By Claudia Klann, CPLC
Here’s a recent blog I shared with the Bethel Church coaches.
Coaches want to help people! By nature, we are teachers, counselors, motivators, and encouragers, who desire that the people we influence reach their dreams and live a fulfilled life. As Kingdom coaches, we’re motivated by Christ to become, and help others become, who God designed has us to be.
Coaches don’t give advice, right? We only ask questions to get the client to think beyond what’s right in front of them. The training to become a coach focuses so heavily on questioning and listening to get the client to overcome their obstacles that it felt illegal to offer advice or counsel. But is it?
One of the ICF (International Coach Federation) Core Competencies is Direct Communication. Here is the description directly from ICF: “The Ability to communicate effectively during coaching sessions, and to use language that has the greatest positive impact on the client:
- Is clear, articulate and direct in sharing and providing feedback.
- Reframes and articulates to help the client understand from another perspective what he/she wants or is uncertain about.
- Clearly states coaching objectives, meeting agenda, and purpose of techniques or exercises.
- Uses language appropriate and respectful to the client (e.g., non-sexist, non-racist, non-technical, non-jargon).
- Uses metaphor and analogy to help to illustrate a point or paint a verbal picture.”
But we are Kingdom Coaches who God uses as one way to bring the Kingdom of Heaven to Earth. We’re different from secular coaches but still working within the framework of the coaching profession.
So what does direct communication look like for us?
I think it looks like observing and connecting the dots in our client’s story to give them a different perspective to reframe his or her thinking which empower their actions. Ask permission first to share what you observe. Offer another way to evaluate at their situation. Seek Heaven’s perspective. I often create the scene of my client standing with Jesus in Heaven looking over their lives to ask Him about His perspective. Ask Jesus direct questions. Let Jesus tell them what to do or what needs changing. Discover together the bible characters who have faced with similar challenges to discover how they handled it. Invent a story to illustrate possibilities.
Does direct communication mean we tell our client what to do? Technically, no, although there have been times when I’ve had a client get stuck and just can’t come up with the thought or idea to move past the obstacle. In those times, I offer up a suggestion to get them thinking creatively. I don’t tell them what to do, but I might suggest, “What if …?” Sometimes it only takes a simple idea to create the permission and expectation to think differently.
What if your client begs, “Please, tell me what to do?” This does happen, so in those times I usually have them ask Jesus. During those quick encounters with the ONE who loves them deeply, they almost always receive what they need to hear.
While coaching differs from counseling, it’s not Kingdom to stick to a secular coaching script and ignore the needs of our client. We must take our lead from, Holy Spirit. Join with Him in the three-way dance to lead your client to become the person God created them to be.