Friday, July 10, 2015

If a tree falls...?

I am currently traveling in Virginia. Our son is having several dead trees on his property removed and while my son and my husband are off playing golf,  I am watching the guys who are cutting the trees down. One guy had angel wings on the t-shirt he was wearing and that made me a bit nervous. (I wasn't sure if he was hoping to go to heaven soon!). As I watched the trees fall (and made sure they weren't falling on the "lumberjacks"), the philosophical question about "trees" popped into my mind. I definitely heard the trees as they fell. And it made me think about coaching.

If you never try coaching, how will you ever know if it works?

According to the work of philosopher George Berkeley in 1710, "the objects of sense exist only when they are perceived". Although Mr. Berkeley never actually wrote about the tree question, several years later a similar question was posed in The Chatauquan in June 1883, "If a tree where to fall on an island where there were no human beings would the be any sound?". All this is based on Wikipedia so I decided to see what they have to say about "coaching".

Or better yet, how does the International Coaching Federation (ICF) define "coaching"? Their definition is "...partnering with clients in a thought-provoking and creative process that inspires them to maximize their personal and professional potential...".

To encourage you to use a coach, I am providing a simple curriculum on my website as a free sample of coaching principles. Currently I have only posted two of the 4 or 5 lessons (since I haven't finished, I am not sure how many lessons there will actually be). The lessons are particularly designed to help churches and church ministry teams. The principles can be applied to any goal setting situations and opportunities.

Check out the downloads at Together everybody accomplishes more. Let me know what you liked best.

Friday, May 29, 2015

A Wedding on Easter Sunday

It all began with a wedding on Easter Sunday. Coaching has traditionally been associated with sports. Every top athlete has a coach. I decided to hire a coach for 3 months to get me through a difficult time I was having with my job. My job was at a church. Church budgets tend to have limited budgets for continuing education, so I used my personal resources and hired a coach to strengthen my performance.

The coach I hired was someone I met when I owned a beautiful Bed and Breakfast called "The Browning Plantation" in Chappell Hill, Texas. (It is now a private home). Both my husband and I were working full time and had a manager who helped run the B&B, which was also our residence. The man who eventually became my coach, who I had never met at that time, wanted to get married on Easter Sunday.

Easter Sunday at many churches tends to be a "more than usual" busy time. The whole week prior to Easter Sunday involves additional worship services and activities (choir rehearsals, egg hunts, etc.). I would be waking up on Easter morning around 4 a.m. so I could be at the church at 6 a.m. for the Easter Sunrise service that started at 6:30. I would be heading back home around 1 or 1:30 in the afternoon. Upon arriving I would be ready for a little nap - not a wedding.

I said absolutely not. Besides wanting to rest, I didn't think that I could convince my normal staff to be away from their families on Easter Sunday. Also the caterers we used would more than likely want to be with their families. Besides, "Why Easter Sunday?", I asked (sure that I would get an answer about the specific date being the reason). "Easter falls on a different day every year", I continued. To which my inquirer answered, "I met my wife-to-be on Easter Sunday, so we want to exchange our vows on Easter Sunday - and we want it to be at the Browning."

After several ways of trying to turn down the business, I finally gave in. We needed the business, and he was determined and convincing (money talks). Oh, by the way, did I mention the name of his business was "The Wealth Source"? 
I rented a hotel room close to the church and took a nap there before going home. When I arrived back at the house, the caterers were packing up and leaving, the guests were gone, and the wedding had taken place. That was the beginning of my coaching adventure. A few years later, the man who arranged everything for the wedding became my coach.

Coaching changed the way I look at life. Coaching changed the way I approached ministry. Celebrations, concerns, action items, and priorities were shared with my ministry teams and team leaders on a weekly basis. I took certification training to become a coach.  

I discovered that coaching involves unleashing the personal power of each person to discover their own solutions by providing support, accountability, and unconditional positive regard. Coaching was so much more effective than managing. Intuitive listening and powerful questions lead to more ministry in less time.

Through TEAM Ministries I want to offer 4 FREE coaching lessons. These will be lessons you can do on your own or with your ministry team(s). The four lessons will cover the topics of "Powerful Questions", "Goals and Values", "Beliefs", and "Perspectives". In each lesson there will be an opportunity to practice the skill you have just learned. Ask anyone who has attended a conference or a class where they learned amazing approaches to ministry, but never actually did anything with what they learned. Doing something after you learned it takes a more intensive approach than just learning something.

Since all this may be new to you, I will be available to answer any questions you may have about coaching by phone. My goal is to develop a coaching package that more churches can afford so that more ministry can happen with less frustration and more joy. Accountability is key to coaching. Another key is heart.
Coaching is a discipline that comes from the heart - a heart that believes in people.

Christians are Easter people. Every morning is Easter morning when you examine your options, discover your creativity, and live your life with meaning and joy. Some options may not be of your choosing. Good Friday didn't seem like such a good choice for Jesus. Easter morning lead to a whole new world.

Look for lesson 1, Powerful Questions, next week. I will be developing them weekly so this process will be good practice for me too. My prayer is that our learning together will create synergy. Your input and suggestions will be valuable as the adventure to create this tool for churches begins. Let's reach for the best and make a difference we were born to make.

