Much of my work revolves around coaching leaders to excellence in their work and ministries for the church. However, I also coach people toward wellness, and yes, I am a pastor. I have done much life-coaching over the years and find that many people are not equipped to live. Don’t get me wrong, many people function reasonably well in their day to day lives—working, going to higher education classes, parenting, interacting with family and friends, and spending time with social networking. After all of that activity however, many feel empty and ill-equipped to live. Even many Christians fall short of the ideal set before us by Christ when he offered a utopian goal:
I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly. John 10:10
Are you equipped to live from that point of view? Even if you are a Christian, you may discover that you are not equipped to live.
MAKING SENSE OF CHAOS
In this series we will explore the vast emptiness many feel today that confounds us—feeling alone in a crowded world, reactionary living amid constant change, why many of our relationships increase the chaos, and how in our desire to find solitude we often find only isolation. Nuclear cohesive families once prepared people with many of the personal life skills needed to thrive, but now many seem content only to survive. One goal of coaching from my perspective is to help you to do much more than survive. I want you to become discontented with just surviving and coping, but instead I want you to thrive and succeed.
EQUIPPED TO LIVE WILL…
The goal of this series then is to motivate you to not only reach higher but to know what to do once you get there. I confess that I do not have all of the answers, so we will learn together as we progress. That also is consistent with my philosophy of coaching. While I employ effective coaching models, I view coaching as a co-active partnership. OK, I realize that until you officially hire me as your coach, ours is not really a co-active relationship, but for this series to be effective it is needful that I communicate as if we do have a co-active coaching relationship. Here are some possible subjects for upcoming articles:
- Finding the leader within
- Unleashing your passion
- Facing yourself in the mirror
- Surrounding yourself with people
- Using a better decision-making process
- Defining who will go along
- Investing for ROI…and legacy
- Dealing with the “A” word
- Measuring how you are doing
- Diagnosing your three realms of wellness
- Refusing failure
Coaching is like life…they are a process that is best done with a partner. I have not already written the articles proposed above, so I invite you to join with me. Offer comments and interactions. As much as possible, I will respond to the comments.
Last year one of my favorite authors and leaders wrote a book in which he truly engaged his audience in a way I hope to herein. As John Maxwell wrote the book Everyone Communicates, Few Connect, he posted each chapter as he wrote them and invited readers to comment. He used those comments as he eventually wrote the book and gave credit to those who had commented and shaped his thinking for the final product. I was one of those whose name is listed in the back of John Maxwell’s book as a contributor. He not only communicated but he also connected. That is what I hope to achieve in the upcoming articles as you are equipped to live!
Please invite others to join our conversation on the RENOVA Coaching blog.
- Do you feel you are truly equipped to really LIVE? Why or why not?
- Are you living the “abundant” life?
- When friends inquire about finding “life-balance,” what do your recommend?
- Have you found yourself repeating the same king of life mistakes as related to relationships, finances, and …(you fill in the blank)
- What title would you add to the list of proposed articles for this series?
Dr. Tom Cocklereece is the author of Simple Discipleship: How to Make Disciples in the 21st Century which was published and released by Church Smart Resources in November 2009. It is not a self-published book. To learn more about Simple Discipleship and to order the book, follow the link below:
Dr. Tom Cocklereece is CEO of RENOVA Coaching and Consulting, LLC
Author “Simple Discipleship,” contributing writer L2L Blogazine
He is a pastor, an author, professional coach, and leadership specialist
One way you can get out of your way is to name your gremlin. A gremlin in this sense is a self-defeating behavior that reappears in life, work, and relationships that prevents you from achieving a new level of success. Like in the movie by the same name, gremlins usually are latent and easy to live with until they are activated by external or internal factors, either past, present, or perceived future. Naming them can help you to be aware of your self-defeating behavior so you may make intentional decisions that are edifying and rewarding to all involved. The introductory article to this series is at http://renovacoaching.com/2010/10/05/get-out-of-your-way/ .
