Sample Coaching Conversations

Gina:  So much is happening.  My husband has just gotten a great job offer about two hours away, so we would need to move by the end of the year.  My work is going really well, so I’m not sure I want to move right now.  And our church is expanding to two services on Sundays, which means that our worship team will have to be at both services.  That means a lot more time at the church for me.

Coach:  Gina, you have so much going on!  Where would you like to focus?

Gina:  I didn’t even mention that we had decided to do a major kitchen project, and I have to travel all of next month.  I really need to figure out how to do all of this!

Coach:  Wow.  No wonder you said, “So much is happening!” So, what would be best for us to discuss right now?

Gina:  I really don’t know.  I feel like I’m spinning!

Coach:  As you think of all of this, what is most pressing to talk about?

Gina:  I’m not really sure.

Coach:  (silence, at least for 10 seconds)

Gina:  I think I want to talk about moving.  That’s where I want to start because a move out of town would impact all the other issues-my church’s worship team, my job, and the kitchen remodeling.

Coach:  Great place to begin, Gina!  As you think about moving, where do you want to start?

Gina:  (pause) Where we could live.  I guess we could live in between our two job locations, so we’d each have an hour drive.  Or we could live near Nick’s work, and I could check into working from home.  I probably should check into that at work, but I don’t want them to know that I’m moving yet.

Coach:  So, first you need to decide about where you want to live and if you have the option of telecommuting…

Gina:  Actually, if telecommuting is a possibility, that will determine where we can live. I’ll start checking into that first.

Coach:  By when do you think you will have more clarity on this?

Gina:  I hope by Friday.  I’ll start with HR and see what our policies are.  I don’t want to talk with my manager yet, but maybe I’ll need to sooner than I think.  Hmmm…

Coach:  Sounds like you may have another action…

Gina:  Yes.  Hey, what am I afraid of?  My manager and I get along great.  I’m not quitting!  I think he’ll be thrilled that I’m looking for ways to keep working here.

Coach:  Great.  And, with that awareness, your actions are…

Gina:  First, I want to talk with my husband and let him know what we’ve talked about.  Then I want to check with HR to see about telecommuting.  I want to find out who else is doing it in our company.  Maybe HR can tell me.  And, I’ll start thinking about how to present this to my manager.

Coach:  Wow, that’s great.  By when do you expect to have all these conversations?

Gina:  Two weeks, max.  I’m ready to go!

Source:  Miller, Linda J. and Chad W. Hall. Coaching for Christian Leaders: A Practical Guide. Chalice Press 2007. p. 56-57