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What Type of Life Coach Are You?

Transcript from the Christian Life Coach Collective 

Episode #3



Today we're going to dive into a really fun topic and it's honestly something I wish someone had told me at least five, if not 10, years ago!


This would have helped me so much in my self-awareness, as well as ministry, not to mention my coaching Information. I can see it in myself now and I can see it in other people and I love it so much! 


I have to make it episode number three because I want you to know this upfront. It doesn't matter if you've been coaching for a good long time or you're just starting out or

just thinking about it right now. You're just a listener of the podcast. It doesn't matter.


This is a great self-awareness understanding of how you help and serve anybody in your life. I am going to put it in the context of a coaching and client relationship, so we're going to dig into it. 



What type of coach are you?


Okay, very exciting. I'm going to lay out the four types of coaches and what I'm going to have you do is build on the last two episodes. You are going to see yourself in one of these four more primarily and one of them might sound not so much like you at all and maybe you're pretty level in all four of them. That's a possibility. 


You are you and God has gifted you uniquely to operate in life and be the kind of coach he's called you to be. 


So I'm not a real big test taker. I love evaluations, I love assessments, but I'm not big on online testing for anything. I love to actually work through things. I've done a lot of Enneagram coaching and I like to help somebody process through narrative belief systems that they have and the types of giftings that they have, their strengths. 


Even if you were to go and take a strengths finders type of test online, they still want to process through them, do they give you results that line up and confirm and resound with your spirit? Because if not, and you just take an online test and you believe it, well, that's kind of like listening to anybody. You don't believe everything you read and you don't believe everything you hear, right? You need to test things against the word. You also need to test things against you and what you know about yourself. 


So I'm not an online test maker and you know this could be something that somebody would say. You should make this a test online so we can take a test and see which type of coach we are. Well, I could, but I don't necessarily. After all these years working with people, I'm going to challenge what the test results say and actually confirm them. So I'm going to give you a lay of the land for each of these types of coach and then I want you to process and spend time on it. 


It's up to you to take initiative and be intentional about discovering the strengths and liabilities that lie in your gifting. 


Okay, so here they are the Pastoral, Possibility, Strategic, and Mentor Coach. These are the four types of coaches we're gonna go over. That's my working grid of how I look at the kind of coaching I offer and also helping you become the best kind of coach that you can be. 


Pastoral Coaching


First, we're going to talk about the pastoral coach. The strengths of this type of coach are:


  • Very highly relational

  • Good listeners 

  • Chaplain-like

  •  Very supportive

  •  Caring

  •  Nurturing

  •  Real compassionate

  •  Empathetic

  •  Generally encouraging

  •  Non-judgmental

  •  Very present in a conversation

  •  Good at processing things

  •  Emotionally connected with their clients

  •  Have a very helpful mentality

  •  They are your safe person

  •  They get their clients


The liabilities of that strength, the other side of the coin, is that this type of coach can often get stuck in one of these states, maybe a state of encouragement, a state of listening, a state of emotion, without moving forward and taking action, and they can forget the need for movement and forward progress, which is what the client ultimately is there for. They can think that their internal information, like their emotion, their intuition, and their instinct, is more important than external information such as the things that the client actually says. This kind of coach can let their personal knowing usurp the client's knowing. Maybe they are kind of hearing God or their gut knows. Sometimes they're just really tucked into their instinct or their intuition and they can let that override what the client is saying or the client says that they know.


This type of coach is a lot of times what someone wants when they really need emotional processing and they want to verbalize a lot of what they're going through, what they're thinking, what they're needing. This is a great type of coach for that. 


Possibility Coaching


Second,  is a possibility coach. The strengths of this person are 

  • They're very visionary

  • They're often a quick-start type of person

  • Real idea generator

  • They see all the possible outcomes, consequences

  • Often not always, they just have this big faith

  • Can be a risk taker or, in my case, a calculated risk taker

  • Often they're outside-of-the-box thinker

  • They have a multiple-perspective lens. It's kind of like instead of a bifocal pair of glasses, they have glasses that see in multiple different perspectives, they see far out, they can zoom in, they can see to the left, they can see far to the right, they can see high up, they can see that far down and that's a beautiful thing.

  • They see things as all things are connected

  • They can be very pioneering and creative. 


However, the liabilities are that they can get impatient or frustrated if others don't see what they see. If our client doesn't want to take action on any of these things or their client's mindset isn't one of possibility, then this type of coach can be a little bit frustrated by that. I am telling you this is possible. I don't know why you don't believe me. They can throw out possibilities that the client doesn't want, or sometimes so many possibilities or opportunities that the client can get overwhelmed. They can also tend to run over the client's need to process, feel, or sit in what they're in, and those are very real parts of the process for a lot of people. 


