Sometimes people ask me what I do as a chaplain. I have a long list of answers but I have recently decided on a new one, “Life Coaching”. Sounds impressive, but it is really very simple, I help people get their lives sorted out and clarify where they are going. Well, it sounded simple till I tried to work out HOW I did that! I suppose it comes down to helping people talk about who they are and what they want out of life. Here are some of the basic life coaching questions I have asked myself under the following headings:
1. Character! Who am I? What are my core values? If you can’t answer that then you are unsure of what you actually believe, and have no standard to assess your progress.
2. Clear direction! Do I know where I am going? Have I clear goals? You need to have both short term and long term goals, and they need to be written down with an expected completion date.
3. Commitment! Have I calculated the cost of achieving those goals? Am, I prepared to see it through to the conclusion even when it gets hard? To achieve those goals you need total commitment not just wishful thinking.
4. Capability! Do I have the skills I need to achieve my goals or are there some skills I need to learn? Am I teachable? We all need to keep learning, growing and developing if we are going to reach our full potential.
5. Creativity! Have I got too close to the obstacles that I cannot see beyond them? Maybe you need some time out, to get away and grasp the big picture again. Often in the process you will see some new answers to old problems.
6. Compassion! Have I become too inward looking and think that I am the only person with problems? Take some time to be thankful for all that you do have and see what you can do to help other strugglers on the road.
7. Courage! Do I have the physical, mental and spiritual courage to take risks and do what I know is right? To go forward you need to move beyond your comfort zone, but you need to be sure that you are not betraying your values in the process.
8. Care! Am I following through on the self-care that I need in physical, mental and spiritual terms? The fact is you cannot be your best and achieve your dreams if you are not realistic about your own needs. You cannot care for others if you are not also caring for yourself.
9. Cooperation! Have I adopted a scarcity mentality or an abundance mentality? There are many others on the journey, they are not competitors for just one prize, if we cooperate we can achieve win/win situations.
10. Communication! Am I sharing my hopes and dreams with those close to me? Effective communication is the way to get help and support. Share your passion for where you are going because there will be days when you need a word of encouragement to keep going.
Are you prepared to honestly ask yourself some of those? This is your life, it is not a dress rehearsal, so if you need some coaching I hope these questions are a helpful beginning, but often the key to success is accountability! Find somebody you trust who will keep you on track.
Chaplain Ian S Whitley