It is likely that you have known someone who has the gremlin named “Blamer,” that is, they seem to always blame somebody or something for their failure. They rarely accept responsibility for anything and even when they do, their statement usually includes some measure of blaming. If Blamer is your gremlin, you need to know two things: 1) you are sabotaging your success and relationships, and 2) your future opportunities will gradually diminish. If this is what you want out of life then keep Blamer as your pet and feed him well with criticism of others at every opportunity. On the other hand, if you desire to improve your relationships and increase future opportunities, always be aware of your latent blaming potential and critical spirit. Then,…stop,…accept responsibility,…and do your best with no excuses (another gremlin). You will enjoy improved relationships and more opportunities. However, you may need to get to the heart of the matter.
Blaming is often disguised as unhealthy guilt that has never been resolved. Remember that when you point to others there are three fingers pointing back to you—four if your thumb is double-jointed. Ask yourself several questions:
- Has there been a cataclysmic event in my life that provides me with an unending well of anger and resentment?
- Have others ever told you that you are always critical or blaming?
- Do you see accepting responsibility and admitting your failings a weakness?
- Do you repeatedly share blame stories with family and friends? You may find that it’s like a fish story in which the fault blamed on others get bigger with each telling.
I like what Rick Warren teaches in his well know book The Purpose-Driven Life: “Don’t get bitter but choose to get better.” Forgiveness of others and self is the remedy.
Links to the Gremlin series:
Dr. Tom Cocklereece
Hire me as your coach. I useGoToMeetingfor online distance sessions. Coaching sessions and our relationship is confidential but your success will be visible to all. Contact me for a complementary session at firstname.lastname@example.org .
After a long day I turned on an old movie on television only to hear a commercial break a few minutes later. The break went right to a ridiculous discussion between a “life coach” and her client. Of course the vignette was meant to be comical and entertaining; however there may be some who form their opinion of the coaching profession from such presentations.
According to the International Coach Federation, professional and life coaches earned $1.5 billion in 2009 and the figure will likely go up steadily. Of course we are not talking sports here but we are talking about organizational, team, and personal development. Indeed, some do not think highly of the coaching profession and I don’t blame them if their experience is limited to an entertainment segment intended to make fun of coaches and those who hire them. Many people are skeptical of hiring a coach because they are not sure what they do.
WHAT COACHING IS…AND IS NOT
For some, their idea of coaching is of a personal mentor like Mr. Miyagi in Karate Kid giving instructions, “Wax on…wax off.” For others, their idea is of a personal counselor who tells them just what they want to hear. Coaching, counseling, and mentoring certainly share some characteristics but there are distinctions.
- Coaching forms a co-active partnership that seeks to empower and equip the coachee to achieve greater competence and growth in areas they desire. The coachee is essentially healthy and able to work with the coach to partner and develop a plan for growth. In coaching, the coachee is able to co-actively establish goals for the process.
- Counseling usually involves some area of disorder, pathology, or dysfunction that essentially disables the counselee in one or more areas of life. The counselor tends to set the agenda and plan for counseling.
- Mentoring begins with a clear and set agenda for the mentee or protégé. The mentor tends to serve as a supervisor of the training by sort of looking over the shoulder of the protégé. (Simple Discipleship, 97-8), http://drthomreece.wordpress.com/2008/09/14/start-a-christian-coaching-ministry/
A competent coach brings great experience and knowledge of human relationships to bear within the collaborative relationship of the coachee. By great experience and knowledge of human relationships I do not mean the local beautician who transitioned to life coaching. Hearing many years of gossip does not train one to be a competent coach any more than watching many football games qualifies one to coach a NFL team.
There are several general coaching methodologies that are employed by a wide range of life, executive, and professional coaches: personal therapeutic coaching, personal performance coaching, organizational therapeutic coaching, organizational performance coaching, and renewal coaching whether personal or organizational. By the term “therapeutic” I do not suggest the medical definition but rather the meaning from the psychotherapy discipline that suggest “self awareness of behavior leading to improved personal growth and interpersonal relationships.” (http://www.reference.com/browse/psychotherapy?o=100074) Indeed, I am not suggesting that a professional coach is a psychotherapist but in order to demonstrate a reasonable level of competence, the coach must have an understanding of basic human behavior and relationships. (These examples are listed in Renewal Coaching by Reeves and Allison, 2009, pp. 14-17)
- Personal therapeutic coaching may tend to “tell the coachee what she wants to hear.” The focus of the coach is to help the coachee achieve their goals. Generally speaking, the coach resists challenging the goals established by the coachee. Don’t misunderstand, many coaches in this realm are able to help their clients achieve personal objectives and manage their time and relationships better.
