What is Christian Leadership Coaching?
The first time it was ever used, the word coach described a horse-drawn vehicle – a stage coach that would get people from where they were to where they wanted to be. A modern bus does the same thing and often these vehicles are called coaches. Most often today coaches are people who help athletes and teams move from one place to another that is better and where they want to be. Even the best of athletes have coaches to help improve their game.
But coaches also help musicians, public speakers and actors, who rely on coaching to improve their skills, overcome obstacles, remain focused, and get to where they want to be. Today, coaching is very popular in business and corporate settings around the world where “executive coaches” help managers and other business leaders deal with change, develop new management styles, make wise decisions, become more effective, cope with their hyperactive lifestyles and deal with stress. Executive and Christian Leadership Coaches work with people in business to help them move from where they are to levels where they are more competent, fulfilled and self-confident than they would have been otherwise.
In summary, Christian Leadership Coaches guide people from where they are toward the greater competence and fulfillment that they desire. Christian Leadership Coaching is the art and practice of working with a person or group in the process of moving from where they are to where God wants them and their ministry to be.
Why would anybody want a Christian Leadership Coach?
• Get unstuck from their current position.
• Build their confidence in specific areas.
• Expand their vision for the future and for God.
• Fulfill their dreams for the Organization.
• Unlock their potential as a Leader, Friend and partner to others.
• Increase their skills, efficiency and organization.
• Move through transitions, and stages of life and Ministry.
• Increase accountability and “push back” to their ideas and thinking.
• Take strategic, practical and consistent steps toward their goals.
How does Christian Leadership Coaching differ from Counseling?
Unlike counseling or therapy, Christian Leadership Coaching is less threatening, less concerned about past problem solving, more inclined to help people reach their potential.
• Christian Leadership Coaching is not for people who need therapy to overcome painful influences from the past; coaches help people build vision and move toward the future.
• Christian Leadership Coaching is not about looking back, it’s about looking ahead.
• Christian Leadership Coaching is not about healing; it’s about growing.
• Christian Leadership Coaching focuses less on overcoming weaknesses and more on building skills and strengths.
• Usually Christian Leadership Coaching is less formal than the counselor-counselee relationship; more often it is a partnership between two equals, one of whom has experiences, perspectives, skills or knowledge that can be useful to the other.
What do Christian Leadership Coaches do to help others?
• Christian Leadership Coaches stimulate better skills. Good Christian Coaching helps people anticipate what they could become, overcome self-defeating habits or insecurities, manage relationships, develop new competencies and build effective ways to keep improving.
• Christian Leadership Coaches stimulate vision. Many individuals and Organizations have no clear vision or a fuzzy vision at best? They keep doing what they have done for years, without much change and with little expectation that things will ever be different. Christian Leadership Coaches work with individuals and organizations as they think beyond the present, more clearly envision the future and plan how to get there.
• Christian Leadership Coaches help people grow through life transitions. Whenever we encounter major changes in our lives–like a new job, promotion, a move, the death of a loved one, the launch of a new career, or retirement–we face uncertainty and the need to readjust. Experienced Christian Leadership Coaches better enable people to reassess their life goals, find new career options, change lifestyles, get training, re-evaluate their finances, or find information so they can make wise decisions.
• Christian Leadership Coaches guide Christians in their spiritual journeys. Many believers understand the basics of the faith and aren’t looking to be discipled. But they need focused time with somebody who has been on the spiritual road in different ways than themselves, who models Christlikeness, can point out the barriers to growth and can guide the journey.
• Christian Leadership Coaches speak the truth in love. Good Christian Leadership Coaches know that sometimes the best way to help is by refusing to ignore harmful behavior patterns. Instead, Christian Leadership Coaches nudge people to deal with attitudes and behaviors that should be faced and changed.
What Happens in Christian Leadership Coaching?
Christian Leadership Coaching is a relationship that most often is client-centered and goal-directed. Every coaching situation is unique but usually Christian Leadership Coaches will begin by exploring the issues that the person or team wants to change. In what areas does he or she want to grow? Sometimes the person wants to be a better leader, better self-manager, or someone with a clearer perspective about where to go in the future. Christians in coaching may seek to determine where God appears to be leading them to go.
Then there is the need for better awareness of where the person is at present. What are his or her strengths, weaknesses, abilities, interests, passions, spiritual gifts, values, worldviews, and hopes? Often the coach will use assessment tools to enable people to learn more about themselves.
Then comes vision. Christian Leadership Coaches may assist people, organizations or churches to formulate lifevision or life-mission statements. Christian Leadership Coaches might ask, for example: “Considering your gifts, abilities, driving passions, and unique God-given personality, what is your life mission?” It takes time to answer a question like that, but without a clear vision, people, Churches, Church Plants, Organizations, even governments tend to drift with no direction.
At some time Christian Leadership Coaches will help people set solid goals and plan strategic ways to reach these goals.
When obstacles get in the way, coaches challenge, encourage, and give accountability so the person can get past the obstacles and experience success. A coach can help you to remove the blinders, allowing you to see what you may not recognize and give support as you move forward.
A Christian Leadership Coach is there for you, prayerfully listening to your concerns and asking questions that will give you clarity on your situation, get you past your own blocks, realize your God given potential, and challenge you to be your best.
Copyright © Gary R. Collins, 2009, Modified and Used with Permission