Like our counseling services, we offer general coaching that would be common to any coaching service as well as help that would be Christian in nature. We can go light on the Christian side if you do not want that sort of help, come at things from a spiritual but not Christian point of view, or we can provide a fully Biblical service to those who consider themselves committed to God and a Christian lifestyle. You will find there is overlap between coaching and counseling.
We help with the following from any of those perspectives:
- General life coaching
- Career advice
- Personality identification – Using the Enneagram
- Mate selection and pre-marital counseling
- Marriage improvement
- Communication skills
- Establishing and maintaining boundaries
- Growing and protecting healthy relationships
- Emotional Intelligence
- Decision making
- Financial issues and/or questions – Credit, budgeting…
- Identifying God’s leading
- Biblical topics and questions
- Spiritual gifting as differentiated from natural talents and abilities
- Christian/spiritual growth/mentoring
What Do We Mean by “Coaching?”
Coaching is designed for those who are not having trouble in life and want to keep it that way! Neglect is the best way to stagnate, waste your life, and stumble into struggles… without even knowing we’re headed for trouble. Running until something breaks without any maintenance is not just unwise and obviously short-sighted, it’s irresponsible. Many people take better care of their golf clubs or pet than they do their own souls!
Our preventative strategy is a proactive approach to continued physical, spiritual, relational, emotional, and cognitive health. It’s like an annual auto inspection or routine physical checkup, designed to keep us safe and healthy. It helps people make sure all aspects of their lives are in tune with their priorities and promised devotion. Preventative measures keep you operating at peak performance. And we can help you live a preventative life without devotion to God, but be warned, we believe it will be less effective, less fulfilling, less sustainable, and ultimately, just less.
Life Coaching asks questions like”
- “Where is my life going?”
- “Do I want it to go where it’s going?”
- “How do I redirect my life to set it on an alternate trajectory?”
- “How do I know God’s will for my life and relationships?”
- “Should I take the new job, move, marry, quit, buy, etc.”
- “Do I know and am I using my spiritual gifts?”
- “Am I intentionally living life or letting it live me?”
- “Do I have healthy rhythms and routines?”
- “Do I have goals and do they allow me to live on purpose and not by default?”
- “Am I living by God’s plan and design or one of my own?”
- “Do I faithfully ask God what he wants for me or ask him to bless what I want for me?”
Ask Smokey Bear!
Of primary importance is probing into key relationships. Smokey Bear was right! Only you can prevent forest fires. It is much easier to prevent a wildfire than it is to extinguish one and much less harm is done to those we love. Any question is in play that makes you think, probe your practices and intentions, and evaluate the degree of deliberate living you do as compared to just going along on the path of least resistance.
TUNE-UP | Preventative
Simply, in a word, coaching is prevention. Once repairs get started, and wellness begins to change how we live, we transition to focus on life-giving truths, deliberate practices, and worthy reliances and alliances that protect and expand our new life. A coach’s job is not to help us become average. They see impediments we do not see, hear degrading self-talk and destructive beliefs we do not hear, and call out potential we do not own. They even will inflict (helpful) pain along the way if they must challenge us so that we reach our full height. They help us listen for and cooperate with God so he can transform us and deploy us into meaningful Kingdom purpose. Prevention wards off the need for avoidable repairs so that most of our energy can be channeled and aggregated into something significant.
Regular tune-ups have to happen. Smokey Bear was right. The implication behind “only you can prevent wildfires” (the 2001 updated version of the 1945 original) is that prevention is far superior to putting out fires. Prevention is easier, quicker, less involved, cheaper, surer, safer, and far, far less damaging. Smokey was not thinking about the destructive “fires” of lust, temptation, wounding, abuse, independence, idolatry, and sin when he spoke about prevention. But his warning is easy to adapt to our purposes. Prevention is just as expedient to our spiritual lives and all relationships as it is to avoid the destruction of wildfires.
The vision of The Center is to make it common, as any preventative habit, to regularly have spiritual tune-ups to lessen the need for reparative help. We would like these protective check-ups to become standard procedure. Sorry to say, but most of us take better care of our golf clubs and a favorite t-shirt than we do our inner life. Most of us take better care of our cars than we do ourselves on any level, internal or external, soul or body!
When the government tells us it’s time to get our car inspected, we do it, even if it is the last day of the month! But when the dentist sends us a notice that it is time to get our teeth cleaned, we put it off again and again… until we have a toothache! It is worse than that. When we feel we are getting behind recent advances in our field of expertise, we get training. When our golf game or batting average slumps, we go to the driving range or batting cage or even get private coaching. When our occupation says we have to get continuing education credits, we spend the money and take the time to comply. But how many of you know how your soul is doing? Do you even know how you take that assessment?
Our vehicle and body, pastime and profession, all benefit from being well cared for. However, unless we go looking, some problems do not present themselves until they are well advanced and harder to rectify. Decline is gradual so it is harder to detect without regular inspection. A regular check-up keeps our car and body operating at peak performance. Occasional training improves our game on the field of play and our performance at work.
