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A Basic Life Coaching Terminology by Tony Stoltzfus

May 14th, 2012 | By | Category: Featured Content, Transformational Coaching, [None]

There are a lot of similar terms floating around in life coaching circles, and we aren’t always clear on what each one means. From my work is life coaching, I have found the following list of terms defined in a way that works when coaching Christians and non-Christians alike:

  • Design: My innate traits or my nature: strengths, personality type, talents, and natural abilities.
  • Experience: The learned skills, credentials and other assets I acquire in life that I leverage for my life purpose. The nurture counterpoint to Design’s nature.
  • Passion: The internal energy and motivation I have to pursue something I care deeply about.
  • Calling: An external commission I accept in order to serve a greater good. (For Christians, calling is “an external commission from God for others.”)
  • Destiny: A synonym for life purpose.
  • Life Mission: The task you do as part of your life purpose. The doing part of call.

Utilizing the above terms we can develop an overall definition of life purpose:

Life Purpose is the energy of Passion, channeled through Experience and Design in the service of a greater Calling.

These four elements (Passion, Experience, Design, and Calling) form the basic framework for the overall life purpose discovery model that I cover in section II of the Christian Life Coaching Handbook. A few other related terms that I utilize include:

  • Fulfillment: A lasting sense of joy, significance and satisfaction from living within my life purpose.
  • Dream: Something I’d love to do someday but haven’t committed myself to.
  • Vision: A picture of an ideal future I am mobilizing resources toward. (A kingdom vision is a God-given picture of an ideal future that captures my allegiance. It is not mine: I serve it and it serves others.)

Adding calling to our life purpose definition moves purpose from getting what I want to finding fulfillment through serving others. People who serve and love something bigger than themselves have a greater sense of purpose in life, and that’s true of Christians and non-Christians alike. For instance, some people find a sense of purpose in serving an external commission from their country, culture or tribe that isn’t a calling from God. Since God designed life to work best when we are blessing others (and worst when we become self-absorbed takers), the simple fact that these folks are serving moves them into closer alignment with the way we are designed by God to live. That doesn’t mean they are Christians—it just means that they are likely to find more real joy in life that those who spend their lives in the pursuit of self.

Tony Stoltzfus is a master coach, author and coach trainer. A presentation of a thorough, practical toolkit for coaching Christian leaders to discover their identity can be found in his book the Christian Life Coaching Handbook.

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