Mike

How Did Journey Coaching Start?

Welcome back to the Journey Podcast! In this episode Terry, Mike and Sarah explain how Journey Coaching started. It all started with the thought of what the historical church did to help people grow and how do we continue to do that today?

Transcription of Podcast

Sarah: Well, welcome back to Journey Podcast. We’re back with Mike and Terry and today we’re going to talk about how journey coaching started.

Music: Your life, your journey starts now.

Sarah: So Terry is an RN and has worked in church ministry and in business leadership. She’s also a licensed counselor. Mike is a consultant for both large and small churches and he has a master’s and PhD in education and is in the middle of working on his dissertation. Is that correct, Mike?

Mike: That’s correct, although it’s on hold at the moment, but so I’m kind of working.

Sarah: That stuff is hard stuff though.

Mike: Yes it is.

Sarah: I have a professor friend and that, yeah.

Mike: Yes.

Sarah: Okay, so these two, Mike and Terry, they are the writers of Journey Coaching, and so I just wanted ask you guys how did Journey come about? What is the story with this journey coaching?

Mike: Well, prior to, and we’ll talk about Jeff and you’ll meet him and in a podcast to come.

Sarah: Yes.

Mike: Jeff is Sarah’s dad and Terry’s husband. Prior to meeting Jeff, my dissertation work is on the subject of what happened historically in the church to help people grow. What did pastors do? What did the leaders of churches do to help their congregations mature, grow, whatever way that you think about that, and how do we do that today? Comparing and contrasting the two.

Mike: Certainly what I saw in history was a metaphor that in the church would be described as shepherding, and S everybody probably sees a shepherd with the staff on a hill and there’s a bunch of animals down there, and that actually, if I had more time to talk about it, is actually a role that a leader would take, and did take in a church that was very much come alongside, know their names and really help them individually.

Mike: That’s in the church what pastors did historically, and then today what do they do, and today’s church organization runs a little bit more like lots of programs to help people so that pastors don’t necessarily know everybody in their congregation, but they ensure that they bring people in to run programs to help serve them. It’s that distinction that I asked not saying which is right or which is wrong, but what are the pros and cons? Why was it done this way in the past and why is it done this way in the future? And a whole podcast could be spent on that, but to cut to the chase, it was a sense of what happened in the past that’s lost in the future needs to be recovered.

Mike: And the way that we’ve been thinking about it here is coaching. But when I think of shepherding and coaching, there are a lot of similarities, and I think what we mean by coaching is with one person coming alongside another person and helping them grow, that’s what pastors did historically. So I moved into this whole experience with that kind of sense of we need to recover that in the church.

Terry: I think shepherding is a good term to use alongside with coaching.

Mike: Yeah.

Terry: It’s a good picture.

Mike: Yeah. Terry and I will talk more about the particulars of coaching in podcasts that come, but anyway, with that kind of angst in me and having been a pastor for almost 30 years, so I’ve lived this and I’ve been the one who runs programs, and I’ve had the privilege of walking beside people as well, and having experienced that both. So I was working at the leadership summit one year coming out of all of my sense of what I’d been studying and my doctoral degree and that I felt like there was a missing piece in the church, and I was working at a large leadership summit. That’s where I was. I was working at a booth there and Jeff walked up to me, and we started a conversation and he had been feeling a similar sense of challenge with some things that were missing in the church and that scene growth.

Mike: So that spawned a relationship around wanting to do something about it, and he was married to Terry. I eventually get to meet her, and then the three of us really resonated with there’s a piece of this missing that we really feel like we need to do something about. So I think I’ll hand it over to Terry because she entered into this story along that road and her husband dragged her along to meet this crazy Mike guy.

Terry: I remember the first time sat around a table and we talked and it was just that, you know, sometimes you can just tell when things are clicking and there’s just, you could just tell that even though we came from different kinds of backgrounds, I came from a nursing background and yet our dream and our visions were all a lot about the same.

Mike: Yes.

Terry: And it was so much fun to talk with somebody else. And the more you do that, the more you talk with somebody who really is kind of speaking the same language and it’s like, oh my gosh, this is amazing. It was exciting.

Mike: It was exciting.

Terry: From my background, I come from a nursing background and I still am a nurse even though I don’t practice nursing. I went back and got my master’s degree in counseling and so I’ve got those two pieces together.

