Monday, November 19, 2012

Changing Lenses: The Process of Life Coaching

by Sheri Philips        

The first time I ever had a life coach, I just knew I was going to figure out my true calling and exactly how to walk right into it – at least that was my plan.  With all the excited fiber of my being I stepped into each coaching session looking forward to the expected “to do” list.  Between sessions I quickly conquered the “to do’s” on my action sheet so I could proudly turn them in and say, “What’s next?”  At the end of a year with my coach I was disappointed to realize that I hadn’t achieved my transformational goal even though I was an “A” student (there are no grades in life coaching, by the way). 

What I didn’t realize at the time is that I was functioning as if I could change my life externally just by willing change to happen and accomplishing everything on my lists.  Since that time God has taught me that He is the author of transformation – a miracle that happens internally, in the dark and quiet of our souls that eventually breaks out into the external world

I was catapulted into this realization at a retreat for women leaders in higher education.  During the retreat God spoke right into my heart, “I love you because of who you are, not what you do.”  I knew this intellectually, but until that day my heart had not received it, nor did it fully know it.  From that time until now, my “to do” list has only one item on it: Put down your will and your ways to accomplish and relinquish them and your future into God’s hands! 

I have learned a lot about what it means to be a “human being” instead of a “human doing” since I started on this pathway.  It means that daily I put myself in the presence of my loving Savior with three desires: to know myself as His beloved, to love Him in return, and to receive my assignments!
As a life coach and spiritual director, I have three goals when I meet with people:

11.)     Help them identify their stuck places (where and why they are stuck),
22.)     Help them kindle their passions, skills, and callings, and identify where the “river of life” is flowing for them.
33.)     Help them strategize the pathway to new destinations.

Not so ironically, this is exactly what God does with me when I am in his presence.  He puts his finger on stuck places and reveals where I’m stuck and why and he helps me to see what is bringing me life and urges me to step toward it. And he has taught me if I wait for His timing, he will show me exactly how to do what he is calling me to do.

How have you learned to live out of who you are instead of what you do?
With over twenty years in Nonprofit Management and Higher Education Sheri Philips now serves as a Life Coach. Check out her website: You can reach her at


  1. Sheri, I have had 18 'occupations' and been fairly successful at some and very successful at others. I believe they were all God-pleasing; however, none of them were the exact calling he had in mind for me. Even though I knew I was meant to be a writer, it took me 55 years to actually follow God's direction and do it. All of those years have definitely provided me with material.

  2. Sherry, thanks for this reminder on living as a "human being" and not a "human doing." I so easily shift focus and worth from who I am to what I do. This was good timing for me. I'm saving this blog!