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Coaching Tools for Clarifying Your Life Calling by Tony Stoltzfus

Feb 11th, 2013 | By | Category: Featured Content, Transformational Coaching

For a variety of reasons, an individual’s calling seems to be the least understood and tapped facet of life purpose. I define calling as a commission coming from outside yourself, to serve something bigger than yourself. An important part of fulfillment in this life is the sense of being part of something bigger than yourself, of leaving a legacy, of making a difference for others or knowing that the world is a better place because of what you gave. The definition of calling as serving something bigger than yourself keeps life purpose from becoming narcissistic and selfish, while it addresses our deep desire to give our lives to something of real worth and significance.

Many individuals find a sense of call in being drawn to meet a specific societal need. One common pattern is the individual who has suffered difficulty or injustice finding their calling through fighting that injustice or alleviating that pain for others. Some find their call through their relationship with God, when they sense that God has commissioned them to serve others in a particular way for the good of all. Others accept a commission to work for the greater good from their nation, company, or community.

In your coaching relationship, the questions below can help draw out a sense of call in the individual you are coaching.


  • “What legacy do you want to leave? How will the world be a better place because you lived?”
  • “If you could spend your life working to change one thing in the world, and make a real difference for others, what would that one thing be?”
  • “Imagine you are at the end of your life looking back. What deeds would enable you to honestly say, ‘That was a life well lived!’”

Who Will You Serve?

One of the clearest clues to your calling is in the people or needs you consistently feel drawn to and reach out to serve. Identifying this “target audience” for your calling is very illuminating.

  • “Who do you want to help in your life? What kinds of people would you most like to make a difference for?”
  • “What needs do you see on the street or in people or in the news that tug at your heart?”
  • “What kind of injustice makes you want to ride to the rescue? What kind of suffering are you most sensitized to?”

Service from Suffering

Many people find a sense of call in their own suffering: they care deeply about helping those who are suffering in the same way they did. It’s a fruitful area to probe for a sense of call.

  • “What individuals or groups or needs do you deeply identify with out of your own suffering? How do you want to help them?”
  • “What difficulties have you faced, that became defining moments when you overcame them? How have those experiences equipped you to serve others?”

Tuning Into God

Being commissioned by your Creator engenders a powerful sense of destiny in people of faith. While there are well-known cases of those who manipulate us with God-talk to serve their own desires (Adolf Hitler comes to mind), they are greatly outnumbered by the anonymous heroes who’ve genuinely given and served out of their relationship with God.

  • “What has God put you on this earth for? What are you made to do for others?”
  • “What could you do with the life you’ve been given that would make you look forward to showing the results to your Creator?”
  • “What has God spoken to you directly or through others about your calling?”

Tony Stoltzfus is an author, leadership coach and master coach trainer. For more information on this subject check out Tony’s best-selling coaching book, Coaching Questions.

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