- Personal performance coaching includes sales coaching to name one area where results of the coaching relationship are quantifiable through tracking past and future sales performance of the coachee.
- Organizational therapeutic coaching suffers from the same anomaly as its “personal” cousin—the coach tends to tell the organizational executive what they want to hear. Coaches in this realm provide short term benefit to organizations in conflict but they fail to address underlying organizational behavior problems that tend to repeat conflict. This example may be seen when big businesses go “off track” and executives lead their company to act irresponsibly. Most certainly CEOs and executives have advisors and coaches, but they may tend to be “yes men.”
- Organizational performance coaching is focused on quantifiable results and seeks to change the behavior of the organization in order to sustain improved results.
The problem with each of the listed examples is that each may provide short-term improvement and do not address the underlying foundation of behavior whether personal or organizational—values. This is where Renewal Coaching, also known as values-based coaching comes in. Don’t confuse renewal coaching or values-based coaching with evidence-based coaching. Each of numbers one through four listed above may include the evidence-based methodology that is unsustainable because foundational values remain unchanged.
RENOVA COACHING IS RENEWAL COACHING
I make it no secret that I am a Christian pastor possessing twenty years of experience dealing with human behavior and helping people change…not easy! The word “RENOVA” is a derivative of a French term “rénover” meaning “renovate” or “renewal” and is descriptive of my coaching methodology. Sustained change moves from the activator out to others in concentric circles as seen in the ripples after a small drop of water impacts the surface of a pond. Likewise, the relationship of the coach and coachee results in change activity reflected in concentric relationships for the greater good. I learned that for change to be sustainable values on which behavior is founded must change. You do what you value and you don’t do what you don’t value. The same is true of organizations whether profit or non-profit, secular or religious, private or government.
Renewal coaching seeks to form a co-active and collaborative relationship with the coachee to develop an “eyes wide open” plan for sustainable change and improvement. By “eyes wide open” I mean that the coaching relationship begins with mutual agreement on several points:
- The coach is expected to challenge values and behaviors of the coachee without the threat of retaliation of any kind.
- The co-active and collaboration activity within the relationship is expected to challenge and motivate the coachee to achieve the goals of the relationship.
- The coachee will strive to change self-defeating behaviors or circumventing the mutually agreed upon activities and goals of the coaching relationship.
- The relationship is founded on a mutual goal of improving personal and organizational performance and behavior for the greater good and not just for the coachee.
The above concepts are derived from my own work in Simple Discipleship and Reeves and Allison’s book Renewal Coaching.
When you hire a competent renewal coach, you are not hiring a yes man or an advisor who is going to tell you nice things to make you feel good. In contrast, a great coach will challenge your status quo and it takes a mutual partnership to overcome inertia. Please, don’t shoot the messenger. Many business executives, professionals, and politicians wish they had not.
Renewal Coaching: Sustainable CHANGE for Individuals and Organizations by Douglas B. Reeves and Elle Allison, Josey-Bass Publisers, 2009.
Simple Discipleship: How to Make Disciples in the 21st Century by Tom Cocklereece, Church Smart Resources, 2009.
Co-Active Coaching:New Skills for Coaching People Toward Success in Work and Life by Laura Whitworth, Karen Kimsey-House, Henry Kimsey-House, and Phillip Sandahl, Davies-Black Publishing, Mountain View, CA, 2007.
