In Pursuit of Spiritual Gifts!

plush-design-studio-f94JPVrDbnY-unsplash

We are all born with innate talents such as athletic ability or intelligence; however, God has also placed within each of us His spiritual gifts that we are able to leverage for Kingdom purposes. Examples of spiritual gifts include administration, artistic (music and art), evangelism, encouragement, leadership, hospitality, and serving to name only a few. When we choose to move strongly into our gifting, these talents grow, multiply, and become towering strengths, especially when used for God’s ministry.

Have you identified your top three spiritual gifts? My top three gifts are writing, leadership, and administration. Although I was not a Christian as a young adult and did not take the Spiritual Gifts Inventory until I was in my late 40’s, these gifts were available to me to some extent. Since I have chosen to use them for Kingdom purpose, I have seen them grow and have specific impact. I believe if you are not living out your top three spiritual gifts on a daily basis, you are not only cheating God but also yourself.  You were made for a purpose, and your spiritual gifts are your tools to move deeply into that fulfilling life calling.

If you have never heard of or taken a Spiritual Gifts Inventory, reach out so that I can email you a survey and definitions of the gifts. I want everyone to have this resource.


144-2 - CopyAbout the Author: Sandra Dillon is a professional coach, consultant, and mentor with an extensive background in business development, leadership, and ministry which provides her with the experience, relational skills, and proven processes to move individuals, couples, and leaders to higher levels of personal awareness, effectiveness, and goal achievement.  She coaches in a variety of areas including life purpose and plans, business, finances, and premarital/marriage.  Email: sandra.s.dillon@hotmail.com

Life Purpose: A Tale of Three Trees

Have you ever bawled like a baby when reading a children’s fable? I have! Several years ago, as I was browsing the small bookstore at The Homestead Heritage in Waco, Texas, I picked up The Tale of Three Trees: A Traditional Folktale. I guarantee you this is no ordinary children’s story. The tale tells of the dreams of three trees in the forest, who all long to grow into something that the world would value. One wanted to be the most beautiful, the other the strongest, and the third the tallest. After many years the woodcutters came to harvest these trees on the mountain.

Christ with CrossWhat these three trees wished themselves to be instead became how they were used to serve. The purpose of each tree brought me to tears. Can you guess how the tallest tree was used? The third tree wanted to be the tallest tree in the land, and by some accounts this tree got what it wished for as it stood tall at Calvary with Jesus nailed to it.  This tree had one idea of its future, but God had another purpose and plan. Despite the ugliness it endured as it co-labored with Jesus, the third tree had the opportunity to help bring Salvation to the world. Now that’s worth first living and then dying for!

For those of you who identify with the Christian faith, I would ask you to think about  whether you are pursuing your own dream or seeking to know God’s dream for your life? Sometimes God’s dream for your life will take you through ugliness, harshness, and cruelty such as what Jesus experienced on the cross? Much of the time you will never be aware of the impact you are making and must maintain faith that God is using each faithful word and action for Kingdom impact. On those rare occasions when I do get feedback, I find those are the fuel that keep me seeking the Lord’s will for my life. My prayer for you is that God will clearly speak truth and purpose into your life!


144-2 - CopyAbout the Author: Sandra Dillon is a professional coach, consultant, and mentor with an extensive background in business development, leadership, and ministry which provides her with the experience, relational skills, and proven processes to move individuals, couples, and leaders to higher levels of personal awareness, effectiveness, and goal achievement.  She coaches in a variety of areas including life purpose and plans, business, finances, and premarital/marriage.  

What is Coaching? Answer: Getting Results!

ashley-batz-betmVWGYcLY-unsplashYou’ve probably heard of coaching for actors (1940’s), sports athletes (1960’s), and business executives (1990’s), but your understanding of life coaching may be more ambiguous. Despite life coaching being a practiced discipline since the 1800’s, the profession remains relatively misunderstood with people even associating coaching with counseling. With those assumptions, people conclude they don’t need a life coach.


