Monday, January 19th, 2009



Lord, I need a dream worth giving my life to.

I need a life worth waking up to each morning.

I need a mission bigger than me.

I want to believe for not only me, but also for this world.



(A Prayer by Erwin McManus)

I love the bigness of this prayer. To help someone paint a vast mural for their life and then help them get there is the stuff of this coach’s dreams. This is how I think about my own life – I’m a “big picture’ kind of person. But often my clients don’t aspire to this level. The issues they bring to the conversation seem mundane and small as I view them through my “BHAG” filter (big hairy audacious goal). I want them to want more. I’m locked and loaded for a coaching exchange that promises to catapult them to the stratosphere, and beyond. But to my dismay, that’s not what they are looking for. They want some smaller and, in my estimation, less significant outcome.

But who am I to determine that those small things aren’t able to clear the way to a new dream or make their life more worth waking up to each day? Zechariah 4:10 warns me not to “despise the day of small things” because the small things are forerunners of more significant things –missions that are bigger than me, bigger than my client. 

The road is paved with small things that will make or break us – those tolerations and obstacles that drain our hope, piling on stress and exasperation, but ultimately proving our mettle. It seems that all those “small things” just might serve a grand and divine purpose that I’m going to miss as I prematurely herd my poor clients toward bigger (but not better) goals.  What’s worse is, my client will miss it too.

I will be reminding myself of the Zechariah passage before my next coaching session – because the small stuff counts.

The Butler Bag

The Butler Bag

I bought my wife a new purse for her birthday.

Let me be clear — she picked it out; I paid for it.  The fact is that she insisted this purse be her birthday gift.

It’s called a Butler Bag.  Evidently these are all the rage.  The selling point is that these purses have a place for everything.  Simple little compartments in the bottom of the purse organize the contents and make finding stuff  much easier.  Very nice.

What’s this have to do with coaching???

Some coaching clients live a life that feels too full.  You hear such clients say things like I’m overwhelmed, I’m juggling too many tasks, or I have more things to do than I have time to do them.  And things to do aren’t the only clutter.  Relationships, priorities and direction can get cluttered.

These clients need a Butler Bag.  Not the purse, but the concept.  They need help taking out all the stuff, sorting it, throwing some out and deciding what’s worth carrying around.  They also need help with a system for organizing what they keep.  Coaches can help clients with all of this: unpacking, assessing, organizing and developing ongoing systems for keeping things tidy.

I remember my first coach aiding me with this sort of thing.  Scott Eblin (a corporate coach in VA) guided me through a process for unpacking all that I was doing, clarifying the three roles I really want to play professionally (coach, writer, trainer) and how I could use those roles as an organizing force going forward.

Ever since that coaching engagement (way back in 2002), I’ve known much better  how best to show up in order to get done what I need to get done.  Simply having these roles as an organizing force to apply to my work helps me: know what’s worth doing, get to my work more quickly, direct my efforts for greater impact, and know when I am done.

What about you?  When have you helped coach others toward a Butler Bag of their own?  When has someone coached you toward this?