Dr. Tom Cocklereece
Hire me as your coach. I useGoToMeetingfor online distance sessions. Coaching sessions and our relationship is confidential but your success will be visible to all. Contact me for reasonable rates at email@example.com
Tim was a CEO of a large and growing medical clinic in a major metropolitan city. His clinic had recently expanded by opening more offices, added more doctors and personnel, replaced the software used throughout their offices, and begun a process of converting to electronic medical records (EMR). Tim had come to his present position from a series of positions with much smaller clinics. He had felt for some time that his present position had outpaced his personal growth and ability. The board of directors had adopted the present expansion and upgrade strategy at a time when the economy and projections were favorable, but then things changed. The economy turned south and much of the strategy was placed on hold or at least delayed. Jim heard comments that confirmed his concern that the board might lay the blame on his desk. He took a deep breath as he prepared to enter the board meeting. If he was terminated, where would he go, and how would it affect his career? If he were not terminated, what could he do?
The character named Tim in this article is fictitious and is meant as an illustration but he is typical of many of the readers of this blog. Gone are the days when one’s education provides all that a leader needs for a whole career. In fact, those days never really existed but it was our perception. It is true however that life and work once moved much more slowly allowing leaders to adjust gradually or maintain their level of performance. The job market was not nearly as competitive as it is today. If Tim survived the board meeting what do you think he should do? I would suggest three things he should have done the moment he felt that his position was stretching his abilities— optimize, organize, and onboard.
OPTIMIZE: EXCEPTIONAL LEADERS DEVELOP A PLAN
Optimize means “to make something function at its best (Encarta). Tim may be able to kick his performance up by up to 10% by improving his efficiency but probably not much more without some help. It is easy to suggest that one optimize but you don’t know what you don’t know. That’s why we need a coach…in this case an executive coach. A good coach would set Tim on a renewal plan that takes advantage of his current abilities and develops a process of continued development. Renewal coaching will motivate Tim to dig deeper and achieve higher and raise his performance level by at least 30%. When coaching is done correctly an individual may be tempted to believe that they could have achieved the new level without a coach. A good coach does not seek the credit or attention and makes the coachee feel that they “had it in them all the time.” Consider that the national champions of last year could not have achieved their success without their coach even though everything the coach engaged and empowered in the team was there all the time. A coach is the catalyst that optimizes all the ingredients that go into success.
ORGANIZE: EXCEPTIONAL LEADERSHIP DEMANDS LIFE BALANCE
Indeed, an executive coach is going to encourage Tim to organize…his life, resources, and habits. This also means to prioritize every area of life. It is essential to recognize that to achieve optimal efficiency, it is also necessary to organize and maintain balance in various life dimensions. Again, a coach can help Tim achieve balance in life, family, and career. These life domains would not disappear in a perfect world but balance would be easier to maintain. Life balance requires a disciplined application of four things—clarity, movement, alignment, and focus (Simple Life,Rainer and Rainer, 2009), and a coach can help you define and refine your process to organize.
ONBOARD: EXCEPTIONAL LEADERS GET AHEAD
Getting even with supers, peers, and reports on a professional and performance level is not enough. Exceptional leadership requires that you get ahead. Many modern executives are familiar with the concept of onboarding. While human resources executives refer to onboarding as an orientation process, professional coaches describe it as a process of accelerated development. A coach would work with Tim to develop an onboarding process that would get him up to speed with all of the current objectives included within the business plan of his organization. Certainly, Tim is able to acquire the information needed regarding EMR, but his coach would hold him accountable to his onboarding plan. Included in a great onboarding plan are intentional relational connections within the organization up, down, and laterally to strengthen and broaden Tim’s relational capital. Thus, he is onboarding both personal knowledge and collaborative knowledge within his organization. Developing the 360 degree relationships within the organization will greatly strengthen Tim’s position with the board, doctors, peers, and reports.
The benefits of optimizing, organizing, and onboarding should not be underestimated. If you have reached a plateau in your organization or you are beginning in a new position, consider hiring a coach before the board meeting next quarter. You may be amazed at the results.
Looking to your success,
Dr. Tom Cocklereece
Hire me as your coach. I use GoToMeeting for online distance sessions. Coaching sessions and our relationship is confidential but your success will be visible to all. Contact me for reasonable rates at firstname.lastname@example.org