Creative Conversations

Oct 24, 2019 | 0 comments

The creative middle . . . that’s what I call the place between endings and new beginnings. 

It’s that often overlooked space in transition seasons which holds some of the biggest potential for discovery and growth. If we leverage the creative middle wisely and engage it fully, we’re most likely to meet with success on the other side. If not, we miss out on some wonderful opportunities to co-create an ideal future in partnership with the Alpha and Omega, God Himself.

Transition triggers the creative process like nothing else can. 

Just as the warmth of Spring triggers the onset of new growth, internal and external change can be the impetus for creative seasons in our lives. How we leverage these seasons of change can make all the difference.Creative conversationsplay a big part in the process.

Creative conversations …

What are they? What do they look like? Are you having them?

Creative conversations are ones that challenge us to think outside of perceived limitations and boundaries. They inspire us to experiment with new ways of believing, being, and doing. They cause us to see some situation-a crisis or conflict for example-from a new angle. They open our eyes to what could be. When we’re fortunate enough to have them, creative conversations can be the impetus for renewed hope and resolve.

Reflect on a time when you had a creative conversation with someone at a critical moment or crossroads in your life. What was the impact?

As I work with fellow transitioners, I’ve become convinced that some kind of consistent processing over a season is the key to successful transitions. I’m not simply talking about one-off conversations. These conversations can be inspirational and challenging, but with no follow-up or follow-through, we can stay stuck.

While navigating some personal life and ministry transitions, I’ve learned the value of consistent coaching sessions to keep me fully engaged in the creative process. If you’re not benefiting from consistent, creative conversations in your season of change you could be feeling alone, isolated, discouraged or confused. You could be stuck!

Coaching and Creative Conversations

Hiring a coach, particularly one in touch with the unique needs and experiences of global workers, can be a great way to break out of the isolation and start some creative conversations. A good coach is trained in the art of asking great questions and facilitating a structure around those questions to help you consider all the components of a healthy transition.

There are multitudes of titles connected to coaches these days: life coach, executive coach, health and wellness coach, transformational coach…and the list goes on. I often refer to what I do as transitions coaching,but in reality I’m a life coach who happens to be passionate about coaching global workers in transition. Get the idea? We could spend a lot of time discussing what a life coach does and doesn’t do, but I often say the best way to learn is by experiencing coaching first-hand!

When transition first triggers a creative process, it can feel more like confusion than opportunity. Something is upsetting the norm, and we’re not sure what to think about it and how to respond to it.

I recently coached a global worker who’s season of living on the field was drawing to a close. He wanted to engage the creative opportunity as part of the shift, particularly in the area of pursuing a writing career. Our series of coaching sessions lasted several months. As one creative conversation built upon another, confusion ultimately gave way to confidence as he began to see the creative writing process as an extension of his calling.

When someone dedicated to your personal growth and professional success expresses belief in you as a person with God-given creative potential, the borders begin to expand. We begin discovering creative opportunities to live out our callings as global workers. This is the role of a great coach.

Interested in getting coached? Here’s some tips to get you started …

Find the Right Coach for You

If you have a sending agency or sending church, inquire about the possibility of in-house coaching. If available, is it right for you? Or would you benefit from working with a coach somewhat more removed from your organizational and ministry context?  (You can find a list of coaching resources right here on the Global Trellis website.)

You may also want to ask around for recommendations. It’s very likely that someone in the broader expat community has benefited from working with a coach and would love to give you a referral.

Take your time and talk to a few potential coaches personally if you can. Get a feel for what they offer and what they’re passionate about when it comes to supporting global workers. Some coaches offer complementary discovery calls, which serve to give both client and coach an opportunity to determine if the coaching relationship will be a good fit.

What will it Cost?

How can global workers fund personal coaching when money is tight? Here’s some thoughts and suggestions:

Ask your sending organization about helping to fund a season of personal coaching. Convinced that hiring a coach can be a great step toward personal and professional development, some sending agencies have established funds to help offset the cost of coaching. At the very least, your inquiry could raise awareness of the need and spark a dialogue.

Consider asking a supporting church or individual to sponsor a certain number of coaching sessions.

Ask potential coaches and/or coaching organizations about discounts for mission clients.

Always keep in mind that working with a great coach will be well worth the time, effort and any out-of- pocket expenses you may incur. Therefore coaching should be viewed as an investment, a means of stewarding our callings well.

In summary, a great coaching relationship will challenge you to be your best and to live up to your God-given potential. It will require courage and intentionality on your part.

What impact could a season of creative conversations with a coach have on your transition—to another season of life, location, or type of work you’re doing on the field? Are you ready to find out?

Have you joined the Newsletter List Maintenance Challenge? Here’s what others are saying. “Thank you Global Trellis for this challenge.  I was curious how you’d be structuring the daily tasks and this was skillfully done–effective but not overwhelming.” Join today.

Photo by Jeremy Yap on Unsplash

Tim Austin

Husband of one. Father of three. Coach. Podcaster. Cross-cultural worker.




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