3 Guides Every Leader Needs

Guides - Ezer + Co.

No woman is self-made.

You can’t fulfill your potential and calling without guides to move you forward.

You need others to help you move forward in life, but how do you know who the right person is to invest into your life? One of my favorite Proverbs is “plans fail for a lack of counsel, but with many advisors they succeed.” Collecting and engaging reliable voices in your life will be a huge predictor of your life’s wholeness.

As a certified coach, I’m often asked about how coaching is different from other types of mentors or “guides”. Because of the popularization of coaching in the last decade, there’s a lot of confusion about what makes coaching different and what makes a coach qualified.

I am also a firm believer that if you’re a leader, committed to wholeness, you need each of these 3 guides to help you work through your past, pay attention to your present, and move forward to design the future.

Here are the over-simplified, not comprehensive distinctions between the 3 approaches:

THERAPIST: past focus

A therapist is a healing science, focused on the past. A great therapist knows how to help you heal from family of origin wounds, trauma, process past hurts, and know yourself better in light of your past experiences. I’m a huge fan of therapy. I’ve personally had about a half dozen periods of time in my life where I’ve utilized a trained therapist for my specific issues. Every member of my family has been to counseling (even my 7 year old!). The healthiest of leaders I know are people who’ve spent significant time in a counselor’s office. I consider this healing discipline a requirement for healthy, whole-hearted life and leadership.


Spiritual Direction is a mystical practice, focused on the present moment. A spiritual director is someone who helps you hear the voice of God in your life right now. A fantastic spiritual director has discernment and often prophetic gifts that can help you tap into the mystical nature of God. Direction offers you the opportunity to open yourself up to a deepening relationship with the Divine. I’ve had the same spiritual director for over 15 years. Brian and I haven’t made a major life decision without asking her to help us hear from God well. I’ve utilized another spiritual director this last year as I needed to know where the Spirit was in the midst of some confusion and pain. Spiritual Direction is a beautiful and powerful practice. “Be here now” is a great mantra for a spiritual director.

COACH: future focus

A coach is a behavioral science, focused on the future. Coaching applies the art and science of transformation for how a person wants to move forward in their life. A trained coach is intuitive enough to know people are complex, thus coaching is an artful process. However, they are also skilled in how people change on a neurological and behavioral level. Coaching is rooted in behavioral science. It’s mandate-based, action-oriented, and results-focused. A coach’s job is to see how people relate to the future and to use that as leverage for the present.


It’s ideal when we have access to all three modalities of transformation. When I’m coaching someone I will often recommend using a therapist or spiritual director in partnership with coaching. Since they each focus on different aspects of transformation, each of them offer a unique perspective and approach. There are different periods of life when each modality is necessary and needs to be a priority.

However, just as you would never go to a therapist who’s not trained and certified, I strongly encourage you to work with a trained and certified spiritual director and coach. I’m not a certified therapist or spiritual director, so I don’t offer this kind of transformational work. I am a certified coach and, because coaching has changed my life, I love providing this space for others. It’s so empowering when we’re able to achieve our goals and move from here to there.

There are a lot of “coaches” these days. The majority of those who provide coaching offer reactive, advice-giving based solutions. That approach has its benefits, but it’s not coaching. They’ve positioned themselves as the expert with the answers for your life. Since coaching is a developmental science, be sure to get a coach who practices the art and science of results-based coaching. Before you jump into a coaching relationship, ask about their training and ongoing coaching development. Not all coaches are the same.

We offer 3 different types of coaching:

  • Join the next Coaching Group HERE. Don’t delay. Spots are filling up!!

  • Activate 1on1 coaching to design your future.

  • Become a certified coach so you can guide others toward holistic transformation. Learn more and register for October’s training HERE.

You Are Here

You Are Here - coaching group
If you want to go somewhere you haven’t gone you must do something you haven’t done. Make the damn investment. You are worth it. Learning alongside women who bring their full humanity to the table and lead from a place of wholeness.
— Gabrielle E.

You are here.

Before you can get to Point B, you have to identify Point A.