So when do you want a possibility coach? It’s when you have this what did they call it? Big, hairy, audacious goal!. I have this goal and I'm stuck at one spot. I need to see what steps three, four, five, and six could potentially be. Or I want to build a business, I know that I want this and I know I want to meet that person where they're at, and I want to solve this, but I'm not sure which is the best direction. Like, I’m not even sure of all of the possibilities and opportunities in the world for me, can I put this out there Should it be? I don't know. Is there more than one type of online business? I would love a possibility coach to help me see what I can't see. 


Possibility coaches are good at helping you know what you don't know. And a possibility coach is the kind of person who probably is self-taught a lot because they can see someplace they can go and learn and get what they need. 


Strategic Coaching


A strategic coach has the following strengths 

  • Very forward moving

  • Action-oriented

  • Clarity makers

  • Visionary 

  • Pioneering

  • They can be a quick start but often have more follow-through than the possibility coach.

  • They're good progress trackers

  • Very task oriented

  • A list maker

  • Tactical

  • Practical

  • Good accountability coaches 


Now, you don't have to fit all of these things and you don't have to be operating at the highest level of all of these strengths or the lowest possible level of the liabilities for these things to fit you.


Again, not a test.


 You do you. You choose and hear the Holy Spirit tell you how you should go. 


Don't just use my list like this is the expert know-it-all list. Nope, nothing I do is set in stone. It's all movable. Take it to the Lord and confirm it against the word, what he says to you, and what your spirit says. 


Okay, the liabilities of the strategic coach are that they can forget their clients' need to process or to feel and have emotion, to sit still in a certain stage, and not keep moving forward. Maybe they need to stay in step three longer than the strategic coach thinks is necessary because they just don't understand why aren't we moving forward. So they can be kind of impatient with a client's desire to move slower or irritated with their inability to see the importance of this next right step. A strategic coach might be, like, we need to take advantage of this right now because if we don't, we're going to lose out on it. But you are not wanting to take this step because you're still back here on step four. I'm on step eight in our process So the strategic coach needs to be able to see the clients and their need.


This is their story, not ours as the coach. It's their story. They must be able to take the initiative and the ownership of whatever they're moving towards. 


Because a strategic coach can oftentimes be very clear about the process they may get a little bit frustrated when the client isn't. They can also be quite oblivious to the client's internal hindrances to taking action, or maybe they're specifically triggered by one of the coach's suggestions of what the next right step might be. 


A strategic coach might not necessarily be highly emotionally connected and concerned with that area If they're more of an action taker and the client needs more of an emotion check or we need more check-in from the coach. So you want this kind of coach when, let's say, you're specifically building a business and you need someone to tell you the very next steps to take, as opposed to needing somebody to coach you in letting you make the decisions for yourself. When you want to coach, that says here are steps A through K and this is the process of how you do it to get to where you're going. There's a first, second, and third that are very clear and they're laid out and maybe they can help you individualize it and creatively engineer that strategic process to you as the client, based on who you are, and what you need. However, most of the time, if you want a strategic coach, you are looking for kind of a step-by-step action plan. 


Mentor Coaching


This is the last type of coach to cover, what I call the mentor coach. Their strengths include

  •  A bit more direct

  •  More teacher-oriented they pull from their personal experience

  •  They can be a good storyteller

  •  Clarity about the process comes naturally

  •  They are very giving of both internal and external information 

  •  They can share all that they have experienced, everything they've processed through, everything they've created, and everything they've achieved. That is helpful when somebody can say I've gone where you're going, let me help you. 


The liabilities of this type of coach include being a little overly sensitive to you wanting to change the process, since they've walked this out, they've learned from it and they think this is the best way.  If the client says, well, I understand that, but I wanna do it my way, there's potential for a mentor coach to say I don't know why you'd wanna do that like I've tried it. It didn't work. Why would you do that? But again, the story is about the client. 


A mentor coach can potentially glide over the client's desires and express needs because of personal experiences, beliefs, and triggers. In the process, they can often give the solution or the path without necessarily including the client. They can be seen as the expert if they set themselves up to be one, and an expert that the client needs to follow, and thus the client loses confidence in their ability to be in charge of their story and to be responsible for it. This kind of coach can seem like they're the one that's always driving, so the client might decide to just become a passenger because it's the best way to get somewhere quickly, instead of taking responsibility and initiative on their own.


I think in one of the last episodes I talked about if you wanted to become a bestselling author, well then, having a mentor coach who is a bestselling author, who can give you their experience of all the things they tried, all the things that failed, all the things that worked, as they were not just writing their book but marketing it and searching out the right publisher and meeting all of their needs as a book writer. So that kind of coaching is excellent for you because you're looking for someone who says I have been there and done that, here's what worked, here's what didn't. Now it might not work for you.

So if you want something individualized for yourself, you might want to get somebody who is a little bit of a mentor kind of coach but also mixed with a little bit of one of the other types of coaches that can help them lean into your personal needs in coaching. 