Not everyone needs a counselor, but everyone can benefit from a coach.


Throw the mentoring in the mix, and the differentiation gets muddier. Although coaching, counseling, and mentoring all serve to help people, each has a different function, process, and relationship.

Coaching: Not Counseling or Mentoring

Professional coaching, mentoring, and counseling share a similar purpose in helping people through life seasons and transitions. How to achieve a better work-life balance? Struggling in a marriage? About to get married? Trying to figure out which career path to take? How to land the next promotion? The situational factors will determine what professional and which approach best serves the client.

In general, coaches use relational influence to develop and empower people, mentors impart their wisdom upon less experienced individuals, and counselors diagnose their clients’ problems and offer solutions. Coaching differs from mentoring and counseling on many levels, including the participant’s role.

Although coaches are change experts, they believe their clients are the experts of their lives. Coaches typically work with mindset and help clients take responsibility to act in ways that maximize outcomes. Coaches and clients are equal partners, who co-construct the coaching relationship through vulnerable and empowering conversation.

Coaches can administer assessments, sometimes suggest, and lead with challenging and powerful questions, so clients can then decide on specific plans to achieve their defined goals. On the other hand, mentors and counselors are the experts in the relationship, who offer advice and make suggestions. Stoltzfus (2005) found that when people solve their own problems versus being told what to do, they learn more and are more motivated to address problems and implement their identified solutions.

Coaching also differs from counseling in that it is future-oriented as opposed to focusing on the past. Mentoring may alternate between both realms. Collins (2009) defines coaching as enabling people to move from where they stand to a position of where they want to be. Coaching and mentoring are grounded in the present with the desire to help others grow personally, develop skills, or acquire knowledge, as opposed to counseling, which typically involves exploring past hurts to achieve healing.

Coaching and mentoring differ in their approach, although over the years the practical application of mentoring has expanded, so it appears more like coaching. Mentors are typically subject-matter experts in their fields who provide information, support, correction, and accountability to develop their mentorees.

Christian Life Coaching

Those who may understand the value of life coaching may not necessarily understand the difference when the label of Christian is applied. Christian life coaching differs from its secular counterpart with the operating foundation of a Christ-based worldview that encourages clients to find God’s vision and purpose for their lives. The Christian Life Coach helps to guide the client from where they stand to where God wants them to be, and secular coaching supports client in pursuing their own human-based goals (Collin, 2009).

Many Christian life coaches successfully coach secular-based clients, because one of the many ethical standards held by coaches is not to impose their own beliefs onto their clients. Coaching is not about the coach but helping clients achieve want they want for their lives.

Coaching Benefits

Coaching sessions have an agenda, defined goals, and accountability, which is not inherently part of the counseling or mentoring process. Coaching provides a supportive relationship and structure that allows the client to take responsibility and be held accountable to make life changes.

Through assessments and skilled questions, a coach unlocks the confidence and commitment in their clients to define goals and achieve results. A coach will partner with you, encourage you, help you see what motivates you, believe in you to make change and challenge your thinking.

Coaches typically provide written action plans and follow-up with their clients between sessions. Coaching can be done over the phone, video conferencing, and face-to-face. Coaching is for anyone who strives to be a better version of themselves in any area of life, and successful coaching is measured solely by the client achieving results.

References

Collins, G. R. (2009). Christian Coaching: Helping Others Turn Potential into Reality. (2nd ed.). Colorado Springs, CO: NavPress.

Stoltzfus, T. (2005). Leadership Coaching: The Disciplines, Skills and Heart of a Christian Coach. Virginia Beach, VA: Booksurge Publishing.


144-2 - CopyAbout the Author: Sandra Dillon is a professional coach and consultant with an extensive background in business development, leadership, and ministry which provide her with the experience, relational skills, and proven processes to move individuals, couples, and leaders to higher levels of personal awareness, effectiveness, and goal achievement. She coaches in a variety of areas including life purpose/plans, business, leadership, finances, and premarital/marriage.