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Doing Missions Coaching in Asia: The Power of Summary – by Patty, a missionary in Asia

Jan 20th, 2011 | By | Category: Missions Coaching - Guest Posts, [None]

For several months, Tammy and I have been exploring how she can best use her strengths and passions within her calling. Now transitioning out of her current role, Tammy is considering what she will do when she returns to the field after her home leave. As we recently talked about what that new role might look like, I reflected back to Tammy some “must haves” I’d heard her dance around. As I listed them – authentic community, time and space to generate ideas, ability to make a significant contribution that’s valued by others – her tears started flowing. When I asked what her emotions were saying, she answered, “Having you put those things into words for me just made them real.” By summarizing and reflecting back her thoughts, Tammy felt both validated and valued.

Summary is an effective tool when:
1. Your client is exploring new territory in her thinking.  Summarizing, using the client’s own words, helps bring clarity and focus as well as objectivity.
2.  Your client is experiencing strong emotions.  Summarizing can be a gift as your client hears his own words reflected back by you, adding weightiness and validity to them.
3. You, as the coach, are unclear about something the client has shared.  As you ask for permission to summarize for the purpose of clarity and accuracy, you are demonstrating your desire to listen well.  You might specifically ask, “Is this what you are saying?”  This process of summary for clarification is especially important if you or your client are coaching in a second language.

Most cross cultural workers I know lead overly full lives and leave little time for reflecting.  You give a priceless gift when you listen well and help a client clarify their thoughts by summarizing and reflecting their words back to them.


Patty – missionary doing coaching in Asia

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