“Control” is a word we use all the time, have you noticed? In science, every researcher insists on the careful documentation of experiments and the importance of control groups for accuracy in successful drug development. Television studios all have some control room, where people sit staring at monitors to determine which camera angle best captures the story that is unfolding. Every large airport in the world has a control tower, rising several stories above the surrounding runways. Men and women sit in those high control towers looking out on the horizon, while simultaneously watching monitors that display the exact location of airplanes wanting to land or waiting for permission to take off. The pilots are certainly flying the planes, but the controllers are in…control.

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A Deeper Faith Al Weir, MD May 21, 2019

CMDA offers its members and friends some great opportunities for educational travel, and I’ve been privileged to be in Greece and retrace the footsteps of Paul and his missionary journeys. On our trip, I vividly remember standing atop Mars Hill, reading aloud Paul’s address to those Stoic philosophers.

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I recently spent time with a dying man, a wonderful Christian man who was wrestling with end-of-life issues. As a pastor for a long time, I will tell you, this is not the first conversation I’d ever had with an individual facing a terminal illness who seemed perplexed by decisions he never had to think about before.

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Photo: Picspree

A loyal customer might look at a sign like that and wonder, “Will the new management know my name, or what I like, or even who I am?” And a potential new customer might wonder what went wrong with the previous management that would result in ‘new’ management being needed?

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Photo: Picspree

As he began his conversation with me, he said, “I hope I’m not disturbing you. But, since I saw your door open, and it looked like all you were doing was thinking, I wondered if I could share something with you?”

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Photo: Unsplash

Word pictures represent important tools coaches often use in helping their clients ‘re-frame’ or visualize their lives from a different perspective. And one of the word pictures I have often described involves what I call ‘the dilemma of a grocery cart.

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“Is This Gonna Be On The Test?” December 13, 2018

During the 2016 presidential debates, one of the big “scandals” of that season was the discovery that one of the candidates may have known beforehand some of the questions that would be asked during one particular debate. That’s, of course, problematic. It’s a lot easier to answer a question you anticipate or know is going to asked, if you have time to think about it ahead of time, especially if your opponent doesn’t have the same advantage.

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What Do You Need Right Now? January 17, 2018

My wife and I will be in a meeting this week. We’re a little late this year scheduling our ‘meeting,’ as we had guests in our home over the New Year holiday, and it’s taken us this long to ‘clear the deck’ and be able to focus on what’s become an annual calendar event: It’s what we call our ‘Where have we been, what do we need, and where are we going this year’ conversation.

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The “Force” May Not Be With You November 21, 2017

December 14, 2017 marks the day “Star Wars: The Last Jedi” is scheduled to appear in theatres across the country. No doubt, lines will be long and start forming hours before the first showing, as patrons vie to be among the first to see the latest Lucas Films offering, and remember again those epic words, “The force will be with you.”

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The Value of the ‘Reset’ Button November 13, 2017

A few months ago, my wife got us one of those fancy vacuum cleaners that will suck up everything from casual dust to extraneous nuts and bolts that might be lying around, without so much as a hiccup. In all honesty, I actually enjoy vacuuming with that thing. Spot a speck on the floor. Roll that wonderful piece of ingenuity over the top of it, and bingo, it’s sucked into the bowels of the machine, never to be seen or heard from again.

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A Word About…’Fixin’ October 26, 2017

I’ve been traveling and vacationing in the South for the past several days; Atlanta, and the Stone Mountain area, and then on to Gatlinburg, Tennessee and Pigeon Forge, hometown of Dolly Parton. While I grew up in the Midwest, most of my relatives are from the Ozark Mountains of southeast Missouri. Spending the last few days as a tourist in Georgia and Tennessee reacquainted me with a vocabulary word I’d almost forgotten. It is the word, fixin.

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As-Built Check List September 12, 2017

My wife and I recently decided to add solar power to our home. We’ve lived in our house about eleven years now, and we thought solar power would be a wise investment. Our solar contractor is a personal friend, and after we settled on the location of our panels and an approximate installation start date, my friend said he would ‘get the ball rolling’ down at the county planning office, applying for a solar permit.

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How’s The Chair You’re Sitting In? August 17, 2017

Often, healthcare professionals I coach feel a need for change in their lives, but they’re not exactly sure the direction of that change, the shape of the change or the timing of the change. Many of our CMDA members have discovered that coaching can be a useful tool in helping to define and clarify effective change in their personal and professional lives.

