are to avoid. (2 Tim 3:2) Pause a moment and let that soak in a little. We want to operate in love as defined in the Bible.

How does coaching emulate this command to “love one another” ? Let’s explore this a little and see if it fits. 

Love is patient.  Are you patient with your clients?  How do you allow them to speak and process – giving them space to be able to hear themselves and from God?  This is a process where patience can be demonstrated in your coaching practice. Waiting for your client to process and get to the agreement as you gently ask deeper questions of what is important to them.  Listening to them is an act of love.

Love is kind.  How are you demonstrating kindness to your clients?  Notice this and be aware of how kindness is expressed in your interactions and within your coaching sessions.

Love is not jealous, doesn’t brag and is not arrogant.  As a coach, you are focused on your client’s needs and desires and there is no room for these other things.  You are being present to them, loving them in their coaching space by not inserting yourself and practicing your own coaching presence. It truly is all about the client and their agenda and needs.  This is a rare space for people in this world.  Know that you are holding a very sacred opportunity for your clients to hear themselves and to hear God. 

Love does not act unbecomingly. As a coach, you have a way of behaving and bringing your presence into each session with your clients.  You are professional, you are confident that God has called you to coaching, and you are operating in a “becomingly” way.  Not a word that we use often in our modern conversations.  But becomingly is a welcoming, inclusive, safe way of acting.  As a coach, this is our ethical training as well as maintaining our presence and creating trust and safety. 

Love does not seek it’s own.  This is very true in coaching as well!  We do not set the agenda or contribute to the action steps.  We help our clients do these things, and engage to help them move forward into their preferred future by using our skills as a coach (active listening, setting an agreement and staying with that agreement, and evoking awareness for our clients to determine how they will take those next steps).

Love does not take into account a wrong suffered.  In coaching, we are unoffendable (or we better be!) as this is a space that we do not have the permission to be engaged in the content of our client’s sessions.  We are engaged in the process and they are responsible for the product in each session.  We can support our clients if they have experienced a wrong suffered, but we can’t jump into that pit with them.  We are their lifeline to walking out of that space and into the “more” God has for them. 

Love does not rejoice in unrighteousness.  This is true as well about coaching, we are sometimes our client’s trusted source and they may tell us things they have never told another soul.  I have heard that many times in a session, and I simply respond with “how did that feel to finally say out loud?” or “thank you for your trust” (Notice I still do not insert an “I” or “me” into these responses.  It is imperative to let clients stay focused on their processing, especially when they are becoming aware of an “unrighteousness” in their life.) Unrighteousness is a space where clients can feel trapped, victimized, and bitter.  How might your coaching help them rise out of that space?

Love bears all things.  We bear the burden of the coaching process, and holding our clients to their agreements.  We can often be a “burden bearer” for those in our lives, and I want to help with this concept.  We are called to bear these burdens, but not unto ourselves, but to help those in our midst to bear these hard, heavy things unto the Lord.  He is our burden bearer…and sometimes things are too heavy for our clients to lift into His hands alone. We can ask questions like, “what does Jesus want you to give Him right now?”  or “What is too heavy for you in this? And what do you want to do with it?” Demonstrating this reminder to clients can be a tremendous breakthrough for them in just handing something over to Jesus. Matt 11:28-29 comes to mind here.

Love believes all things.  In coaching, we are believing FOR our clients. Sometimes they come and are not able to believe for anything different than their current circumstances, and honestly is why they hired you.  You are to help them believe in what IS possible, by coaching them out of the stuckness.  Even stating that in times of extreme stuckness or blindness can help clients.  Stating, “As your coach, I am believing for you” is a powerful thing to hear, and you may be the first person to ever articulate that message to them.

Love hopes all things.  We help our clients generate hope.  They have entered into a coaching relationship with you because they have hope that things can be different in doing so. They have already tried on their own, so they are aware of their inability to move in certain areas by their efforts alone.  They are partnering with you to help them hope.  What questions will generate hope?  Things like “What do you hope will be different after our time today?”  This helps them connect to the “hope center” of their brain, and tap into that mind of Christ, who is Hope Himself.

Love endures all things.  We as coaches, endure much as we sit with our clients, and walk them through difficult situations, tough decisions, losses, and even tragic events.  While coaching is not therapy, it can be very therapeutic at times for the client.  There may be times when your client is mad at you as you may ask very difficult, direct questions that make them think.  Being bold to ask such questions is a privilege, as you are hired to do such, and create space for them to think differently.  Sometimes that may feel jarred by our questions and clients may react emotionally.  We Christian coaches endure this, knowing that we are speaking out what God has given us to speak and hold that processing space. We endure the highs and lows of our clients because we love well.

Love never fails.  This is a bold statement, and true!  We get to embrace this, share this, and live this out in our own lives.  Love never fails. Period. When we are operating in love for our clients we can be confident and reassured that Love Himself will give us what we need – because He has promised to do so through His Spirit.( Luke 12:12 ) We can apply these Biblical truths to our coaching practices because we are first a Christian.  We are using our faith in our works (coaching) as followers of Jesus, and He is Love. 

How might you adjust your coaching practice after reading this article?  What is stirring in you about how you view love as an active part of your coaching business?

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: ABOUT THE AUTHOR:  Pamela Mertz, CPCC, PCC is passionate about Christian coaching and loves sharing how God continues to show her how impactful it is for the world! She works with many Christian coaches around the globe through her roles at Promised Land Living, Professional Christian Coaching Institute and CCNI as Board Secretary.  For more information about Pamela you can visit her website at www.blueprintlife.com

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