Spiritual coaching is simply “coming home” to a significant relationship with God. Spiritual coaches join with and helping others in the adventure of knowing (experiencing) God deeply and following him fully. “Spirituality” from a Christian point of view is about humanity in relationship with God. It is about being far from him and the process of moving ever closer. Think of it as our invisible soul in union (friendship) with the invisible God.
Spirituality… is our invisible soul in union (friendship) with the invisible God.
So, spiritual coaching is simply about helping people reestablish that relationship with God. It is about helping people grow closer to Him, which in turn affects the way they live. It is about the pursuit of health for your soul. About learning how to really live! It is helping people build soul-health – knowledge, endurance, resilience, and strength – to possess the life they want, and were meant to have, which is a life with God.
Spiritual coaching is about two people who are headed in the same direction walking together toward that shared goal. Kind of like the two rails of a train track. They are clearly headed the same way. In fact, I use this picture to explain our strategy for coaching and moving forward. One track represents temporary ideas or tools to manage the problem, like aspirin for the symptoms. It fixes nothing but makes thing more endurable for the time being. The other rail that runs along side it represents the deeper work, the surgery, that will eventually make the symptoms vanish and the pain medication unnecessary. They work together, and without either one the process will probably not make much forward improvement. Together, treating symptoms while addressing the real problem, is the way to health. Together, the coach and the coached work toward the same goal of decreasing the pain by healing the deeper wounding, as the former shows the way to the later. Progress in made in tandem.
The coach and the coached work toward the same goal of decreasing the pain by healing the deeper wounding… Progress in made in tandem.
Consider thinking about it like this:
Imagine that you want to get more fit, build some muscle, lose a little weight, trim those pecks, sculpt those glutes, build a six-pack… So, you find the needed finances in your budget and make an appointment with a personal trainer. Your trainer soon makes it clear that discipline, exercise, habit, routine, determination, commitment, and pain are all necessary. Some things will have to go to make room for the new. Some will need slight adjustments, others radical change. In order to break through to the next level of performance or health, it is going to take some tenacity and exertion, and you are going to need help.
A spiritual coach or director does something very similar to a personal trainer… but for the soul. The goal is to break through life limitations and into a new level of familiarity with God. Like a personal trainer, a spiritual director is a workout partner that pushes us to excel, to reach for more, to meet our potential, to get rid of any weights that hold back the progression of our relationship with God. They are someone on the same journey, pursuing the same goal, working toward the same achievement. They are a little more fit than we are so they can show us how they got there. They are encouraging, even pushing us to come up to their level, and then surpass them. They celebrate our fitness and selflessly want for us to eclipse them, to break through to a new level in our struggle to know(experience) God deeply and follow him fully.
A spiritual coach or director does something very similar to a personal trainer… but for the soul.
Improve one, Improve Both
Some things will have to go. Like the “baggage” we carry from our past with its hurt and pain, and the bad habits and reactions (sin) that have developed because of them. A spiritual coach will help us see those relationally “unhealthy” habits we currently have, root them out, and leave them behind. Our horizontal relationships are inseparably entwined with our vertical relationship with God. Improve one and you improve the other. In fact, a spiritual director will focus on your relationship with God knowing that a meaningful life and satisfying relationships flow from a healthy connection with God.
I guarantee that it will require discipline(s), exercise, habit, routine, determination, commitment, and pain! Your spiritual muscles need to build capacity and your heart needs the benefit of a cardio workout in order to remain true to the King till the very end.