So Saturday I woke up anxious for my phone call with my peer partner. After the compliments about my coaching on Tuesday, at the very end of the class I heard my peer partner say, “I have a problem with”. My initial thought (unfortunately) was negative. There is something about me, or they have a problem with me. I did something wrong or said something wrong.
Ugh. My negative perception of myself is not only frustrating to me but it is also frustrating to the people around me. I honestly I do not try to be negative, it is an immediate reaction. One good thing is that after telling myself that it wasn’t about me, I am doing well and it is not a negative comment towards or about me, I can usually stop letting it affect me. I go back to telling myself the truth and focusing on loving and accepting myself.
After determining the comment wasn’t directed towards me, I was ready for the peer meeting. We connected and prayed and touched base and then something I never saw coming happened. My peer partner became emotional. Suddenly they went from being guarded to opening up and expressing true, genuine emotions. I felt such a sense of relief and comfort that they too are emotional and I am not the only one. I thought for sure that I had been pared up with someone who just wasn’t emotionally expressive, but I was wrong. I am so glad that I was wrong.
Again, being vulnerable and authentic allows for true emotion to come out and establishes a deeper connection. In our meeting we shared takeaways from a bible study we did, our progress report for the goals we set, and a “milestone” story.
For our progress report on our goals, as I mentioned before I want to catalyze authenticity and used my opportunity around others to do so. In small group I opened up about feeling lonely and empty and seeking God in prayer and out of desperation he directed my path to where I am now, becoming a Christian life coach. After group this lead to a deeper discussion with one my small group leaders. While it was a friend talking to a friend I was touched that she could open up to me more. One of my thoughts about small group leaders in the past has been that they have to ask you how you are and keep tabs on your life. I am realizing that this is not the case, as it stems from a basic care and concern for others, a Christ-like compassion. The specific goal I focused on last week was not shifting in anticipation of someone completing their thought/response, and keeping eye contact with them while listening. I was able to do this while talking to my small group leader and I feel that this impacted her willingness to share and be more open.
For this week’s goal I was stuck on what my next skill to work on would be. I prayed for guidance and direction and upon reading my devotional I was directed to a bible verse that lead me to my answer.
The one who has knowledge uses words with restraint, and whoever has understanding is even-tempered. Proverbs 17:27
So after our trainer said we need to consolidate our answers and stories so they “pack a punch” I feel that is the next step in my transformation. Being quiet and attentive while listening, yet speaking directly and concisely when appropriate.
I had a chance to work on that a little already, and I will work on it more as the week progresses, so stay tuned.
Going back to the peer meeting, I was asked about authenticity and how it is to be authentic and reach a stage 3 level of authenticity. Without giving it much thought I said
The need for me to share my story is greater than the need for me to stay guarded.
This really spoke to my peer partner and they asked where it came from. I said “Me. The holy spirit within me.”
As I already know that we are not paired up by chance but by the divine inter-workings of God. How blessed we are to have each other to support and encourage. How blessed we are that we know that coaching is our next calling and we intend to fulfill the mission in which we have been called to do.
The funny thing about our mission is yet another opportunity has been laid out for me. This one is a specific position in my church as a CARE ministries volunteer. In this position I would be actively listening and showing empathy, but not pushing the person to a solution or any sort of goal status. So utilizing some of the skills I’ve learned but perhaps not holding that individual accountable for an action step.
I met with a person after church on Sunday to discuss this more. While I am intrigued by this idea, I know that it is different from coaching and need to seek council and guidance regarding where to invest my time/energy. (In both or one over the other?) My meeting with her ended with my next step to read a book she recommended and to make a comparison between the principles outlined in the book and my core coaching principles. After I read the book she wants to get together to talk about it over coffee. She also called me to encourage me to go to membership night next Sunday, I’ve always wanted to go but have been nervous. I do think that this is the perfect time and reason for me to go and learn more about the church and what I have to offer.
My hope is to borrow the book from someone in my small group and read it and attend membership class Sunday. As I sort through my ideas, thoughts and parallels of what coaching vs. care giving means I need to remember to be mindful and present and still so that I can hear when God speaks to me.
Looks like this is another long post, but I will say that I grateful to have this outlet and encouraged that my words can help and encourage others.
Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing.
1 Thessalonians 5:11