August 7, 2014
By Phil Maynard
If you want to see real results and relationships, become a coach to others and take them on the journey from where they are to where they want to go! Coaching people through their faith journey will impact your life and the lives of those you coach…
-Phyllis Hendry, President and CEO, Lead Like Jesus
As Bishop Will Willimon puts it in the Forward to this book:
Discipleship doesn’t come naturally. Few of us have had any prior experience in speaking the truth in love, standing up for righteousness, forgiving our enemies, loving the unlovable, serving rather than being served. We need help…Jesus didn’t just call individuals to walk in his way…Jesus functions as a coach – in constant conversation, asking questions, listening to them, urging them on, evaluating their work, and helping them grow along the way.
Faith Coaching is a resource that helps disciplers become effective partners, participating in the work of the Spirit by coming alongside as an advocate and helper. Not as a person with all the answers but as a person who believes in the power of God to transform lives and in God’s intention for people to bear the image of their creator.
Coaching focuses on bring to light what the person being coached already know (but may not know they know!) and then helping the person to make decision and dtake action so they can move forward to some goal they have or a dream they want to achieve. Faith Coaching is designed to create ‘amateur’ coaches (as opposed to professional coaches with formal training and certification recognizing that the coaching skill set is a great tool for helping people tap into their dreams, helping others grow in their faith, and developing maturing disciples who have clarity about their next steps.
In a culture of assembly line approaches for everything from production of automobiles to spiritual formation, faith coaching offers a customized approach to spiritual development that focuses on the unique needs of the disciple and engages the disciple in designing their own path. Coaching helps people discover solutions, actions and results tailored for their unique situation. It is highly relational and provides a customized learning and development approach.
The authors present a nice overview of basic coaching skills including listening, asking questions, and guiding people through conversations and processes.
A basic flow of a coaching conversation is described, including:
- Narrowing the focus
- Exploring options
- Designing actions
Coaching is ‘action-oriented’. It includes gaining clarity about where you are and then moving toward a preferred future. The authors use a twist on the well-known phrase “practice makes perfect” substituting the word “praxis”. Praxis makes perfect. Praxis connotes the shift from knowing to acting or from theory to practices and habits. Aristotle puts it this way: “…we become builders, for instance, by building, and we become harpists by playing the harp…we become just by doing just actions, temperate by doing temperate actions, brave by doing brave actions”
So where does coaching work? Consider the following possibilities….
- Small group meetings
- Mission teams
- Volunteer development
- Administrative teams
- Key leaders
The authors make a strong case for the application of coaching skills to a variety of ministry settings. Coaching is effective because it’s a more personalized approach to helping others grow in faith and ministry.
Want to learn more about becoming a discipleship coach or a coaching leader? Check out the Discipleship Coaching Training and Train the Trainer events offered by EMC3 Coaching. These training events are offered by video conference.