Coaching to Navigate the Winding Road of Life

Brittney Serpell

The town where I grew up sits on a highway—299 East. This road is full of challenges—twists, turns, logging trucks, and animals that jump out unexpectedly. If you’re not familiar with the road or aren’t being alert and careful, these can catch you off guard.

Life often reminds me of that road. Sometimes I’ll be cruising ahead and decide to go “left” in some area, only to discover that the corner was much sharper, the decision more complicated and difficult, than I thought.

Or, I’ll try to maneuver around people in my life, like trying to get around a logging truck, because I’m trying to get where I want to go at the speed I want to get there—only to realize that I just pushed past my husband and created an unsafe situation in our relationship.

Or, I’ve thought I had all the Loving on Purpose lingo down and was prepared for anything my kids might do, only to have them completely shock me with some behavior, like a deer leaping out in the road.

Moments like these test us and expose where are on the journey of life. Often, they show us areas where we could really benefit from the wisdom and guidance of someone who knows the particular stretch of road we are trying to navigate.

Giving What I Have Received

When I think back to the challenges I have faced in personal growth, decision making, relationships, marriage, and parenting, it’s undeniable that coaches—bosses, pastors, parents, and others—have been crucial difference makers in my ability to recover and learn from challenges on the road.

My first couple years of marriage, in particular, were one season I truly don’t believe I could have survived without great coaching and mentoring. Ben and I got married young and had a baby soon after. I was way over my head learning to be a wife and a mom, but thankfully a boss of mine took me under her wing—and into her family.

Almost every Sunday, Ben and I joined this woman, her husband, and their three kids for lunch at their house, and hung out there for most holidays. When Ben had to stop working in the process of this immigration from Australia to the USA, they generously supported us. She mentored me not only in conversations about marriage, family, money, and dreams, but also by allowing me to watch her life up close in highs and lows, victory and pain. I saw her grieve deaths in the family, teach her kids to drive, and marry off her daughter. She shaped courage and vision in critical ways during a formative season of my life in a way that has and continues to impact the way I parent, partner, and lead.

In the past year, it’s been a joy for Ben and me to pass along the wisdom we’ve received from our coaches and mentors through Family Coaching at Loving on Purpose. I have had the honor to meet with people from all around the world in so many different situations, many of whom had limited options for help or schedules that couldn’t easily accommodate coaching. We have been able to come alongside these people and help them reach their personal and relational goals.

One single mom I worked with had the goal of restoring her relationship with her daughter. Month after month, she came to our sessions determined to find out what she needed to do to repair this broken connection. I got to challenge, partner and bring hope to this mom, and celebrate with her as healing and breakthrough finally came.

For three siblings I worked with, their goal was learning how to set healthy boundaries, even with their most intimate family relationships. Many days the painful but powerful lesson they were learning was, “I cannot change those around me, but I can choose to be a powerful person, and I control my love.” I am confident that the skills and mindset I see growing in them will help them for all future relationships.

“Do I Need a Coach?”

As the winding, surprising road of life comes at you with all its got, do you know what to do to set yourself up for success? Do you know how to position yourself to grow from these moments rather than being taken out by them? We grow by being willing to be vulnerable, uncomfortable, and able to admit we need help.

One question people often ask me is, “What if I don’t know what I need help with or where I need to grow?” This is a great question—and one a good coach can help you answer. If you’ve never worked with a coach before, I recommend that you do some homework—both online research and asking people you know about their coaching experiences—to learn about the different types of coaching and what sounds like it would be most beneficial for you. Most coaches have a “get to know you” process that will help you discover if they are a good fit for you and can help you move towards your goals.

Here are a few things you should anticipate that every skilled coach will do for you: 

  • Be Fruitful. This is a big one. If you’re looking for help in losing weight, you’re not going to want to work with someone who is overweight themselves. This is not to say coaches don’t have areas of growth in their own lives, but they need to demonstrate that they’ve achieved the victories and gained the tools to help you win your current battle. If you want to see victory in your marriage, find someone with a successful marriage. If you want breakthrough in your parenting, find someone who has broken through in the same areas with their kids.
  • Be Consistent. You want someone who will be there when they say they will. They have the capacity to make space and help you on your journey.
  • Communicate Effectively. You want to make sure this person can clearly communicate with you in a way you hear and understand. They should be able to ask the questions that will help you clearly identify your constraints and goals clearly.
  • Be Trustworthy. A great coach will build a place of trust and connection where it’s safe for you to be vulnerable and open to their input. Even on your bad days, they will see the best in you and pull that to the surface over and over again.
  • Be Honest. A great coach will ask you hard questions and hold up challenging truths about you for you to see. Having someone that is going to be honest whether you like it or not is one of the best things I’ve had in a coach.
  • Hold You Accountable. A good coach keeps you in the driver’s seat. They will come alongside you to offer you tools and wisdom, but expect you to take full ownership and responsibility for your problems, goals, and growth. They will not let your pity party or excuses keep you from keeping your goal in front of you.

Ready to Explore Coaching?

The people I have personally met with see the most fruit from our time together when they come ready to work and face their problems head-on. Here are some questions to ask yourself to see if you’re ready to make the most of working with a coach:

  • Are you willing to be vulnerable?
  • Are you ready to see and own the problem?
  • Are you willing to put in the work to build a solution?
  • Do you believe that you can reach your goals with help?

If you can answer yes to these questions, then what I and other good coaches can promise you is that we will to challenge you to see the greatest version of yourself, bring you hope in what may feel like a hopeless situation, guide you to the resources and tools that you will need on this journey to your goal, and help you find the momentum you need to become your greatest success story. This is how true success happens—through partnering together and offering to others the strength we’ve received on this wild drive called life. Check out coaching here!

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