FAQ: What is Coaching?

TERRY: Really, in a "nutshell", coaching assumes that YOU, the client, are inventive, effective, resourceful, and ripped. And that moving to the next level in work and life can be facilitated by powerful questions, an unbiased ear, and accountability. I would like to provide you with these three things through phone coaching in the areas of leadership development, clergy coaching, or spiritual coaching.

FAQ: Is Coaching the Same as Pastoral Counseling or Therapy?

TERRY:  Sometimes I find that my own language, "QuickSpeak," is all the answer a person really wants. I describe counseling or therapy as "diagnostic"--focusing on past events and looking there for answers to present questions. Coaching is "strategic"--future-focussed and seeking goals to accomplish the next promotion, level, life change. If you seek a more complete answer...read on!

Personal and business coaches are trained to help people learn new skills and make significant behavior changes. I am here to offer my skills in the areas of communication, problem-solving, and behavior change. I do this through a service called "coaching", in which you come to me as a whole and healthy person, seeking help in making decisions and implementing them, in order to achieve goals that you decide for yourself.

 In addition to being a Coach, I am also an ordained pastor with training and experience in helping people work through emotional and spiritual problems, often by focusing on behaviors of the past. Although there are some similarities between coaching and pastoral counseling, I will not conduct pastoral counseling with my coaching clients. These are different activities, and it is important that you understand the differences between them. Although both coaching and pastoral counseling use knowledge of human behavior, motivation, behavioral change, and interactive techniques, there are major differences in the goals, focus, and level of professional responsibility.

As YOUR Coach, my job is to help YOU take information and skills that YOU already have to

  1. Make decisions about which changes YOU would like to make (this includes any goals discussed in the complimentary coaching call)
  2. Develop a personal "action plan" in order for YOU to move forward with those changes
  3. Implement YOUR action plan to and make the behavioral changes and
  4. Develop strategies to maintain the changes YOU have made. I will support, encourage, teach, and help you stay "on track" toward YOUR goals.

You, as the Client, set the agenda for your coaching, and your success will depend on your willingness to define and take risks and try new approaches. You can expect your Coach to be honest and direct, asking straightforward questions and using challenging techniques to help you move forward. You are expected to evaluate your own progress, and if the coaching is not working as you wish, you should immediately inform your Coach so we can both take steps to correct the problem. Like any human endeavor, coaching can involve feelings of distress and frustration which accompany the process of change. Coaching does not offer any guarantee of success.

Pastoral counseling, in addition to providing deep spiritual guidance to the counselee, also seeks to understand underlying personality dynamics which have created dysfunctional behaviors that interfere with the counselee’s life and help the counselee develop more sane and healthy coping mechanisms.

Pastoral counselees are often emotionally vulnerable. This vulnerability increases with the expectation that they will discuss very intimate personal information and will expose feelings about themselves that they are understandably sensitive about, especially in the context of deliverance. The past life experiences of these counselees have often made trust difficult to achieve. These factors may give pastoral counselors greatly disproportionate power in the eyes of their counselees that creates a responsibility for the pastor to protect the safety of their counselees. The coaching relationship is designed to avoid this power differential.

Because of these differences, the roles of Coach and Pastoral Counselor are often in potential conflict. Therefore, I believe that it is ethically inappropriate, under most circumstances, for me to play both roles with a coaching client. If I am your Coach, I cannot be your Pastoral Counselor. This means that, if either of us recognizes that you have a problem that would benefit from pastoral counseling or some other form of therapy, I will refer or direct you to appropriate resources. In some situations, I may request that you enter some form of counseling or therapy and that I have access to your counselor, as a condition of my continuing as your Coach.

It is also important to understand that coaching is a professional relationship. While it may feel at times like a close personal relationship, it is not one that can extend beyond professional boundaries, either during or after our work together. Considerable experience shows that when boundaries blur, the hard-won benefits gained from the coaching relationship are endangered.