Rev. Blake Spencer (shown below) graduated with the first class of coaches to complete LGBT Coach Training at Easton Mountain. Having had his own coach, Blake said, “I knew coaching works; I wanted to see if it would work through me.” He was attracted by the idea that coaching might provide him with an alternative career in the future. What he didn’t expect was that his journey to becoming a certified coach would be transformational for Blake himself.
Here is what Blake, who is a Presbyterian minister, has said:
Working in a church is no different in many ways than working in a company. What happens at work goes home with you, and affects other areas of your life. I had a conflict with one member of our congregation that was causing conflict throughout the community. It was affecting how I felt and behaved not only at work, but in all areas of my life. When I brought the tools that I learned as a coach to the conversation, I showed up differently. One conversation changed the quality of my relationship with that individual; it brought peace to the congregation; and through it I discovered a new way of being for myself.
For Blake, the biggest lesson he learned through coach training was the importance of self-observation. In doing so, he realized that as a leader he was coming into many conversations from a defensive posture; sometimes he was fighting his own battles, and other times he was standing in for others in the church. Today, he shows up differently as a leader. Through his training and self-observation, Blake came to understand, “I am a person that has value, has gifts. Knowing this, I come with more confidence, and that confidence has led to an enormous sense of peace.” Blake’s peace overflows into committee meetings, encounters in the hall, and one-on-one conversations. And it accompanies Blake at home just as fully as at work. “Part of it has been humbling; the majority of it has been freeing,” Blake said.
As Blake was completing a coaching session with one of his clients, she looked at him and said, “Coaching really works!” He smiled; coaching does work through Blake - and in one coaching session it transformed a relationship, a congregation, and Blake himself.