Terry: My focus has been, my passion has been on helping people be healthy. If you think of the same thing, that Mike was saying he wants to see people grow. I wanted to see people grow in a healthy sort of way. When I’m talking to clients or when I’m coaching or when I’m talking to other people, I kind of picture, if you can imagine a picture where there would be four circles and the circles would all kind of intersect. There’s the psychological part of the thinking with the cognition, what are we thinking about and how is our thinking affecting our health and our growth? There’s the social aspect. How is my relationship with other people, am I connected? Am I not connected? There’s the emotional part of it, we are emotional beings.

Terry: We have a lot of thinking, and I know our thoughts influence our feelings in a lot of ways. And how do I feel about something? That’s where our passions come in. We’re not just robots. We have this emotion that drives us. And then the last one is a spiritual thing. Even every one of those circles represents one of those things. And they all intersect into who we are in the middle. Even if you’re not a spiritual person or you don’t consider yourself a spiritual person, you still have to ask yourself the questions who am I, where am I here? How did I get here? Where am I, what’s my purpose in life? I mean, those are all really spiritual kind of questions.

Mike: Yeah.

Terry: So for me that was the passion is helping people grow in those ways.

Speaker 3: Mm-hmm (affirmative). Yeah. And then the three of us really shared that passion around what could we do to make a difference in the world of the church.

Terry: Right.

Speaker 3: We were all coming from that similar passion but from different backgrounds. And it was neat how God brought that together. And then we wondered what’s next, and then what’s next started evolving into some of the things that we’ve developed all together today, the curriculum and those pieces are evolving, and the whole concept of how to get people in a place where they’re in a relationship with another person to move forward. And we started brainstorming and thinking about what does that look like? What kind of things would they talk about?

Terry: It started to take shape and in the shape that it took, our conversations came around and we talked about how many sessions would you have for an initial coaching relationship. We decided 12 was too may, five was too few. We centered on seven or eight, and ultimately we came up with a seven session initial coaching process. The sessions are outlined, but they’re definitely not, it’s not rigid. There’s a lot of questions in this, there’s a workbook. The workbook just kind of guides people through the different questions about helping people to formulate and tell their story, and then talking about pulling their strengths out of their story. What are my strengths? We’ll talk about strengths, or we have talked about strengths in other podcasts.

Terry: I’m sure we’ll talk about them again. We also spend a time working on our weaknesses, or we call them growth areas. Some of our weaknesses, our growth areas. Some of them aren’t. Some of them, we kind of divide our weaknesses into two parts. What can we grow? What can we manage to change? I don’t like this about myself, how can I grow in that area? Other weaknesses or things we can’t overcome. I have asthma. That is a weakness in some ways. There are times when I just can’t do the things I want to do because my physical health isn’t good. I can improve it as much as possible, but that’s a weakness. How do we … So when we talk about weaknesses, are we talking about what can I change and how can I change them or do I need to accept and move on?

Terry: Do I need to reorganize my life based on the things I can do, not the things I can’t do.

Speaker 3: Yeah.

Terry: We get into direction, what direction do you want to go? What do you use as a roadmap in your life? We also talk about world view. How does that play into how I see the roadmap. Some people use the Bible as a road map. Some people use other things as a roadmap. Ultimately we come to the end of the seven weeks with helping people formulate some kind of a plan for their future, what am I going to change? Come down with one or up to two or three things that they want, the most important, two or three things they want to work on. Then the last session is a followup. The person comes back to us after we’ve been, they’ve had some time to try reaching out and doing some of the action steps to their goals.

Terry: How did that go? We don’t criticize if it didn’t go well, we just look at it as okay, what can we learn from what didn’t go well? You said you wanted to spend more time with doing dates with your husband or your wife. How did that go? Did you actually get a chance to do those things? What got in the way? And so we’re just really there to help people grow in the way that maybe they, or maybe God is moving them in. And so that’s how the workbook came about. We also put together a leaders guide. So when somebody decides they want to be a coach, we’ve got a real easy to read coach’s guide, and it talks about things, characteristics like how do you, what is listening skills, listening skills are out there? How do you build relationships?

