So What’s The Deal With “Agency”?

“Agency” is the new buzzword we keep hearing in podcasts and even recently published books, but what does it really mean?

Here are some thoughts on agency, where it comes from, and what makes it so very valuable in our personal lives!

Ever hear of the series “Orange is the new black”? I don’t think I ever watched it once, but I found the title interesting. Basically, it meant that the criminals who once wore black every day were now wearing orange every day in prison. So, for them, orange became their new normal.

When I first started learning, and then blogging, about coaching the word “Ownership” was a regular topic and tag.

Agency is the new Ownership. 

Agency means we have choices.

  • We can advocate for ourselves in certain situations.
  • We can choose our perspective.
  • We can remove ourselves from harmful places.
  • We can work toward our preferred future.
  • We can grow spiritual and process our thoughts and feelings in healthy ways.

Agency...

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What If There Is An Angle You Aren't Clearly Seeing? (How Eric's Question Changed My Perspective)

In case you missed the memo I recently completed the first draft of a dating book I have been working on for about ten years! Before Bridges Coaching I worked at a Bible College as a dean and learned lots of things about how to - and how not to- date well!

I started the book in that era and then launched Bridges coaching so the book was put on the back burner for a while, then we had a surprise chapter and moved to PA where we both work at a wonderful church and Bridges became what I did on the side, so the book was my side side - if there is such a thing. 

So here's the perspective-shifting thought.

My husband, Eric, was talking about my completing the draft and he said "Actually, I'm glad it took you this long. You have been really good with having boundaries about how much you work. What if you had pushed yourself to get it done sooner and that really cost our family or our marriage?"

WOW!

He was right!

I felt immediate relief for all the guilt I had felt with...

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How To Leverage Habit Stacking (and a couple other pro-tips from James Clear)

[Tips and tools]

I'm an "N" in the MyersBriggs personality profile. One thing that means is that tactical things are not my best game. I guess you could say an absent-minded professor profile kind of fits when it comes to certain things. If I'm not focused the milk can be put away in the cupboard, or I may burn my hands getting things out of the oven.

I once had to have Eric turn around on the way to work because I forgot to wear shoes...

So, when it comes to remembering things that are tactical it can be tricky for people like me. It's not enough to want to add a new habit. I have to really think it through. (But then again, maybe all people are like that? I'd love to hear your thoughts.)

Habit stacking isn't new for me, but I didn't know what to call it till I read Atomic Habits by James Clear. This is a great read for anyone with a growth mindset. If you want to add something new to your life, you will need to change some things and this pathway can help.

This first...

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Imposter Syndrome: Two Myths & A Lie About Coaching

What is Coaching? 

I get asked that a lot.

Maybe you've asked that as well, or you get asked that. 

In the Coaching Culture certification course, we actually have a project where trainees have to give an elevator speech with their version of the answer. (An elevator speech is having an answer you can share with someone in the time it takes for an elevator ride.)

The ICC, International Coaching Community, website puts it succinctly like this: 

Coaching has been defined in many ways. The essence of coaching is:

  • To help a person change in the way they wish and help them go in the direction they want to go.
  • Coaching supports a person at every level in becoming who they want to be.
  • Coaching builds awareness empowers choice and leads to change.

There are plenty of other leadership or caregiving models that are not coaching - like teaching, mentoring, consulting, and counseling. And they each have their place in a person's life.

Christian coaching uses a Biblical model of...

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How The Escape Room Craze Smacks of the Coaching Quest!

In Bridges Coaching one of the foundational tools we use is called the Always Circle. It is built on these three statements:

- There is always going to be stuff.

- God always offers a plan.

- We always make choices.

See the three "always" in there. Hence the name, Always Circle.

One of the reasons we are intrigued by Escape Rooms is that we know there is a solution and we want to see if we can figure it out. 

Coaching can be like that - if we believe in God.

We have some sort of "stuff". We need to make a decision, or we need a pathway to move forward. We want healing. We're looking for connection. There is something in our life that requires attention and we are hoping for resolution.

In an Escape Room setting, we know that there IS a way out. Others have gone before us. the quest is to figure it out in a certain amount of time and "escape" from the room.

