What is a Professional Coach?

A professional, certified coach is someone who has been trained, assessed, coached and credentialed for coaching individuals and organizations for greater potential and performance.  I am an Associate Certified Coach (ACC) through the International Coach Federation, which is an international credentialing and resource organization for professional coaches around the world.  With these credentials, I met the standards of training, being mentor coached, passing an assessment and regular accountability with this association.  I also must uphold an ICF Code of Ethics as a member of this association.

Coaches are not counselors who focus solely on growth areas which need to be addressed. Coaches are also not consultants who offer expertise or advice as an expert.  Coaches walk alongside with us, ask powerful questions, listen deeply, and help us maximize our strengths for greater potential and performance.  I work with individuals as a life or professional coach.  I also work with nonprofit organizations and congregations.  In that wonderful work, you set the agenda and discover your own truths.  I’m here to help you with it!

Coaching has so many benefits!   You can click here for many FAQ’s about starting up a coaching relationship.  Typically, individual coaching is 30-45 minutes twice a month.  Group coaching is determined and designed around objectives and outcomes.  I can tell you more about pricing and contracts after a consultation and free session to experience coaching.  It’s all about the relationship and the resources.  Let’s start first with hearing from you!

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Season of “YES!”

“What will you do then?” was the question my Bishop asked when I said that, after thirty years of parish ministry, I was not interested in another appointment.  For at least six years before that conversation, I had an unsettling call from the “knowns” of parish life, parsonages, board meetings and preaching that I had enjoyed as a first-career clergywoman.  I had always wanted to teach and, while I found many opportunities in the parish to enjoy the teaching office, I was discerning a call to do that in a new setting.  With research and scholars.  With undergraduate and graduate students.  I was being called to retool my ministry to go out into the world; specifically, the world of higher education.

So I set off on a completely new journey.  A sabbatical.  Not one, not two, but three years.  That wasn’t the plan, but that’s how this time of retooling has unfolded.  It has been a time of reflection, healing, and resting.  It has also been an exhilarating time of new relationships, weekends with my family, and retooling a career of leadership, administration and ministry for opportunities to influence and shape new generations of scholars.  Over these years, I’ve worked on a doctorate in educational leadership and been certified as a professional coach.  In so many ways, my local church ministry has prepared me for this time to make the world my parish.

I’ve learned so much in what I call this season of “YES!”  After working so hard over thirty years of parish ministry to learn how to say “No” for the purposes of delegation and time management, I’m practicing saying yes to new encounters and learning experiences.  Here are just a few of my learnings in this season of “YES!”

  • Set goals.

Making a transition from the known into the unknown causes you to lay aside old markers of progress that formerly helped you to measure success and growth.  To retool for a new season of ministry, I had to leave old markers like the formality of appointments, charge conferences, and data reports to the informal feedback from the morning sermons or phone call about a decision I made.  I didn’t realize how these markers of progress were circadian rhythms that had shaped not only my professional life, but also my physical, spiritual and relational life as well.  Setting new goals with the help of a coach created new measures of movement and assured that the time didn’t feel wasted or unconstructive.

  • Prepare financially.

I wish I had done this better prior to moving into this season of retooling.  However, I quickly saw myself exercising my fund development gifts that I had cultivated as a parish pastor.  Only now, the vision was my own and the funds developed were for pursuing a terminal doctoral degree along with my living expenses.  The process of fund development including scholarships, fellowships, grants and loans provided me with an opportunity to hone my vision and practice articulating it to others.

  • Rest.

I had not realized what a 24/7 demand parish ministry had on me physically and emotionally.  As a clergywoman and single mother, my schedule revolved around the rhythms of church and young children.  I had to newly discover what my schedule was while cultivating new patterns of play, recreation, rest, and relating with others.

  • Be open to new communities.

Parish ministry is instant community….just add (baptismal) water.  That instant community can bring safety, security, and most certainly, identity.  I had to learn how to “date” new friends from new communities and become vulnerable when my identity was no longer “Rev.”  It took risks and vulnerability to enter new communities-I instantly learned why it’s so hard for newcomers to come into the church.

  • Be aware of the undertow of familiarity.

Just like the Hebrew people complained during the Exodus that the familiarity of making bricks in Egypt was better than the unknown of the wilderness, there is a great undertow that will try to draw us back into where we’ve been.  This was especially significant during the seasons of Advent and Lent and clergy moving time.  I quickly discovered that every institution has its calendared rhythms, and it has been gratifying to learn about those and find myself living those new patterns.  Having covenant partners who have made these transitions in their past helps me navigate the undertows, and gives me strength to stand when the waters of the familiar tug at my feet and heart.

Shortly after announcing my call to retool my call to ministry, my 90-year old grandmother asked me, “What are you now?”   She had been instrumental in encouraging my youthful call to ministry and beamed every time she introduced me to her friends as, “my granddaughter, THE United Methodist pastor.” She wasn’t the only one who asked that question, though.  My daughters had never known a time when their mother wasn’t their pastor.  Most of my adult friends always knew that I’d be at home on a Saturday night polishing up a sermon, instead of going out with the gang.  How liberating it has been to shift the question from “What are you now?” to “Who are you becoming?”  That answer hasn’t changed.  I’m still answering my call to ministry for Jesus Christ, just in a new place, and in new wonderful ways.

For Seasons

I’m a cellist.  I am drawn to the experience of making music with an orchestra who depends on the talents and investments of each musician to create a moving symphony.  I love the labor that goes into rehearsals and the necessary fine tuning of instruments and the individual sections for the very best performance.  I watch the talent of the conductor, keeping time and motivating the orchestra to its very best potential.  I delight in providing the bass line of a melody or harmony, as though providing a foundation on which the rest of the music dances and moves.

One of my favorite orchestral pieces is Antonio Vivaldi’s The Four Seasons.  Though written in 1720, it is by far his most famous composition and has been used widely throughout history as the backdrop of films, contemporary music and other art forms.  The familiar melodies resonate with the four seasons of creation which root us in the familiar and anticipated seasons of own lives.

This blog and website is intended to be a place where I share my own seasons of life and leadership with the bass foundation of Christian theology and our mutual call to be stewards of one another and of creation.  It is also a place where I can offer my services for coaching and leadership education out of those experiences and formal education in organizations, coaching and individual growth.  Join me on the journey for the seasons of your life and leadership!  The harmonies we share will be a pleasing offering to God and a new song for others to hear!