Character isn’t something we are born with—it is built through life experience. Every circumstance we face has the potential to prepare us for our destiny. When working with your clients around coaching character-building experiences and how they have shaped the client’s life, ask the following questions:
Childhood: What character qualities were deeply instilled in you by your parents? Early lessons on things like truthfulness, hard work, sharing and respect can last a lifetime.
Roles: Reflect on different roles you’ve filled. What were the character lessons in those roles?
Failures: What are the significant failures in your life? How have they shaped who you are?
Successes: Where have you applied yourself to do something with excellence? What character qualities were built in you through the pursuit of that goal?
Patterns: What patterns do you see in the way God is preparing you? In what areas has he worked on you repeatedly or held you to a higher standard? How do these patterns link to your destiny?
Coaching Character-Building Tip: Many coaching clients have trouble at first with separating character from task and being from doing. So you may see answers to the questions above, like “Top Boy Scout in my hometown” under Successes, or “Lots of experience in working with difficult people” under Patterns. When you see items that aren’t character qualities, just ask, “How did that shape who you are?” or “What did that experience instill in you?” If the person has recorded a significant experience, there is probably a character issue inside it.
Tony Stoltzfus is a best-selling author, leadership coach, master coach trainer and director of the Leadership Metaformation Institute. Additional information on this topic can be found in Tony’s book, The Christian Life Coaching Handbook.