When you hear the word “hospitality”, what comes to mind? For most of us it’s an immediate image of welcoming someone into our home. Maybe having someone over for a meal, offering a place to stay while they’re traveling, or helping someone who is in transition.
Last summer, my pastor shared a quote from Henri Nouwen’s The Wounded Healer which, paraphrased, says hospitality is being comfortable with your own loneliness and your own pain so that when you’re with someone else you don’t have to put all of your stuff on them. Nouwen also describes hospitality as primarily being the creation of free space…where change can take place.
When I heard this, I immediately thought of how that applied to coaching. In coaching, we aim to remove ourselves from the conversation as much as possible to allow maximum space for our clients. We withhold our thoughts, judgments, personal stories and experience, and more to create as much free space as possible where change can take place.
I feel so blessed that my husband and I, who both have such a deep heart for hospitality, have found a way to bring this kind of hospitality through our professions, mine as a coach and his as a therapist. This idea has also helped me see a whole new level of importance of keeping myself out of the conversation, not just because it’s a good coaching tactic, but because it’s an extension of the hospitality I have to offer and the love God has given us all.