I have seen the movie, War Room, more than 10 times and outside the lessons on marriage, praying wife, lost-but-found husband and many other family or home-building lessons that most people only see in that movie, one implicit, but profound lesson that can be learnt there is an approach employed by an old woman (Clara) in penetrating a rather impervious younger woman (Elizabeth) and breaking her open before she could offer the help Elizabeth obviously needed. So, what were some of the powerful coaching lessons I was able to gather from that movie?
7 PROFOUND COACHING LESSONS
- Age or experience doesn’t automatically translate to wisdom; evaluated experience is what does that. Clara didn’t find herself qualified to help Elizabeth simply because she (Clara) was older or because she had experienced life better than Elizabeth, but because she had passed through what Elizabeth was passing through and most importantly, she has evaluated her experience into lessons that can be transferred to another to yield expected and of course, positive results.
- Intuitiveness is very vital to coaching. Elizabeth never mentioned any problem to Clara at first, but Clara was able to perceive an imminent problem from the loud thought Elizabeth was having to herself while Clara was talking about her wall of remembrance. She looked at Elizabeth and could sense a problem that the professional Elizabeth was probably not going to talk about.
- Coaching is not an activity of asking questions and ticking boxes like a Medical doctor. Coaching is a flexible act of creativity in empathy and genuine interest that leads to mutual understanding and trust between the coach and the coached. This was the nature of the conversation that birthed the breakthrough and the fulfilment of both Elizabeth and Clara respectively.
- Creative inquisitiveness is integral to successful coaching. Just like a technician would employ series of troubleshooting strategy in order to get at the root of a problem in a machine or device, Clara employed series of well-targeted and strategic questions to get at the root of Elizabeth’s problem. And then, in order to help Elizabeth to properly define her reality, Clara used the cold and hot coffee and that was the climax of it. That was all she needed to break Elizabeth open for more discussion. It is the height of creativity to penetrate human souls with the power of communication cause a transformation in their lives.
- A successful coach always avoids to get trapped in the client’s frame of reference. Clara was mature enough never to get trapped in Elizabeth’s bemoaning of her situation. She didn’t join in the pity-party; rather, she empowered her by putting her in a position of responsibility for her woes. Of course, as an expert of her own problem, Elizabeth thought she had been doing the right thing, but Clara offered her a better option to what she had been doing. Then, her eyes popped open at the new reality she is seeing from a balcony view that Clara had given her. Elizabeth thought what they did so well in the family was fighting, but Clara brought her out of that frame by challenging her paradigm.
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- If you have never been in a situation before and have either overcome it and or learned really well from it, helping another person to come out of that situation will be very difficult. Clara had passed through what Elizabeth was currently going through. Not just that! She had reflected and learned a great deal from the experience and she had sworn to herself that she would always be in search of any other younger woman who would be passing through the same so that she could help with the lessons she had gathered from her own experience. Little wonder, she wasn’t trapped in a pity-party for Elizabeth and she was able to give her the support, practical action points and confidence Elizabeth needed to scale through.
- As a coach, a sense of self-security and healthy self-esteem is highly needed in maintaining a consistently healthy relationship with your client. After results have been achieved and you now look like a semi-god in the eyes of your client, never live there; move on and let the relationship flow at the comfortable pace of your client. Stand in the position of a leader. Clara didn’t tell Elizabeth to be coming for follow-up every other weekend. She set her loose and told her to find someone else to also help. If Elizabeth was going to need a closer or discipleship relationship to continue, it would come from her, not from Clara. A true leader seeks to raise other leaders, not trying to keep people under himself or herself for longer than necessary.
Dear fellow coach, I hope you will find some of these lessons handy and applicable in your practice as well. I am a clarity coach and while seeing the movie, I didn’t just see it as someone looking a lesson to build a family, but as a coach whose strong passion is to help young folks and because I’m always scouting for better ways to be of help to people, my eyes were very open to these lessons even though they weren’t spelt out. A huge appreciation to the host of professionals who put that movie together.