I met with Joan for the first time last week. As I do with all of my clients, a week before our initial meeting I sent her a welcome packet. According to Collins (2009), it can be beneficial to explain to clients the difference between coaching and counseling, so I adapted the fact sheet he provides in his book Christian Coaching and included that in my packet. I also included a copy of the contract, my initial questionnaire, and Collin’s (2009) Graph of Life tool, as I know that it is important to set the tone for the coaching relationship in the first meeting. I try to give my clients the proper tools and information needed in order for our coaching sessions to go smoothly and for there to be mutual respect built between us (Collins, 2009).
In our initial meeting I learned that Joan is 45 years old, has been married for 20 years, and has two children in school. Jennifer has a very stressful job as a program director for an agency that works with children in the foster care system. Also, Joan’s mother had been living with her family until recently, when she was moved to a nursing home so that she could receive the 24/7 care that she needed.
Because I was sensing that Joan might be experiencing burnout like many individuals in helping professions do, I started to ask her some of the questions that I had learned from The Quick Reference Guide to Biblical Counseling (Clinton & Hawkins, 2009, p. 55), such as how she was feeling physically and emotionally. She explained that she feels tired all of the time, but has difficulty shutting her mind off at night. She also explained that sometimes she feels like she has nothing else to give. I continued to ask questions to help me see a better picture of the effect that burnout was having on her and also to help Joan to develop a level of trust with me.
The final task for me was for me to discuss Joan’s Graph of Life with her to better determine where she is now and where she...