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The Seven Questions Framework for Coaching by Tony Stoltzfus

Oct 15th, 2012 | By | Category: Featured Content, Transformational Coaching, [None]

There are many different ways to structure discovering and pursuing one’s life purpose. I have organized the search with a model called the Seven Life Purpose Questions. By organizing around these seven themes, we can help coachees understand where the process is going and how the different pieces of the puzzle fit together.

The seven questions are:

  1. Whose am I?
  2. Who am I?
  3. What has my whole life prepared me for?
  4. Why do I desire this?
  5. Where is the Master sending me?
  6. When will this happen?
  7. How will I get there?

The first five questions have to do with discovering life purpose, while the final two have to do with pursuing it (walking out what you’ve discovered).

The Meaning of the Seven Questions

The first question, “Whose am I?” deals with our fundamental allegiance. Who are we living for? When we make life choices, our basic allegiance may be to ourselves, to another person (where we’ve subverted our identity to theirs), to our tribe or nation, or to Jesus as master of our lives. This question asks, “When the chips are down, whom have we chosen to serve? Is this life mine to order for my own pleasure and benefit, or do I owe allegiance to something bigger?” Obviously, this can make a huge difference in the trajectory of our lives. To shorten the question, we refer to this area as Allegiance.

“Who am I?” is the Design question. It covers your inborn nature: characteristics like personality type, gifts, strengths, and talents. At this level, people change slowly over time if at all, so understanding who you are is extremely valuable in relationships, career, decision-making and other areas. We also refer to this area as Design.

The other side of the nature/nurture dichotomy is the question, “What has my whole life prepared me for?” There are valuable things you pick up along the way in life that shape your destiny: learned skills, work- and life experience, character and self-understanding. Taking stock of who you have become in life both completes and compliments the Design picture. We also call this area Preparation.

The next question asks, “Why?” It taps into our desire, passion and motivation. “Why do I desire this? Why is this important enough to give my life to?” Passion is a vital part of living an on-purpose life. To accomplish something extraordinary, you’ll need exceptional desire to finish the race. This area covers dreams and desires, what energizes you, and your core values and beliefs. Coachees usually find important life purpose indicators within these Passions.

The fifth question is Calling: “Where is the Master sending me?” A calling is a commission that comes from outside of you to serve a larger end (it primarily serves others, not you). As a Christian life purpose model, the Seven Questions framework assumes that a call from God is an integral part of every believer’s life purpose. In this area we explore what God has revealed to you about your life mission, the people and needs you are drawn to serve, the message of your life, and how experiences of suffering and sacrifice integrate with your life purpose.

“When will this happen?” is the question of timing. Most of us express this question as, “How long, O Lord?”! If part of your call is to own a business, it may be that now is the time to launch out, or you could have years of preparation ahead of you. We refer to this area as Timing.

The final question is, “How will I get there?” This question moves the coaching process toward goals and actions that make the person’s life purpose a lived-out reality. The basic coaching tools for this Implementation process (like conversational models) are laid out in my books, Leadership Coaching and Coaching Questions.

So to sum up, we have seven potential areas to explore with our clients to help them discover and pursue their life purpose, each category with a fundamental question:

  1. Allegiance: Whose am I?
  2. Design: Who am I?
  3. Preparation: What has my whole life prepared me for?
  4. Passion: Why do I desire this?
  5. Calling: Where is the Master sending me?
  6. Timing: When will this all come together?
  7. 7. Implementation: How will I get there?

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, including the question of one’s life purpose, can be found in his book the Christian Life Coaching Handbook.

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