Coaching works for individuals (like me) as well as ministry teams. You may choose to practice these skills yourself this summer, and then introduce them to your teams in preparation for the fall. Learning to coach will help you grow, fulfill your destiny, and exceed your own expectations. I believe in it - and I believe in you! 

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Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Digging for Depth

Just when I think I am getting ahead by finally posting my blog, I forget to hit the "save" button and lose all that I started working on! (SAVE)

With all the sources of communication which include my 3 email accounts, Facebook, (and the stack of books I have ordered from them already and are waiting to be read), and the three blogs I try to "follow" - I find it very easy to procrastinate. (SAVE)

I also find that pictures intrigue me so I must start working on my photography - and then I find out from a fellow blogger that I must "watermark" my own photos and make sure that any photos that I use that I find on the internet may be ones that I need to pay for. So many steps that I am sure I can climb - it just takes patience and determining priorities.

I just sat down with my "daily" journal today and noticed the last time I posted about my life was 3 weeks ago (oops...SAVE).

I remember when people used to complain about "junk" mail that arrived in the snail mail box and the time it took going through it. I see things I want to read, I just don't get to them. And I have unsubscribed and unsubscribed from things I don't think I ever subscribed to. At least I didn't mean to, but that is probably because I didn't read the thing I "Agreed" to. (SAVE).

I hear now that people hire ghost writers to write their blogs! I think I need to hire a ghost reader to let me know which blogs that I receive that I actually need to read. They all seem important enough for me to subscribe to them. Then all I seem to have time to do is delete them. (SAVE)

If I looked further into this program I am using now I could probably find that there is an automatic save feature, but now I need to go check my email and Facebook because I haven't done that yet today. (Save)

I will be posting more often and digging deeper into sharing my insights and things I have learned. I do have thoughts that will mean something to someone - if they have time to read them. (Save)

Love the time you have today and use it well. And if you want a fun visual to inspire you, check into "The Crew at StoryPeople". They make me smile.

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Faith Club

Met with my "outside the church" book club today. The book for this month was The Faith Club by Ranya Idibly, Suzanne Oliver, and Priscilla Warner. It was written after September 11 by 3 mothers who got together for the purpose of writing a book for children about the connections between Judaism, Christianity, and Judaism. I hadn't finished reading the book because I kept going back and re-reading parts because I would get confused about who was writing, so I don't know if the Children's book was ever written. I just checked on Amazon and didn't see one mentioned.

What was fascinating was the discussion at our table regarding the different rules of different religions, even the different rules within Christian religions - and the logic behind the differences and the rules. There was a lot of pain regarding rules that separated families from their church affiliation. All of us were Christian. And being a person who listens to other table conversations, I wondered if other people were listening to us.

I enjoy being around smart women, especially smart women who read books of all kinds and can discuss them openly. What became even more evident in our discussion is how religion divides people. Religion brings people together in big and important ways, but our beliefs carry a passion that can be difficult to open up and discuss. After all - who is the authority?

As always, I choose to err on the side of love and understanding. The more we can talk to each other, the more we understand.

I am thankful for my faith background. Our next couple of books will not be on religion. Probably a good thing.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

"How to Grow Your Business - What You Need to Know and What You Need to Do"

Went to a Houston Coaches meeting last night and hear Karen McCullough speak on the topic in the title of this blog. I have been buying and reading so many books to help with Directive Coaching with the Texas Conference that I have neglected my individual coaching. Time to renew my determination to blog, post, tweet, and web crawl. Here is Karen's amazing website:
She is a high energy, highly motivating speaker.

Today I am preparing to give a talk for the United Methodist Women at the church I attend on the book "How Is It With You Soul?" (on Wednesday, March 11). My soul seems to be on hyperspeed with social media requirements in this new day and age. The titles of the sections of this study are Pray, Learn, Mentor, and Transform. I have spent a lot of time "learning". Now it is time to "pray"!

Friday, November 14, 2014

Shopping with Joel

This is my grandson on a shopping trip. It looks to me like he is checking out the basket and wondering "What's in the basket for me?" (Actually I think he is just grinding his new teeth and wondering if he will be able to chew on what's in the basket!)

The interesting thing about traveling with a baby is it is almost impossible to travel "light". We are planning to go to Florida to meet up with Joel and his parents and I have been struggling with what to take for him to play with and what I need to just send to their home in Virginia for Christmas. I am sure his mom and dad don't need anything extra to carry home. Maybe I will just take it on the trip and then take it back home and send it.

I also have a hard time deciding which books to take with me on the trip. What are you reading that you would recommend?

Friday, March 22, 2013

Traveling Light is now a CD!

I haven't posted in almost a whole year, so I decided to look up Traveling Light and found it is a fairly common name used by other people for other things. Not unique. Bummer. However - I also found to my joy - that Sara Groves and another guy have created a CD called Traveling Light that is about the 23rd Psalm. I am ordering it today! It may be old, but I found one song on YouTube. Here is the link:
I am working on a retreat for a women's ministry in Kerrville and using the book "Wasting Time With God" by Claus Kissler. Friendship is the section I am reading now. I value my friends. Keep in touch.