Coaching is incredibly powerful! Imagine how you would be impacted by someone who listened to you, helped you to listen to God, and then asked good questions which enabled you to focus on doing what God wanted you to do.

I love coaching pastors and church planters! I feel that God has uniquely called and gifted me to come alongside and help them discover what God wants them to do. (I presented much of the following at an Acts 29 regional gathering here in Southern California recently.)

What is Coaching?

Here are some good definitions:

“Coaching is an incarnational relationship between one leader and another intended to empower their lives and ministry.” — Steve Ogne and Tim Roehl

“Coaching is unlocking a person’s potential to maximize their own performance. It is helping them to learn rather than teaching them.” — Timothy Galloway

“Coaching is the process of coming alongside a person or team to help them discover God’s agenda for their life and ministry, and then cooperating with the Holy Spirit to see that agenda become a reality.” — Bob Logan

“Coaching is the purposeful ministry of facilitating meaningful change in the life of a leader.” — Tom Clegg

A Biblical View of Coaching

Coaching is part of the equipping responsibility described in Eph 4:11-12. Leaders in the church are to “equip the saints for works of service.”

The role of equipping is not just teaching – although that’s an important part of it. It also includes training and coaching.

Coaching is essential to empowering others to accomplish God’s purposes. It involves coming alongside to help others to do their part in God’s redemptive mission.

Paul writes to the believers in Thessalonica – “For you know that we dealt with each of you as a father deals with his own children, encouraging, comforting and urging you to live lives worthy of God, who calls you into his kingdom and glory.” 1 Thes. 2:11-12

Good coaches encourage, comfort and urge you to fulfill your God-given calling!

Practically speaking, what does this look like? (from Dennis Easter)

1. Encourage – Yes You Can! You can do this! – Celebrating what God’s doing through you.
2. Comfort – Yes You Will! get through this! – Gaining perspective
We’re not without hope, God is faithful, God didn’t bring you hear to abandon you.
3. Urge – Yes You Must! Keep going! Finish well! Don’t give up!

Coaches come alongside to help – like Barnabas came alongside Paul and John Mark. By encouraging and challenging others, Barnabus empowered them for ministry. He may not have been in the starring role, but without him many others would not have been able to accomplish the great things for God that they did.

The basics of coaching aren’t difficult and anyone can learn them. What does a Barnabus do? He helps people answer three questions: Where am I? Where do I want to go? How will I get there?

The goal of coaching is to help someone succeed. So – what is success? It’s finding out what God wants you to do and doing it. Given that definition, success will necessarily look different on different people.

Each person needs to discover for themselves what God wants them to do. Coaches aid that process, but they don’t direct it. Coaching is not about telling others what to do; it’s about helping them discover it for themselves.

The Value of Coaching

Bog Logan shares these benefits:

  • Provides encouragement for the journey
  • Cultivates wisdom and strategic insights
  • Discovers breakthrough opportunities
  • Maintains focus on the truly important
  • Transforms vision into reality

Coaching bridges the gap between Vision in a church planter’s mind – and Reality.

Coaching provides an accurate picture of where they are at – and helping them move forward to where they need to be – with support in the journey.

    • Coaching is not giving advice – people already know that they need to work on. It’s about support. They want to know they don’t have to navigate the difficulties of life on their own.
    • Coaching is not Counseling – which focuses on healing the past and therapy
    • Coaching is not Consulting – which focuses on strategic solutions provided by an expert (often prophetic in nature)
    • Coaching is not Mentoring – which involves someone going before and pouring into your life.
    • Coaching is coming alongside and drawing out.

In my church planting experience, I found that too often I looked to experts to tell me what I needed to do in the church.

Coaches help leaders to listen to God and what He wants done.

Good coaches don’t give instructions (Do This!). They ask powerful questions that help a leader to clarify what God is wanting them to do. If you tell someone what to do – you get a short-term win, but they may not “own” it.

God has called us to collaborative partnerships with other believers for accomplishing what He wants us to do. Hebrews 10:24-25 says, “And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds. Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another–and all the more as you see the Day approaching.”

God intended that believers join one another in walking down the path of growth. By walking together, we can gain a clearer sense of direction and purpose, seeing pitfalls ahead of time and discovering alternate routes when necessary. We can encourage one another when we lost sight of our destination. We don’t have to go it alone.

The Coaching Process

(from Coaching 101 by Bob Logan and Sherilyn Carlton)

Every journey requires a good map. Coaching is not different. Coaches need an easy framework that helps them understand what needs to be accomplished in the coaching process.

The coaching process consists of five basic phases. Coaching relationships need to move through each phase and accomplish the necessary outcomes to be optimally effective.

  • Relate – Establish coaching relationship and agenda
  • Reflect – Discover and explore key issues
  • Refocus – Determine priorities and action steps
  • Resource – Provide support and encouragement
  • Review – Evaluate, celebrate, and revise plans

I’ve been coaching pastors and church planters for many years. However, my coaching skills have improved exponentially after participating in CoachNet’s Coaching Certification Process and utilizing their online coaching tool. (check out: CoachNet)

Reflection Questions

  1. Who in your life has been a Barnabus, a coach, to you? What did he or she do?
  2. Who is currently coaching you? If you don’t have a coach, who could coach you?
  3. To whom could you be a Barnabus? Who in your life could you coach?

Pray and ask God to make clear to you how you can most effectively encourage, comfort and urge someone to fulfill God’s calling on their life.

Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”