Lynn Schoener 
November 6th, 2014  
Lynn Schoener
As a coach and consultant to organizations in transition, I work with leaders to develop coaching cultures and  improve employee satisfaction, team performance, and engagement.  My coaching work with individuals is designed to help them through...Read More 
Reflection Fuels Transition: Coaching the Big Questions 


A core component of my coaching practice is devoted to people in the shapeshifting terrain of transition. I strive to help them fine-tune their inner GPS as they trek this "nowhere between two somewheres."

It's challenging work with some coachees because it's less about "doing different" and more about "being with" themselves in often new and difficult questions. Big questions that require quality time, emotional honesty, and considerable soul-searching. Questions that currently have no clear answers. Questions that won't go away, and shouldn't. 


There's not much of an action plan or a timeline for the transition process. It's about staying in the tension of the questions long enough for the answers to reveal themselves. And they do. Eventually.

There are questions about Purpose, capital P. As in, "What am I doing with my life? Why am I disenchanted? Will I have the courage to answer my call, if it ever comes knocking?"

There are questions about Choices, capital C. As in, "Why did I do this? Why didn't I do that? What was I thinking?"

There are questions about Faith, capital F. As in, "Where did God go? What does He want? How will I know?"     


When our coachees lose the "red hot thread" of excitement and assurance about the dimension and direction of their lives, our role is to refocus their attention, again and again, on the profoundly important work of reflection. A focus on the former or future chapter diverts precious attention and resources from the metamorphosis underway. 
Speaking of metamorphosis--the "caterpillar to butterfly" transformation--what happens in that cocoon is rarely described in detail by folks pointing to the gossamer-winged wonder as a metaphor for change. Within the silky and secure sanctum of the chrysalis, the caterpillar is sacrificing what it has been to enable what it will become, dissolving and digesting its own tissues. A glimpse inside wouldn't reveal a caterpillar sprouting wings, but instead, what appears to be an undifferentiated soup.

Highly organized groups of cells, however, known as imaginal discs, survive the digestive process. Back when that caterpillar was still developing inside its egg, it grew an imaginal disc for each of the adult body parts--eyes, wings, legs-- it would need as a mature butterfly. Although the cocooning caterpillar looks disintegrated, the imaginal discs remain intact. The discs use that protein-powered goo to fuel the rapid cell division required to form the fully functional, sublimely beautiful butterfly.

When coachees surrender to the messy chaos of the transition process, I witness their imaginal discs at work. Everything they need for a passionate and purposeful future is already present; the protein is sourced from their patient willingness to examine their purpose, choices, and faith.


Coaches make great companions for the work of reflection. Our attentive curiosity and deep listening improves the quality of their inner conversation. It may be our best and highest calling.

I am thankful for you, coaches.





Copyright 2014 by Lynn Schoener



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