Coaching: then and now

This memory popped up on my Facebook feed last week:

Five years ago I was just starting out as a coach. I hadn’t planned on this path, though I’d thought I might pursue training somewhere down the line. But in 2013 the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship wanted to prepare twenty or so ministers to work with congregations – and more specifically, their pastors – in the new Dawnings visioning process, and I couldn’t pass up that kind of professional development opportunity.

At first I coached because it fit my interests and my vocational circumstances. I had personally benefitted from being coached. I am endlessly curious, to the point that my husband gets irritated by all my questions. I love resourcing and encouraging fellow clergy. And I could see immediate use for my new skills in my congregational ministry setting.

It wasn’t long, however, before I began to think bigger. The training CBF paid for put me halfway toward the number of hours I needed for an International Coach Federation credential, and it seemed like a no-brainer to take that additional step. An appointment change seemed imminent for my United Methodist clergy spouse, so I needed to make my ministry portable. My son was young, and I wanted control of my schedule so that I could spend as much time with him as possible. And I relished hearing pastors understand themselves and their circumstances better, find hope in the midst of trouble, and strategize ways to meet goals and overcome challenges. So in the summer of 2015, coaching became my primary means of fulfilling my call.

Since then I have added to my coaching by publishing resources, leading retreats and workshops, posting weekly reflection prompts, and continuing to seek out professional development outlets for myself. I find joy in each of these ministry manifestations, and I am more excited to come to work every day than I ever have been.

Now, five years in and going strong, I would like to pause and express gratitude for my coaching mentors, all the clients I have worked with, and every person who has read my blog, downloaded one of my resources, or participated in a learning space I facilitated. Your trust in me and your willingness to teach me through your creativity and courage mean more than I can express. Here’s to another five years of growing in ministry together!

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