I’m traveling this week. I’m speaking at a high school camp in the wooded hills of southern-ish Oregon. It’s stunning. I’m sitting in a Starbucks right now, stealing a couple of hours away in order to define where I am right now in life and leadership. July is over today. August begins tomorrow. In the next week Brian and I will celebrate our 18th anniversary and my 40th birthday. Our kids go back to school in 13 days (Yes, I’m counting. Judge if you wish). Another summer break has come and is nearly gone (the kids broke me…not the other way around). Another year of marriage and pursued partnership together. Another decade of my life has nearly concluded.

I am here.

When I got into my rental car at the Eugene airport, the first thing I did was plug in my phone to the car’s USB and pull up my maps to get directions to the camp. Before I could even type in the address, it asked me where I was. Was the Eugene airport my “current location”? Before I could get directions to where I wanted to end up, I had to identify my current location.

Truth is, there were about 6 different ways I could get to the camp. I could take the scenic route. I could take the highway. I could choose a route that would maybe shave a few minutes off my time, but risk getting stuck behind a logger truck that would add 30 minutes to my commute. I could take the route with more miles but I could drive faster and get there in the same time. Did I want to take the most direct route? Which route would give me cell reception for the most amount of the drive.

Decisions. Decisions.

But it started with identifying where I started. I decided that I wanted the route my friend, Robb, told me to take. It wasn’t the route my maps app kept telling me to take. It wasn’t the directions the camp emailed me. I wanted the directions from a trusted guide. I wanted to follow his lead. I also wanted to take the route with the least probability for interruptions, distractions, extra turns, and had the most access to lunch options. I began knowing that I was tired from a half-day of travel and I didn’t want all the extra guess work. I knew that I wanted to conserve mental energy because I needed to speak when I got to camp. I assessed that I wanted cell phone access for as long as possible. So, I chose Robb’s route.

Life + leadership are the same way.

There are multiple routes to the same destination. But to get to Point B, you need to identify three things:

POINT A: Where are you now?

This is non-negotiable. Where are you starting? What’s happening in your body, mind, and spirit that will inform where you go from here? What’s missing? What do you not have now that you want in the future? Defining reality is the starting point to going anywhere worth going. Identifying your starting point is a critical first step. Most of us begin with what we want and where we want to be. But just like a maps app, you cannot get to Point B without first specifically knowing where you are today.

POINT B: Where are you going?

If you want to live fully, you need a direction. You need to determine where you want to end up. The more specific you are about what you want and where you want to be, the more likely it is for you to end up in that preferred future. While you likely won’t have a detailed strategic plan for the next 10 years, you need to be able to articulate what you’re dreaming, wanting, and imagining for your future. Designing a life you love is the best work you get to do with your life.

COACHING: Who will guide you?

None of us are self-made. No one gets to where they want to go without a company of others who help them along the way. All of us need guides who will help us get from Point A to Point B. You don’t just need a guide, you need a road map; a plan to get you from where you are to where you want to be. If you didn’t need a guide and a road map, you would already be at Point B. Just as Robb gave me insider tips so I knew how to get to camp in the best way, we need others who will show us how to move in the direction we choose.

(PS. The fun part of this story is that I’ve coached Robb in a couple different points to move him from where he was to where he wanted to be. It’s been such a fun week speaking into his people .)

Leaders, you need more than you may even realize. If you have the holy responsibility of taking people to places where they need to go, it starts within you. You need to know your personal Point A, Point B, and have guides because we all know that leaders can only take people to places where they’ve first gone.

But then, you also need to know where you’re taking your people.

That’s what we are committed to providing at Ezer + Co.

In September a Coaching Group for Women in Leadership will begin a 6-month journey together. I cannot imagine a better journey for you to figure out the best route for your life + leadership. Enroll today. Spots are filling up and you are worth it.

As a woman leading outside of a church, this was an incredible opportunity to sharpen skills and examine myself deeply. Deeply. Taking this time to do the inner work, with the guidance and wisdom or April has created life change in me that I couldn’t have done alone. I have done the work and am ready to be launched into living in true wholeness as who I’ve been created to be.
— Jackie D.