In a Coaching conversation, the parameters are similar. Let's take a look at the parts of the Always Circle...

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3 Scenarios When Telling IS Better Than Coaching

Coaching isn't for everyone all the time, but it likely is the most underused tool in the adult learning process.

Let's start with a couple of quick definitions.

Telling is when one person has information the other needs and they pass it on. This is needed when the passer of information has knowledge or experience that is essential for the situation at hand.

Coaching has at least two definitions. The core of the word means to get from one place to another, like a stagecoach. Sports Coaches offer pathways to success by having their team execute a plan. Life Coaching is different. 

Coaching is a conversational tool that empowers adult learning. It facilitates "Aha" moments of self-discovery. It uses questions and conversations to help people move from one place to another. Christian coaching acknowledges the Holy Spirit is always guiding people toward what God has uniquely for them.

Ever wish the people around you would "get it" and move forward.

Ever wish you could...

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When NOT to use coaching!

Coaching isn’t for everyone. There are at least three scenarios, or people groups, where coaching would not be a good fit. 

#1) Ignorance or Immaturity

When someone is new to faith or unlearned in their faith walk it could be unkind to ask them questions beyond what they know or to leave them bumbling around when they simply need teaching.

People grow from discipling and teaching. They need help to know what quiet time looks like or how to study the Bible. They need to learn how kingdom ways are upside down from worldly ways. Selflessness does not come naturally to most. 

Yet – even in the midst of these scenarios how a person walks out their response is best found in coaching questions.

What a healthy quiet time looks like is different from one person to the next, even how best to read the Bible has multiple quality options. Relating in right ways to others could mean patience or honest confrontation.

Teaching shares good options. Coaching helps people discern...

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Looking for MEANINGFUL gifts for your Gift List or Wish List?

I may regret this, but hey ~ it's Christmas!

I just decorated early. I think because I want some sort of do-over for last year... I want to celebrate fully and connect deeply and I want to GIFT MEANINGFULLY!

So, here's the offer.

Check out our Bridges Product page for your Gift List OR your Wish List.

Use the code MEANINGFULGIFT for all our products* for 15% off till Dec 1!

That includes everything from our video workshops all the way up to our certification courses! We haven't had a deal like this EVER!

It's worth the click to check it out and remember, use the code MEANINGFULGIFT for the discount. 

Have fun shopping! (and if you purchase a gift remember to use the contact info for the person you are gifting to!)

Thankful for each of you and ready to celebrate!

Cindy

*Books from Amazon excluded (I couldn't figure out how to make a coupon for that - they are fairly inexpensive anyway...)

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"Coaching for Dummies" with 3 Simple Questions

I have no idea if this book is any good, maybe you should give it a try, or we can cut to the chase and you can work with some version of these three simple questions.

  1. What are you hoping will happen?
  2. What are your options?
  3. What will you do?

We all do it. 

We have a compulsion to be "tellers". Our hearts are probably right. We want to help people toward solutions. We want to save them the pain we had to walk through when we dealt with their "thing". We want to expedite the process.

But it's not the Jesus way.

Jesus asked us to make disciples, not dependents. That's really the heart of coaching. When we ask questions instead of teaching or telling we empower people to learn to discern God's voice in their own lives. 

Here's how that works.

Recently I was talking with a co-worker who needed some advice. She was dealing with a tricky situation she needed to confront. 

  • I could have told her my stories of how I confronted situations like that in the past....
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? Discipleship, Leadership Development, Coaching and Spiritual Formation ?

How should we grow? How will we know?

This is a time of redefining norms for our world and for the church.

As we move through this season - people are coming back to church in person, or not. People are getting back to relationships they once invested in, or not. People are sticking with new habits they formed, or not. People are pursuing plans they once had, or not.

There's a lot to navigate.

For me personally, I would love it if God just gave us a step-by-step plan that we could follow, and then we would KNOW we were doing "it" right! 

I would love that full confidence and embrace the challenge to do all the things.

Turns out that is not how He designed our faith walk to be.

Well, not exactly.

The truth is He does have a step-by-step plan for us, but it is an individual path. You probably know the verse as well as I do, but Psalm 119:105 says, "Your word is a lamp to guide my feet and a light for my path."

I wish He would just give us a...

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