Tending to Our Souls as Christian Coaches

Our family has recently gone through a difficult time as we watched my father endure quadruple bypass surgery. It was his fifth or sixth surgery in as many years. As is often the case when families come together in times of crisis, unresolved issues among family members surfaced, leaving me weary and drained. The experience affected not only me but my clients as well.

Without going into detail, let’s just say I walked away from that experience acutely aware I needed to process my experience at a deeper level. So, I approached it as I always do in situations like these. I sought the Lord through His Word and Spirit, which most times, is sufficient.

So, after an intimate time with the Lord, I felt ready to meet with my first coaching client of the day. Only it didn’t go well. I was off my game, and I wasn’t sure why. It just didn’t make sense—at least not at that moment.

I spent the next two days limping along, until a conversation with a colleague brought to light an issued I needed to address. During our conversation, she suggested I needed to further process the experience not only with the Lord but with a friend to get to the root of what was really bothering me.

Tending to Our Souls Impacts Our Clients

She was right. I could not serve others well until I tended to my soul. And part of that tending included processing my experience out loud and reframing the issues at hand–for my sake and the sake of my clients.

The truth is to whom much has been given, much is required.

The nature of our work is such that our influence extends beyond our immediate circle of acquaintances, into the lives of others, their families, and their sphere of influence. That’s a weighty responsibility, one for which we will give an account.

Simply put, the health of our souls matter.

So what makes a soul healthy? According to  Mindy Caliguire, founder of SoulCare.com, a publishing and ministry dedicated to helping people restore health to their souls says, “A soul is healthy to the extent that it experiences a strong connection to and receptivity to God. . . Our soul’s health drives everything that matters to us. In the end, everything about your life, your person-hood, is in some way a function of your soul.”

In other words, our soul’s health spills out into the lives of our client through our coaching conversations. If our soul lacks health, our coaching probably lacks impact.

Soul Care Requires an Investment of Time and Resources

The reality is simply this. Despite our best efforts and our commitment to daily time spent in God’s presence, issues sometimes arise in our lives that require connecting with and experiencing God through community. Sometimes it’s a matter of healing and we should seek professional health from a mental health practitioner, and at other times, a deep conversation with a friend or processing our interior life with a coach is enough.

Dallas Willard, author of Renovation of the Heart, said this:

Our soul is like an inner stream of water, which gives strength, direction, and harmony to every other element of our life. When that stream is as it should be, we are constantly refreshed and exuberant in all we do, because our soul itself is profusely rooted in the vastness of God and his kingdom, including nature; and all else within us is enlivened and directed by that stream.

Coaching that transforms the lives of others flows from a healthy soul. Coaching that breathes life into others comes from a soul teeming with life.

Our spirituality is meant to encompass all of life. We experience God in not only prayer and Bible reading, but also the beauty of the sunset and the laughter of a child.

God reminded me of this truth this past week as my husband and I drove to upstate New York to pick up our new puppy. Nearly everything about the trip satisfied my soul — the beauty of the Catskill Mountains, the artful presentation of the food at the restaurant that we stopped at along the way, the breeder whom we met for the first time yet somehow felt like a long-lost friend. Not to mention the smell of puppy breath, coupled with puppy kisses.

Yes, the Word and prayer water my soul, but I need other things to thrive as well: time spent breaking bread with loved ones, enjoying nature in all its glory and splendor, and living in the present, mindful of beauty and opportunities as they arise moment by moment.

Today is my first day back at work after a week spent basking in the beauty of God’s creation and the things that feed my soul.

This morning, I met with my first coaching of client of the day. Our conversation was as rich and full as my heart and soul. I had tended to my soul and it showed.

What about you? Is it well with your soul?

By | 2014-08-05T10:00:21+00:00 August 4th, 2014|Categories: Articles, Soul Care|Tags: , , |0 Comments

About the Author:

Mary Yerkes, CPLC, CSD helps church and marketplace leaders live and lead from the inside out. Mary is also a Certified Spiritual Director, working with leaders around the world in the areas of spiritual formation, soul care, and emotionally healthy spirituality. Mary’s writes regularly on these topics and more for such popular print and online publications as Gifted for Leadership, Conversations Journal: A Forum for Authentic Transformation, Christian Coaching Magazine, and Focus on the Family to name a few. Visit www.maryyerkescoaching.com, www.conversationsthattransform.org, or www.maryyerkes.com to learn more.