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Change, Transition, and Transformation May 16, 2017

Dr. Sartori and I recently finished leading CMDA’s 8-week, live webinar, 503 Coaching Change, Transition and Transformation. What a rich time of growth, learning and fellowship! The nine participants have now completed thirty-two hours of ICF-certified coach training with our program, AND, they received the added bonus of twenty-four hours of Category I CME credits.

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A Word About…Books April 13, 2017

WE ARE A FAMILY of musings and stories and books. In fact, I come from a long line of storytellers. Some people talk with their hands. Some people talk with their eyes. I have to talk with my stories. Without my stories, I fumble for things to say. I struggle to communicate. But with stories, musings, “first-person-happenings-to-me,” I am freed from the need to think in words, and I can communicate in pictures drawn with sights and sounds and smells. I guess that’s why I love to write.

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A Word About…Doors April 6, 2017

During my years as a coach of Christian doctors, a common topic of interest has been ‘doors.’ Perhaps a doctor has an opportunity for career change or advancement, and wants to coach about whether to walk through Door A or Door B (or there may even be Doors C, D, E, and F!)

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The Ping of the Hammer, the Squish of the Clay March 29, 2017

Every day, I live some and I die some; I save some, and I lose some. I find life, and I lose life. Kingdom living is like that. Jesus said, “Whoever seeks to save his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life will preserve it.” (Lk. 17:33, NKJV) Eugene Peterson’s The Message put it this way: ‘If you grasp and cling to life on your terms, you’ll lose it, but if you let that life go, you’ll get life on God’s terms.’

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Feeling the ‘Burn’ in Burnout February 28, 2017

There is absolutely no question that physician burnout is on the rise in medicine today. Numerous studies have supported the reality that physician burnout rates range from 30 to as high as 65%, depending on specialty. Burnout, of course, isn’t a ‘disease’ a physician would prescribe medicine for, or even necessarily diagnose in one of his or her patients. But it is a ‘dis-ease,’ to be sure. Burnout is a long-term stress reaction, which includes emotional exhaustion, depersonalization, and a lack of sense of personal accomplishment. For a certainty, Christian doctors are not immune to the effects of burnout, and one of the primary elements of CMDA’s coaching ministry is helping Christian doctors manage and address the challenges of burnout in medicine today.

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Perspective… February 22, 2017

God is very wise, When He decided it was time for “time” to begin, He divided life into bite sized pieces—seconds and minutes, moments for living—each identical in length to all the others, yet each totally unique.

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That’s A Good Question February 8, 2017

Experienced and skilled coaches use a variety of tools for helping their clients think, re-think, or ‘new-think’ ways of seeing things. Sometimes, just looking at a circumstance or situation from a slightly different perspective can produce breakthroughs. Asking powerful questions can be amazingly effective in helping individuals see things in a different way. And, as a coach, one of the most affirming comments a client can make to me, (after I’ve asked what may seem like a simple question) is an even simpler response: ‘Hmm? That’s a good question.’

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Are You Suffering from ‘Hurry Sickness?’ December 16, 2016

Author Lewis Grant describes a condition he calls, “Sunset fatigue,” end-of-the-day behaviors he says may indicate that an individual has been “infected” with hurry sickness. Here are some of the symptoms he has identified. Sound vaguely familiar?

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The “Happiness Habit” of Being Thankful November 17, 2016

I love Fall. It’s a season of beautiful foliage, football, and a time for me reflect and celebrate the Thanksgiving holiday. This year, again, I plan to take time throughout the Thanksgiving season to thank God for my many blessings. (My wife and I are particularly thankful this year, with the arrival of our first grandchild a few weeks ago!)

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Discipler, Mentor, or Coach? October 25, 2016

I love coffee, especially in the morning. I don’t know how many times I’ve walked into some local coffee haunt for my morning ‘fix,’ and noticed a group of men or women sitting at some corner table, bibles open, as they are obviously having a ‘group’ discussion around the word of God. Invariably, when I notice such a group, an unavoidable question pops into my head: “I wonder if the leader is discipling, or mentoring, or…coaching?

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No Easy Answers October 18, 2016

One of the most important ‘tools’ in a coach’s toolkit is the skill of asking ‘powerful’ questions. All CMDA coaches are certified through the International Coach Federation (ICF), the ‘gold standard’ organization for professional coaches. And the ICF lists ‘powerful questioning’ as one of the eleven core competencies necessary for coaches to achieve an ICF certification.

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