Now I want to just say Liabilities are wonderful things if you're aware of them. 


So our culture wants to say that liabilities and weaknesses are wrong and bad, and there's often just this attempt to neglect them, ignore them, and get rid of them. But I just don't see that anywhere in the Bible. Personally, the Lord calls us to Him. He wants to be in a relationship with us and He says in our weakness He is strong. His Gifts, His Glory, and His Strengths are made so apparent to us, in us, and through us, because we are not perfect. He is the perfection in the world. So you just have to accept that every strength has liabilities and that's okay. 


Be where you are. Don't rush the process. The Lord is in charge of where you are right now.


 And how do you know you're supposed to be right where you are? Well, because you are where you are. That's how you know. Does that sound so simple to you that you wanna tell me I'm stupid? I would understand if you did, but the way that you know that you're exactly where you're supposed to be is the mere fact of reality that you are where you are. Okay, you're not as in control as you think you are. Your clients are not as in control as they want to be. God knows where you are in your walk and your pursuit of Him, and He is doing in you what needs to be done at this very moment. So stop trying to change the past. Stop trying to move your present to be more quickly your future. Enjoy the now, because the not-yet will come quickly enough. 


Back to liabilities. 


They are wonderful things if you're aware of them because they become great learning opportunities. You can discover for yourself the very belief system that undergirds these liabilities. When you lean into these liabilities it can be like a  tap on the shoulder. You know it used to be that you put a rubber band around your wrist and every time you'd have a negative thought or you wanted to eat something when your body's not hungry, you snap the rubber band on your wrist or you tie something around your finger to remind yourself. That's what I'm talking about. Something like that a tap on the shoulder is something that you decide will help you become aware of something that you're doing. What happens when you start getting stressed, the types of behaviors and results you get when you lean into a stressful situation and a stressful mindset. Sometimes you can ask someone else. You can invite them into that process and ask them to help tap you on the shoulder. That's something coaches are good at helping you identify. 


Now, we run mission schools in our ministry and one of the things that I've often done is when I work with a student inside and I'm coaching them in one direction or another, I will help them gain the language that they need to let the other students in the mission school know what they're struggling with. 


That might look like someone who says I struggle to speak up and, especially in a class like this, I feel more drawn to being quiet and not sharing my perspective, and so that's something I’d like to work on. So what I do is I give that person the ability to express that to the class. I help them learn how to communicate what their struggle is, and what they feel challenged by. I help them determine what type of change and results they would like to see, and then we allow them to share with the class or I share it, depending on their comfort level at the time and we come up with some type of tap on the shoulder for them that the rest of the class is aware of. 


This is a vulnerable way to do it, it might look like everybody in the class is aware of this person's challenge but they have the desire to help the person grow. What the student will do is give them some type of sign or a code word like  pineapple and you know they can say something silly like “Hey,Joanne, what do you think about pineapple?” And that can be the code word for we've noticed that you are not saying anything, but we want to hear from you, your desire to grow and speak up is important to us. It's things like this that can be done in coaching for you personally as well as your clients. You can always help them and yourself develop what I call a tap on the shoulder. It can be a code word, it can be a sign, it can be a post-it note, it can be something nobody but you knows about, but it's just as you start to move into. 


This is something that is a challenge for me. It's an area of weakness, it's an area of liability when my strengths are not being used correctly or when they're used out of timing. A really important part about liabilities is that they can work for you because that process of living with liabilities, of having weaknesses in your life, makes you approachable to your clients and it helps you learn and experience God's transformation in your life. Liabilities will help you help your clients. You have more empathy and compassion for what they're going through because you have your liabilities.


I don't know if you've ever heard it said, but I've heard many people say, and I think there might even actually be a book about it, never trust a man without a limp or a woman. When you want to act like you're perfect and you have no weaknesses or liabilities, people are not going to trust you as much as you want them to, especially as a coach. 


Let people see that you have liabilities, that you're not always strong, you're not always the rock or the pillar, and that's important in coaching that, yes, you're an expert listener, you're an expert at asking the right questions, but you're a real human being. No matter what type of coach you are, let your clients know that you have superpowers and you have strengths, but you also have things that you're in the process of. That is totally okay and completely acceptable! Honestly, your clients are going to love the authentic vulnerability that comes up and out of you at the right time. 


Okay, I'm going to tell you what this looks like from my perspective. 


My coaching would rank as, primarily a possibility coach. Strategic is my second, mentoring is my third, and pastoral is my last. So the first thing I see in any situation is that all things are possible with God and we can figure it out. We can figure out how they're possible. I think everything is possible. Everything is something that we can work together to figure out how it's possible. I want to help build an individualized strategy for you to walk into that possibility. I love that. Let me spend all day, every day of my life, doing this and I would be so happy and I want to show them, my clients, how I've seen these things be true in my life. 


