Shortly after I created my business cards for my coaching business I read this Bible verse, which I had heard before but forgot about. It speaks to me as the heart of Coaching. In fact my ICF trainer Jonathan Reitz at CoachNet, referred this verse in one of my trainings.
"The purposes of a man's heart are deep waters, but a man of understanding draws them out."
This verse is important to me both as a believer and follower of Jesus Christ and as a Life Coach. Why? Because it points to the power of engagement that occurs in our lives when active listening and powerful questions are partnered together. A question is powerful when it has the ability to provoke deep reflection and draws out a way forward for the coachee. I have seen this happen time and again in a coaching session, as the stage is set for the "Coaching Agreement"; what would you like to accomplish by the end of our discussion. Active listening takes place; 80% of the conversation comes from the coachee and 20% from the coach. Powerful Questions are engaged to help the coachee explore and look at the situation from different angles. The key is that the questions I ask as a coach are not from my benefit, but rather to help the coachee gain insight. Additionally, the question is moving us forward and is not focused on the past. I am not here to counsel my client, I am fully present to help them move forward. I am also here to encourage the coachee and help them determine a plan forward. "So if you had to pick one of these to focus on, which one here would be a real challenge for you? Who in your circle can help you with this? [when the client needs to gather more information or accountability]. I am present to help the client by drawing out these action steps. I am noticing when their are changes in affect, breathing, vocal changes that are insights that their might be more here to ponder. I need to give you room to think and not jump in with another question when you need to sit here in the moment to ponder this thought.
As I consider this verse I am reminded that I am not alone. I believe in the active work of the Holy Spirit present in the coaching session. I see the powerful questions helping people hear the voice of the Holy Spirit in their lives. In fact some powerful questions lead to what we call an articulate moment. Meaning, the client sees something they had not considered and it give this level of clarity that is amazing. I love seeing this happen in the lives of my clients. For me its like this holy moment where the light in the room goes on. You see a man of understanding realizes, they do not have to come into a conversation providing answers, they come with powerful questions that open up the answers that are in the heart of the man or woman with whom we are speaking with.
Okay, you may be thinking, if you are not a believer, this guy is spooky, and his door is not swinging on all its hinges. I get it, totally understand. But before you run off telling everyone what a loon I am; pause and just capture this, powerful questions open up critical thinking and dialogue. When I tell people what to do as the expert, I close off opportunities for that person to process and discover. Coaching opens up the gateway to higher level learning, processing ie. critical thinking skills. As adults we learn better when we are invited in think deeply. As I close out know this, its not that I will not allow a client to discuss some issues of their past. There can be a link from that previous experience to their current situation that produces insight. The goal of coaching is to be forward moving and looking. The goal of coaching is not to act out of the role of mentor, pastor, consultant etc presenting answers. Rather, we help people gain insight faster, moving further than they can without a skilled coach.
I base my insights personally from over 28 years in mental health and ministry. There are people who definitely need counseling, some need medication to help them live productively. Yet as I look back from a fresh perspective, there are a lot of people who came to me seeking counseling, a mentor, spiritual advice who would have grown deeper faster if I had known how to coach them. Drawing Out Understanding; wow is this verse right on. Its connects with my present reality with the people I am honored to help find a way forward. Perhaps you would benefit from a trained Professional Coach. Connect with us and we will get you on track. Here is my promise to you. If I feel like I cannot coach you, I will connect you with someone who can. If I see this as a counseling need and not coaching, I will guide you in the right direction. If you feel a session with me did you zero good, I will refund you your money gladly. I coach to help people improve their lives so I want to walk with the highest degree of integrity.
Till I hear from you, Peace.