Inspecting the Invisible
In the same manner, a spiritual tune-up is a routine check-up for your heart and soul. A diagnostic for those invisible systems that operate in relative obscurity behind the visible mechanics. Consider it a spiritual health check-up for your relationship with God. It can help keep you running, at peak performance, catching any potential problems before they get out of hand and are devilishly difficult to correct. With all things running properly, following Christ is noticeably less difficult, more victorious, and far more calming.
Why do we tell no one when we stall out spiritually? Why do we tell no one when we get excessively discouraged or confused, face nagging defeat, or notice that key relationships are deteriorating? And why do we refuse to speak a word to anyone when our Bible reading or prayer fall off markedly, or our desire to serve and give financial wanes? We may beg God to help us or read a book or an article on the internet, but when the problem persists, we either give up and hide the struggle, or worse, make friends with the deficiency through excuses, comparisons we know we will win, or other manipulative cognitive tactics. We avoid at all costs the help we need until the fire has burned for so long and destroyed so much that putting it out is unnecessarily difficult, if not nearly impossible, and at least extremely costly.
We fight on our own until we become so overwhelmed that we throw down our sword and capitulate, again getting no help. We have invested so much into maintaining the business-as-usual dysfunction that it is twice as hard to admit to the struggle. Why are we so reluctant to spend the time and money to get reparative help, let alone to secure preventative spiritual coaching?
Counseling Vs. Coaching
We call preventative efforts “coaching” since the sports metaphor is readily understood. The idea of coaching is more acceptable and is generally recognized as a positive thing. Counseling, which we do and which label we employ for other purposes, is typically viewed as a negative but that stigma is overcome when things get serious. But to invite people into the Spiritual Health Check-Up process we want to use something less difficult to accept. A more formal term for this process, one that includes the preventative side, is “Spiritual Direction.” Someone who gives spiritual coaching over counseling is a “Spiritual Director.”
Our Specialization – Spiritual Direction
Spiritual coaching/direction is far more than counseling. The seven items below are frequently and usually mixed together in various “brews” that are just right for the need at hand. Every heart needs its own healing. These are the available ingredients from which, as the Spirit of God leads, we stew together a one-off remedy for each unique person and collection of pain.
- Counseling – We are not concerned just with counseling, which is primarily trying to fix stuff that is already broken.
- Mentoring – We are not concerned just with mentoring, which is largely about setting the right course before things get broken.
- Coaching – We are not just about coaching people that have newly committed their lives to Christ, but we do that too. Coaching is mainly helping people live into their full potential in Christ.
- Healing – We are not just interested in turning open wounds into healed scares. Those scares are reminders of where God has brought us, but they should no longer dictate life.
- Teaching – We help folks continue to grow without getting distracted. We teach them to see potential issues that could limit growth or derail them altogether, before it becomes a problem. Teaching gives people tools and truth that aids them in navigating a world that is antagonistic to the ways of Jesus.
- Admonishing – Often our job is to cast light into the darkness, truth into deception, reality into fantasy, clarity into confusion, and wisdom into madness. We lay out honest truth and difficult realities by saying the things folks need to hear. Often it is stuff that others will not tell them. This was once called admonition. The word means “to caution or advises or counsel against something; to reprove or scold, but especially in a mild manner and with good-will; to urge to a duty; to remind” (dictionary.com). So, we lovingly tell the truth to protect people from whatever evil and darkness the lies is hiding (Ephesians 4:11-16), leading to lasting transformation.
- Directing – We direct people to certain “disciplines” or practices that help keep their hearts and minds locked in on God so that their relationship with him keeps growing. But being a Christians is not just about cold duty and strict adherence to rules and regulations and best practices, not by a long shot! We assist people in using disciplines without idolizing them, toward the proper goal – God!
We want to make “spiritual direction” a household idea. We want it to be something everyone has experience with. We want to make it something that is a natural and normal part of the Christian’s growth process. Why, you ask? Because we want to make the passionate, intentional, proactive pursuit of a relationship with God the highest priority of every Christ-followers daily life. The main reason we were saved is not so we could stop sinning, as important as that is. We are saved from our distance from God (Colossians 1:21), created by sin, removed by Jesus’ payment for our sin, to be restored to friendship with God (Romans 5:10-11).
Again, like counseling, or spiritual counseling, we specialize in coaching that is directed at our relationship with God. That is primary. But it also questions our own growth and that of our relationships with others as Christians who are called to relate as Jesus did.
Questions for Intentional Growth:
- Spiritual Disciplines– Are you maintaining and expanding/advancing your God-connection?
- Cognitive Scripting– What stories do you choose to tell yourself? What is your self-script?
- Emotional Indicators– Are you emotionally alive and listening? Are you monitoring your indicators?
- Self-Forgiveness– Are you maintaining a gracious and forgiving posture toward yourself?
- Physical Health– Are you habitually caring for your body? Is your body showing signs of neglect?
- Financial Stability/Wisdom– Do you have and keep godly financial practices?
- Relational Presence– Are you “with” and available (awake and aware) when in proximity?
- Disempowering the Past– Are there any new issues/symptoms that need investigating?
- Making Life Choices & Changes– What decision(s) and adjustment(s) are you contemplating?
- Enneagram Warnings– Are you using your type to lead into createdness and avoid its dark side?