Young man texting on phone

Text Coaching

(This is an excerpt from the book Like Dragons Did They Fight by Maurice Harker, M. Ed (Get a free ebook copy.)

I can’t tell you how many times I have had a mother contact me in powerless desperation because they have a dearly loved son who needs help, but is too embarrassed, or afraid, or proud to ask for it. Not only mothers, but fathers and wives and bishops have approached me with the same dilemma. 

In the past, I tried several different ways to help these individuals, but they have always been insufficient. Too many of our loved ones who have not been able to live up to their own expectations are falling through the

Also, there are graduates who need help avoiding lost battles, as well as warriors in Sons of Helaman who just need an extra push. I have pondered for years how to help these young men—and I have finally found a solution. 

By Small and Simple Things

 And as usual, “…by small and simple things are great things brought to pass” (Alma 37:6). I have found a simple weapon, if used properly, is extremely useful for the long-distance addict, the warrior avoiding lost battles, and all others fighting addiction as well. This weapon is Text Coaching.  

Text Coaching is so simple and powerful. I am almost embarrassed it took me this long to find a way to make it work. As you know, it is not uncommon to find individuals with addictions and compulsive behaviors able to succeed for a period of time, but then they lose momentum and fall off the wagon. 

Text-Coaching (or T-Coaching, as it is often called) takes advantage of modern social media technology (texting) and allows struggling warriors to automatically receive several therapeutically formulated text messages each day from a Certified Text Coach. 

In these texts the client is asked carefully crafted questions designed to train their brains to overcome addictive and/or compulsive behaviors. For maximum benefit, the client is encouraged to answer every text as soon as possible after receiving it. These answers go directly to their personally assigned Text Coach, who assesses the answers to see if the state of mind of the client is strong enough for them to “win their battles” until they get their next text. 

The Text Coach will provide short interventions via text at least once per day. By winning for shorter periods of time the client gains the momentum needed to help them succeed for a lifetime.

Why is Text Coaching So Effective?

Text Coaching is effective because it allows thumb-tip access to professional help. When an addict first feels under attack, they are only one text away from instant support and motivation.

Text Coaching is effective because it increases the frequency of coaching. Many who fight addictions and compulsive behaviors can’t last a full week. Daily intervention through text coaching can make the difference between falling off the band wagon or not; and it is far more affordable than weekly treatment.

Text Coaching is effective because it costs less. Text coaching is less than half the price of even a low-end weekly group therapy session, where the addict will be seen only once a week.

Text coaching is effective because the client retains anonymity. Many struggling warriors resist seeking help due to humiliation. They want help, but they are afraid of exposing themselves as addicts. Text Coaching allows anonymity from other clients. This can also prove a good first step towards more intense treatment, if desired.

Text Coaching At Work

One warrior, after using the Text Coaching program, wrote the following: “At first, I wasn’t enthusiastic about using Text Coaching. I was already attending group therapy sessions and I didn’t want to spend the extra $20 a week just for someone to text me. I didn’t need that—or so I thought. 
“Somehow, I don’t  remember exactly how, I got signed up, and I am eternally grateful I did—it has become a key to my success. Despite my initial hesitancy, I soon came to look at each text as a challenge—a challenge to see if I was man enough to answer. I made a game out of it. I wouldn’t receive a single text without answering it, even when sometimes the texts came at busy times.
“The hardest part was when I had to confess I had not been keeping my goals like marking my calendar, or running my border patrol. ‘Dang it!’ I would think when the text came, ‘I have to do that again!’ 
Looking back, that discomfort was exactly what I needed. I needed to be consistently reminded of the daily actions I needed to take, especially when I had been slacking. 
“I have been a graduate of the Sons of Helaman for over 6 months and I continue to use Text Coaching. I have noticed a significant difference in my battles depending on my faithfulness in responding to my texts. When I have been lax in responding, thinking, ‘I have this under control’, those have been the moments when I have been hardest hit. I love Text Coaching because it helps me stay focused all day long everyday.
“I hope many more young men will apply this program seriously. I am convinced that it is a powerful tool for overcoming the enemy that assails us.” –Jim

Consistency Matters

“It doesn’t work!” some warriors exclaim after receiving the daily texts and experiencing no improvement in their ability to fight battles. “It’s just a waste of time and money. I signed up, but nothing changed.”

When they say this, I ask them a few questions. “How many of the texts have you responded to?”

“Um…well…I have responded to some of them.”

“Okay, how often have you responded would you say— on average? Once a day? Twice a week? Once a week?”

If they’re honest they usually answer, “Once a day, maybe every other day. It depends.”

When I hear this I begin teaching my “IT” principle. When someone calls into IT technical support for help with a computer that isn’t working, before asking any complicated questions, the IT representative will ask:

“Is your computer plugged in? Did you try hitting the power button?”

This may be a no brainer, but often times the client will say, “Oh, wait, it wasn’t plugged in,” or “Where is the power button?” 

For a computer to work it has to be turned on, for Text Coaching to work, you have to “turn it on” by responding. Just signing up will not magically remove the addict’s habits, but it does give the warrior an ideal opportunity to daily remind himself why he is fighting and how he must do it.

I cannot stress enough the importance of actually replying to the text messages. Even if the answers are one sentence answers, or even one-word answers. Just the act of responding consistently puts the warrior’s brain in a different mindset.

Text coaching works. 

It works when it is used. Like any tool, if it is left on the shelf it is useless. Simply receiving text messages is not going to change much, but consistently responding to 6 text messages a day—that will make a difference.

If you are receiving Text Coaching and are not satisfied with the results you are receiving, I have a challenge for you.

In the next two weeks, respond to every Text Coaching text as soon as you can, even if it is one word. Be completely honest, if you haven’t run to your Flag Pole, or written on your calendar, say so—and then go do it.

Do this for two weeks and then use your internal scanning skills to see what changes have happened to you over the previous two weeks. It is a cool experience. 

Try it out.


Text coaching is $20 per week. Please call our office at 877-437-6877 for more information. You can also enroll through our online registration page. To receive a free ebook copy of  Like Dragons Did They Fight by Maurice Harker, M.Ed, click here.

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