I have to work at being the pastoral coach in some of those areas. So teaching comes more naturally to me as opposed to active listening. That's something I've had to work on for a long time and probably will until I'm being hugged by Jesus.


 So pray for my husband and children. Am I right?


 Just maybe some of you feel my pain, but I think that you likely rank higher in one of the four and then your second and third might be mixed, like mine, and then maybe there's one or two that you struggle with, that you have less gifting and strengthen, but God, he's able to shine his strength in your life, in your times of weakness. 


I know it's possible and I can help you discover your growth plan. I would love to share my story with you and I promise to listen to you as much as I can without talking. See what I did there Yep Possibility strategy, mentor, pastoral. 


So here's your homework for this episode and it builds on episodes one and two about discovering your ability, your call, and your growth as a coach. Again, you'll find some of this at a basic written-out level in the show notes.

I want you to consider how you constantly operate in your day to day. Are the giftings of one type of coach more prevalent than the others? This isn't going to just show up in your client's work. It's not just going to show up as a coach. It's going to show up in your conversations and relationships. 


Which would you say is more prevalent? Which would you say is the weakest area? I want you to write down your primary strongest type and then write down your weakest type. Now, if you feel the other two are ranked second and third. Fine, write that down. If you feel like they're kind of tied and mixed together, that’s fine. This all builds on the last episode, where you're searching for your superpower.


The type of coach you are will be intricately connected to your superpower because they'll work alongside each other to support your client and get results. 


The areas you're weaker in can be built up like working out the muscle. In The Greenhouse Training and Certification Course that I'm building right now, coaches will have the opportunity to work all these things out together. So it's like going to the gym and building our muscles and trying out different weights and machines together. It's important because iron sharpens iron, and that's what we're here for. That's why doing it together works better than doing it alone. The one part of the body of Christ supports the other parts of the body. This is where you get to practice what you're great at and what you need to work on. 


You get to learn from somebody else's gift and, rather than sitting in comparison, which only breeds two kinds of fruit,  pride or pain, you get to ask questions about their abilities and their giftings. What if somebody was sitting across from you and you coach them in a practice session and they look at you and go holy, moly, guacamole! That was amazing. Like, how did you develop that gift? Did that come to you naturally? Did you work on it? Did you read a book? Who did you listen to? Did somebody help you get that? And then you get to go oh, wow. Yeah, I was never like that. That's something I had to work on developing, but thank you for the encouragement. I didn't realize that I was actually good at that. Now. I mean how amazing that you get to peer-to-peer coach and practice strategies and tools and partner with God in the transformation of somebody else's life and then pull from one another. You get to give and you get to get. It's going to be incredible. If you don't know about it, then head over to the sterlingandstonementoring.com website and you can go to the greenhouse and get on the waitlist so you can get more information about it and know when the doors are open. 


Well, friend, I am so happy to sit at this table with you again, we're going to wrap it up today. 


I am excited for you to discover more about yourself and your coach calling. This is a very exciting journey. I'm so glad that you're on it. 


Have a great rest of your day or your evening, and I specifically pray right now that you have incredible dreams this week, and that the Lord speaks to you about your calling, your season in life, your gifts, and your superpower. I pray that you would experience dreams and visions from the Lord  and that He would speak tangibly from His Word to you about all that you are pursuing Him in and about.


Don't forget to jump over to the Christian Life Coach Collective Facebook group that we have started. The link for that is also in the show notes and I'll see you inside there.


 And just to end, I bless you, your calling, and your coaching, and if you've loved any of this content, my favorite form of thanks is a written review over on Apple Podcasts. It'll only take you 30 seconds and I would so appreciate it.


Show Notes:

In today’s episode: FOUNDATIONS AD TOOLS

We discuss the four types of coaches and how to determine your primary type in order to best serve your clients and get GREAT results!

***VIParts of this episode to refer to:

Pastoral: Strengths- Relational, listener, chaplain-like, supportive, caring, nurturing, compassionate, empathetic, encourager, nonjudgmental, present, good at processing, emotionally connected, helping mentality, safe, mirroring, they ‘get’ the client.

Possibility: Strengths- Visionary, quick start, idea generator, sees all possible outcomes and consequences, big faith, calculated risk-taker, out of the box, multiple perspectives and sees things as connected, pioneering, creative.

Strategic: Strengths- Forward moving, action-oriented, precise, clarity maker, visionary, pioneer, can be a quick start but with more follow-through, progress tracker, task-oriented, list-maker, tactical and practical, good accountability, quick.

Mentor: Strengths- Direct, teacher, pulls from personal experience, storyteller, clarity about the process as they see it, giving of internal and external info, ability to share all they’ve experienced, processed, created, and achieved.


Put this together with what you've uncovered about your coach calling from episodes 1&2!


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