Most days I start my morning with breakfast on the patio. We live in an unusual location in So Cal. Unusual in that we have an unobstructed view of a hill vs. a neighbor peering over our backyard. If you have been to this part of the world you appreciate how special this “open space” is compared to other parts of the country. I enjoy getting out before the sun rises to drink-in the cool, morning breeze and reflect on the day ahead.
I’ve been asked by a couple of people lately who have wondered about the self-care/”soul-care” of a coach. This first came out in India while training leaders in the coaching process who were learning how to catalyze disciple-making movements. A young woman asked me: “What do you do to take care of yourself?” At first, I reflected that I’m not sure I do a good job at this. I’m like most people who stay busy. Slowing down is a discipline that I’ve yet to master. But then I thought a bit more and this is what I discovered about myself.
Most mornings over the last 25+ years I’ve gotten my body out the door to exercise e.g. go to the gym, run, mountain-bike, swim or walk. The majority of those times were on my own except when I ran with the trails with buddies in Phoenix, mountain-bike with my wife or more recently, enjoy a Friday morning walk with my two brothers. During that early morning routine the Lord settles my soul for the day ahead. I listen to the Holy Spirit, discern his leading on various topics He brings to my attention and prepare my soul for the day ahead. Periodically I journal and take a more structured approach but the physical outlet of exercise has been my mainstay.
Listening and discerning what the Holy Spirit is saying, is the most critical skill in coaching (in the research I conducted with Bob Logan & Chuck Ridley we call it “Abiding in Christ” – see Developing Coaching Excellence). In fact, you can do the other eight competencies of coaching and be a very good coach; but you will never be a world-class coach without mastering this skill, based on my experience assessing and training coaches.
The challenge for you is to discover the best practice given your personality. For me, integrating physical activity and listening to God works. But for you, it may be a quiet corner at the local Starbucks. And others, it might be in the midst of serving the poor and disenfranchised. Enjoying nature is another God-given conduit to connect with Him.
What practices work for you?
I invite your feedback and would love to hear your thoughts below.