Linda J. Wilk, MAPC
What is Spiritual Coaching?
In my dream there was a long corridor with no windows. It was dark, but light was coming from somewhere, just enough to see my way. I kept thinking there was someone I would be able to ask for help, but the further I went, the further away the people seemed to be. I became frantic and began running. I couldn't reach the people, no matter how fast I ran. In this dream, I would awaken either by falling on the hard floor, by gasping for breath, or by just running and running and never reaching the end, being startled awake by something I couldn't see. I had this dream over and over.
I was in a time in my life that didn't make sense to me. I should have been happy, but I wasn't. I was dissatisfied and didn't know why. And I kept having this dream. I told a friend about it, and she said, "you should talk to this person I know. She does spiritual mentoring and coaching."
I took her up on it and went to see this person. She was aligned with a Quaker meeting, but she didn't talk to me about religion. She helped me explore what was going on that had me so unsettled. She became my sounding board. Spiritual coaching was a vastly different thing than what I'd done in therapy:
I felt listened to deeply and encouraged to contemplate my state of mind.
I was encouraged to use my inner resources (dreams, imagination, free thoughts) as tools my psyche was presenting me with to unravel the message my higher self had for me.
I was questioned about my values and beliefs and how they might influence my dissatisfaction.
Like with much coaching, I was encouraged to set goals related to these values and set a course accordingly. These were measurable goals that I could see.
I learned tools of contemplation, mindfulness, and an awareness of the need for nature and silence, as I learned to discern my own beliefs and what mattered to me.
I admit, this eventually led me to the path I am on today. I realized I was not living in accordance with my own beliefs, and that to do so, I would need to make some tremendous changes in my life. I was denying an important part of my inner self. I started by incorporating some daily practices that would help me listen more clearly to my "higher self" on a regular basis. This led to the need for some other changes...and so on. And here I am today!
The Coaching Academy defines spiritual coaching this way:
Spiritual Coaching is a partnership to create meaningful change, transformation and lasting success in life and business. It's not only about change: it's about transformation and not just reaching goals but being present with the process.1
If you are looking for a chance to go deeply into your interior self, explore what you believe (and what you don't) then spiritual coaching is for you! Many people bring baggage with them or uncomfortable experiences they've had with churches or other religions, that they don't understand is affecting them. What's important is that it's a chance to get to know your own values and see where those values fit for you in the world.
Sometimes people come as a couple, or even a family, to do the same work. A few generations ago, folks would mostly join the church of their parents and follow for generation after generation. It's not so easy these days. Churches vary from very conservative to very liberal, and many families are completely secular. Have you considered what all this means in terms of how you want to raise your family? Churches and synagogues used to be the source of the moral values that parents used to make decisions on parenting.
Now I hear from many young people that they have no direction or thoughts as far as what to do with decision making or crises in the family. They don't know where to turn and feel they are on their own. They are faced with addiction, abuse, no way to deal with conflict, money issues, job crises, school debt, and a host of other problems, and they don't agree with their family's values or know where else to turn.
Spiritual coaching can be a solution to many of these problems. They are life problems, yes. They are family problems or couples' problems. Approaching them from a perspective of what your values or beliefs are can give you a philosophy that will carry you not just through the moment but through your life.
My dream, it turns out, was about how resourceless I felt. There were no doors to go in, no people to turn to, no way out! However, I learned that I had more internal resources than I had. I found out that if I slowed myself down and got out of the panic mode, I also had friends and neighbors who were resources I would never have thought to call upon. I needed a new perspective. The help I needed was to find the way to reach that new perspective. Spiritual coaching helped me open that inner door to me.
https://thecoachingacademy.com/blog/2015/2/27. What is Spiritual Coaching.
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