Prayer Led Me to Coaching
by Anne Yardley
The spring after I retired, I was searching for my next steps. I had retired the summer before and given myself space to relax. I had read Sybil MacBeth’s book Praying in Color and decided to try drawing my prayers as a Lenten discipline. The very first day, I drew a discernment prayer—a listening ear, some words representing different things in my life, some metaphors for God. That night I was talking with my husband and said, “I think I want to be a life coach.” No one was more surprised than I was to hear that come out of my mouth!
I am a lifelong Christian, a liberal Protestant, who experiences God most deeply in music, nature and silence. I often connect most deeply to God through singing hymns at home at the piano. It took me many years to recognize that as a form of prayer. As an active church musician and as a professor in a seminary, I have been surrounded by religious words and ideas, symbols and sounds, rituals and sacraments. They form an important part of who I am as a person and as a coach. I am a better coach when I take time to honor my own needs for connecting with God/Spirit whether that is the “still small voice within” or the majestic forces of nature.
Not surprisingly, I’m very curious about my clients’ spirituality and its manifestations. What are the tools and resources they already have from their own traditions? Are there experiences from their past that cause them to block their access to God/Spirit? Are there ways that I can help them integrate themselves more fully?
For me, coaching soul and spirit is what Coaching for Transformation is all about. The pathways to alignment are all about helping ourselves and our clients lead lives of wholeness. Lives in which our actions are congruent with our deepest values and beliefs. Religious traditions have much to teach us about the pathways to such wholeness.
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