There is a simple, effective way to strengthen our belief in our clients: it’s what I call the discipline of believing in people. Here’s how it works.
A spiritual discipline is something we practice to build an internal habit. For example, take our relationship with God. Instead of trying to manufacture communion with God out of thin air, God has provided a set of disciplines (fasting, silence, meditation, Bible study etc.) that we practice to develop our ability to commune with God. The discipline itself isn’t the communion—for instance, abstaining from food doesn’t equate to being close to God (otherwise, starvation would equal glorification!) Instead, the discipline is a channel that communion flows through.
As we exercise these outward disciplines, our hearts are changed from within. Gradually, imperceptibly, we take on the mind of Christ. His thoughts become our thoughts, our desires are aligned with His, and we start to naturally see things the way He sees them. When we start acting as if God is “the friend who sticks closer than a brother,” we discover that He really is. Practicing the spiritual disciplines make us into people who are attuned to the Spirit, and who reflect more and more of God’s heart and character.
Coaching training is learning and practicing the discipline of believing in people. We aren’t just developing a new set of skills: we’re learning a disciplined way of treating others that focuses on their destiny and not their problems. We practice these skills over and over because they breed in us the heart of a coach. When we start to consistently act on our belief in people, we find out what they are really capable of, and our belief grows deeper and more profound each day. When that discipline has fully molded us, it becomes a powerful channel where the heart of a coach can reach out to touch and transform everyone we work with.
Tony Stoltzfus is an 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, Leadership Coaching.