I have always had an interest in the first day of summer, aka, “The Summer Solstice.” You see, I was born on June 20th, the last day of spring and what turns out to be the second longest day of the year in the northern hemisphere. I still recall being a kid and looking at my grandparents’ calendar from the hardware store, the one detailing the times for sunrise and sunset for each day.  The longer the days, the closer we got to my birthday.

I love summer because that’s when things grow.  Long summer days bring enough of the sun’s energy to earth to make crops flourish and turn water and nutrients into good food, green trees, and lush lawns. It’s the time of year of when the earth produces enough for the rest of the year.

What’s all this have to do with coaching?  Well, this is really just a chance for me to recount my love for summer, but I suppose there are also some things about summer that are analogous to the coaching relationship.  I don’t think coaches are “the sun,” but I do think coaches can serve an important role in the lives of folks who are experiencing a summertime season.  What I mean is that we all go through cycles of flourishing and floundering, and that as coaches we can be one of the ways God helps others flourish during times of growth and change.  Here are some other thoughts on how coaches serve during these summertime spells:

  • Light and Heat.  These are the signs of energy, and sometimes a clients needs one, or the other, or both.  Light is awareness and coaches facilitate the creation of new awareness for the client through our inquiry and our observations.  It is with new awareness that  perspectives shift, possibilities pop up, and new actions emerge.  Heat is challenge.  As coaches, it is oftentimes our role to challenge a client to push forward and reach beyond what she thought possible.  Challenge is a positive stretch forward, upward, and beyond so that what was out of reach becomes the new normal.
  • Work to be Done.  I don’t know who started the myth of lazy summer days, but I do know from growing up in a farming community that summer = work (and lots of it!).  When a client emerges from a winter season and is energized by a fresh vision, excited by a new project, or stimulated by a new relationship, it’s a sign that there is work to be done.  I know some clients who get so giddy about the initial wave of growth (the seedling stage) that they fail to cultivate the new growth so that it can bear fruit later on.  As coaches, it’s out role to consistently push for action because actions produce results.  I think one of the best things we can do for a client is to give him space to dream about what could be, time to marvel at the new realities emerging around him, and to then ask, “Now, what actions are required of you?”
  • Take a Break. The flip side of work is taking a break.  Smart farmers, gardeners and other summer seasonal workers know that working in the early and late parts of the day (while taking a siesta during the hottest and most dangerous part of the day) is smart and efficient.  Each summer day is long and so is the season itself, so it’s important to pace oneself.  Sometimes a client is so enthusiastic about a new endeavor that he loses sense of his own capacity and works too hard for too long.  Coaches often need to remind clients of the need for pacing and the value of breaks so the client doesn’t burn out, stroke out, or pass out.  We need to ask questions of the client about how he knows a break is needed, what a break needs to look like for him, and when he’ll know it’s time to get back to work.

Enough about serving our coaching clients, so what about you?  What’s growing in your garden this summer?  What new thing is emerging and needs your attention?  Are you now in a season of growth and change, or are you still staring at the calendar longing for those long summer days?  What do you need most during this season in your life?  Where could you find it and who could help you?

Blessings on you this summer!

Chad Hall, PCC, is a seasoned coach and big fan of summer.  He’s also Director of Coaching for Western Seminary, a Principal with Coach Approach Ministries, and a Partner with iNTERNAL iMPACT.