Speaker 3: Yeah. And underneath all of it is the thing that resonates with all of us. It’s two human beings getting together, getting to know each other, one in particular serving another to help them move forward. And all of that’s incredibly important, but those are tools that we’ve created to help the relationship. And that’s the missing piece that we’re all striving to make a difference in, to try to help the church and the world move forward. People need somebody walking beside them, helping them move forward. And that’s really journey. Walking to people, walking on a journey together, one coaching and helping the other.

Sarah: Well, that’s what is so different about the programs.

Terry: Well you talk about churches, and there’s so many different kinds of churches out there. One of the things that we were very careful to do as we were sitting around the tables talking and trying to formulate this was to make sure that it was more, it wasn’t a denominational thing. We didn’t want it to be this denomination or that denomination. We wanted it to be something that would reach people wherever they were at.

Mike: Yeah.

Sarah: Let’s wrap up for today, and you guys introduced a lot of different things. I have a lot of questions, but we can dive into those on future podcasts, so thank you Mike. Thank you Terry.

Mike: Thanks.

Sarah: And we’ll talk to you guys later. Bye.

Terry: Bye.

Mike: Bye.

Speaker 5: Thank you for listening. Tune in next time and make sure you like and subscribe. Visit us at journeycoaching.org and check us out on Facebook and Instagram. Start your own journey at journeycoaching.org

Your life, your journey starts now.

Why Coaching When Life Feels Fine?

Welcome back to the Journey Podcast! In this episode, Mike, Terry and Lianne talk about why coaching is beneficial even if your life feels normal or fine. On this episode they discuss how coaching may help those areas of your life that you are not 100% happy.

Transcription of Podcast

Lianne: Hello. Welcome back to Journey Coaching. I’m Lianne. I’m here with Terry and Mike. And I have a question, and this is kind of a why coaching question. And it would be that a lot of us are adults and we’re dealing with our life. And especially if we’re fairly comfortable, why would we take the time out to go into introspection to really examine our life when we’re probably all able to handle our lives?

Speaker 2: Your life, your journey starts now.

Terry: Well, I think that’s a really, really good question and probably a common question that somebody listening might ask, “Why bother? Why go into all this?”

Terry: And I guess looking at it from a counseling perspective, because I’m a licensed counselor, I look at it as are you really happy with your life? Are you completely satisfied with the way things are going? There’s nothing else that you look back in your life and you say, “Okay, I’m happy if the rest of my life goes this way when I’m on my death bed.” Will I have any regrets?

Terry: And I think that’s a good question to ask yourself. Some people might actually say, “Nope, I’m good to go.” But I think for most of us, you are going find that there’s some areas in our life that we’re just really not 100% happy with. There’s some parts of our lives where we think, “Wow, I wish I had more friends,” or “I wish I had a different job,” or, “I don’t know.”

Terry: There’s just a lot of areas in our life where we just assume that this is as good as it’s going to get. And what Journey Coaching does is it comes along and says, “But maybe not. Maybe there’s some ways that you can improve your life in some ways.”

Terry: One of the things we try to do is we look at what are your strengths and what are your weaknesses. We have a person start with their story. What’s been going on in my life so far? I think it’s really good to look at our own stories in a way when we tell it to a coach we’re seeing it through our lens, but now we’re also hearing our story through that other person’s lens. And they may ask them questions that make us think about our lives in a different way.

Terry: We’ve got process in the in place where you look at, okay, now here’s your story. What can you identify as strengths out of your story? A lot of times people end up being misaligned where they’re working out of their weaknesses more than they’re working out of their strengths. And looking at it and just asking yourself that question, “Is my life lined up? Is my work? Is my ministry or the different things that I’m doing in life? Am I operating more out of my weaknesses or am I operating more of my strengths? And what can I do about that?”

Terry: And that’s where coaching comes alongside of it. No one’s telling you what to do. It’s more along the lines of, “Hey, have you ever thought about this? Have you ever looked at it from this perspective?” And it’s a value to the person to do that.

Mike: Yeah. And I would jump in and add a couple of things. One is it isn’t just about personal introspection. Life, whether a person believes in God or not, we do come from a perspective that there is a creator that made us and he made us a certain way, and that is in relationship to other people.

Mike: And when you’re doing introspection or thinking about yourself and you’re sharing that with another person, you are meeting a human need to connect with another person. So it isn’t just you sitting in your room by yourself having this personal introspection moment, though that’s part of it so that you have something to share. But journey coaching is about connecting with another human. And your ability to think about your own life and share that with another person in and of itself is fulfilling and healing and human no matter what you believe. That’s a very common experience for everyone.

