So, as a next post, I want to explain why I applied for Auburn's Coaching Program, and what I hope to get out of it. The short explanation: I met J.C. Austin, who coordinates the program, at a time I was feeling completely overwhelmed. The possibility of getting some help to sort things out was a godsend, and I seized it.
I wrote J.C.:
It's becoming clear to me that I need to change the way I'm working at my church. I simply can't meet all the expectations - of others or myself. Last night a friend asked me, "How are things at your church?" and "Does your Session know you're feeling overwhelmed?" and I spent the next hour in tears! I've seen therapists before, but I believe that, at this point, the real problem is how I'm working, communicating, setting goals, and accepting limitations. So . . . a coach?
And his response was just great. He said:
I think coaching could be of great help and impact to you, because our major themes are on how to develop resilience as a leader (i.e., thrive in the midst of the overwhelmed-ness of ministry) and how to set and prioritize goals and make measurable progress in your ministry based on the agenda you have as a leader, rather than just responding to whatever seems to be the most urgent problem popping up. Sounds like that's right in the sweet spot of what you're dealing with!
J.C.'s use of the phrase "sweet spot" is what sold me. That isn't a phrase I hear very often. I think it may have reminded me of an old New Yorker cartoon titled "The Sweet Spot of Flu." In it a sick man is lying on the couch. There are two arrows pointing at him which say, "Sick enough to lie on the couch all day watching TV with no guilt whatsoever." and "Not so sick that even watching TV could be treacherous, depending." That J.C. could look at the mess I was describing and claim its possibilities was just really nice.
(By the way, it wasn't really such a mess. Four and a half years into my time at GPPC, things were going well in a lot of ways. But it had been a challenging year for me and a particularly busy fall. I was tired, and I was beginning to see that familiarity with GPPC and the rhythms of the church year was not really making things easier, as I had hoped and expected. To concentrate on my skills as a leader and administrator seemed like a worthy thing to do.)
J.C. described the comprehensive coaching program. It is Lilly-supported, which makes it affordable (THANK YOU, Lilly!). It starts with two days in-residence and continues with 6 months of bi-weekly coaching sessions conducted by telephone. The program ends in June with two more days in-residence. In my next post, I'll tell you some of the we shared last week - the useful stuff I mentioned earlier.
Thanks for listening,