The Essence of Life Coaching
It usually kicks in somewhere around the second or third session. I will have asked a question, and the person sitting across from me will get this look on their face. Sometimes their eyes well up with tears. Sometimes they shake their heads and smile. Regardless, it is always an awakening to something they’ve finally understood, and from that point on, their lives begin to change.
Over the past seventeen years, I have met with and counseled over three thousand people regarding every kind of question and every kind of crisis imaginable, but rarely have I ever seen the kinds of reactions I am observing with just about everyone these days. Not only are they experiencing these “A-ha” moments, they are actually doing something about them. They are taking action and changing their lives in a positive way.
The difference has been in the way I interact with them. I no longer counsel or mentor or advise them on what they need to know or do. I simply ask them questions. This method is known as life coaching. I was introduced to it a little over a year ago, and after being life-coached myself and going through some training, I am able to apply what I’ve learned to help others. In fact, I am seeing more change after a few life-coaching sessions than I’ve ever seen with any other form of counseling, instruction, or mentoring.
I have spent much of the last ten years trying to help those who are either currently or formerly incarcerated. A part of this interest is motivated by compassion: compassion for the victims, compassion for the families of both the victims and the perpetrators, and even compassion for the perpetrators themselves as I learn how drugs, alcohol, and abuse have been a part of their molding from a very early age.
Yes, these are grown adults. Yes, they have brought many of their troubles upon themselves because of their poor decisions. Yes, they are often selfish, stubborn, and rebellious. And yes, they need to grow up and take responsibility for their actions and get serious about life. But they also need help. Now that I’ve seen what takes place from both the inside and outside of our penal system, I am convinced there is little these institutions can do to change the futures of these men and women. The courts are jammed. The prisons are overflowing, and the parole and probation departments are overwhelmed.
In the early stages of this ministry, I many times felt like I was wasting my time. Yet, I was under a mandate from God to keep trying, and now, after a little over ten years, I see things differently. I’ve made adjustments. The biggest has been embracing the reality that nobody will change until they want to change. Those are the people we focus on. For those who make that decision, we offer hope, a plan, and a method.
The hope we offer is Jesus Christ, and the plan is the one He has for their lives. The method is good old-fashioned discipleship. I know it sounds simple, and it is. But it’s not easy.
It all begins with a connection between them and us. Most of the time our initial connection is through my book Plain Vanilla Wrapper. They read my story and want to know more about God and our ministry. From there we introduce them to the Lessons for Life Correspondence Course. This course helps them grow spiritually while they are incarcerated and helps prepare them for their release back into society. Then, once they are released, we offer them life coaching. This latest tool is proving to be the most effective means to help them get understanding and clarity about God’s plans and how to accomplish them.
John 16:13 (NLT)
When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all truth…
Galatians 5:16 (NLT)
So I say, let the Holy Spirit guide your lives…
Through life coaching they are experiencing what it means to be led by the Holy Spirit and are taking action that is producing real transformation. Because of what I have seen firsthand over the past few months, I am absolutely convinced that by adding life coaching to our program, we can help anyone who sincerely wants to change and dramatically reduce the time necessary for that change.