Mike: So I would just add that I think, Terry, just to add into what you said.

Terry: Yeah, sure.

Lianne: Yeah, and it sounds like it’s all in the name, the journey. And so therefore taking a pause and getting another perspective from somebody else who’s extremely helpful is a good idea.

Lianne: Now, I also wonder, thinking from the perspective of somebody who does have a strong faith, and they may be saying to themselves, “Why not just get up in the morning, pray to be in God’s will, and then go about your day? Why take time out for a Journey Coaching type of experience?”

Mike: Sure. And I think I’m probably going to piggyback now because I gave away my answer. I think the answer applies to whether a person is a Christian or not, but certainly God has clearly created a community of people for himself, not just individuals who worship him. That’s why we don’t have our own churches, every individual one of us. We have a church that we’re a part of.

Mike: And so again, in order for two people to connect, they bring what they’re possibly interacting with God within their prayer closet and they process that with other people. And that’s part of the journey of the church or all of the church walking with that together. And Journey Coaching just says, “Hey, we’re going to find a way for that to at least happen between two people,” because what we find in all sociological studies in the church and outside of the church actually, and I don’t know exactly what these figures are, but it’s between 80 and 90% of people would call themselves lonely or they have nobody to connect with. So it’s not working in the culture or in the church to try to do something alone.

Mike: And this is a simple process where two people connect and start to do life together, whether you don’t know God or whether you do. But we would say in the church for sure, we have to get our people walking with God together, and that’s the crucial part of it.

Terry: One, I think that you brought up a really good point about the loneliness. And when you look at it from the research standpoint, they’re finding more and more issues that are coming up out of loneliness. People who are disconnected end up having higher levels of depression and anxiety. The suicide rate is off the charts.

Terry: And so just realizing how important it is that we do find ways to connect with others is so important mental health wise.

Mike: Yes. Well, and I would even add to it there’s a sense of arrogance to think that me by myself can know everything about myself with no help from anybody else. And that really doesn’t work if anybody’s tried that. And we need each other actually to even understand ourselves. We need each other to even grow in any way. And not that we can’t grow it all by ourselves, but it certainly multiplies the ability to grow when we have people in our life speaking into it and seeing things about us and reflecting things back to us about ourselves.

Mike: So if you truly want to grow, you really need other people inside or outside the church.

Terry: Well, and I think the neat thing about Journey when we look at over the last five years of developing it and piloting it with different individuals and stuff, and we honestly during that time, we haven’t had one person who’s gone through the coaching who said it was a waste of time. Every person, even people who have high degrees and people who’ve gone through different kinds of mentoring programs on their own, there’s something they’ve gotten out of it that they said that they absolutely believed was valuable.

Mike: What was also unique is most people had never done anything like this ever before.

Terry: Right.

Mike: Which speaks back to the what the studies tell us. We’re lonely.

Terry: Right.

Mike: We don’t have relationships, a lot of relationships like this in our life. So for people that we are surprised, we think, “Well, they’re going to be bored doing this again.” Certainly, they have all these friends where they’ve told their story to and never before had they told their story like this.

Terry: Right. And we may have talked about this in another podcast. I’m not sure if we have or not. But I just remember when we were sitting around in a coffee shop, mulling over what do we put in the books and how do we put this together and all this stuff, at some point about an hour or two into our conversation, this woman came from another table over and she said, Excuse me.” And we all looked at each other like, “Oh my gosh,” because in a coffee shop there a lot of people who are trying to study and quiet is the important thing.

Terry: And I thought, “Oh, surely she’s going to complain that we were being too noisy or she was going to say something about it.” And you remember what she said?

Mike: She was so excited about what we were talking about, what we were doing.

Terry: She said, “This is so necessary.” She said, “I wish it was in my church. I wish there was something going on locally where I could do this.” She said, “It is so needed.”

Terry: And so that was just really encouraging.

Mike: Yeah.

Lianne: Well, thank you, Mike and Terry, for that great conversation and thank you for joining us and see you next time in Journey.

Speaker 5: Thank you for listening. Tune in next time and make sure you like and subscribe. Visit us at JourneyCoaching.org and check us out on Facebook and Instagram. Start your own journey at JourneyCoaching.org

Speaker 2: Your life, your journey starts now.