By DeNeen Attard
Pastors and religious leaders from a variety of denominations use coaching techniques to help members of their congregation break free from restraints and open the door to unrealized potential and underutilized talents. In many traditional coaching practices, the emphasis is on the client, which is an important element but only part of the equation needed for success. As a minister or Christian leader, it is important not crossover into a humanistic approach which move the coach and the client away from Christ, the only source for true and sustainable positive change. With this in mind, here are some tips to help you and your clients create and maintain a Christ-centered coaching session.
1. Invest in proper training
As a minister or Christian leader your effectiveness and the success of your client starts with proper training. Do not assume that you know how to coach because you give advice and help others work through various challenges. The foundation and principles of coaching originate from neuroscience with very specific techniques and guidelines. Invest in training from an organization that adheres to the International Coaching Federation, (ICF) coaching guidelines. According to ICF, a coach’s responsibility is to:
- Discover, clarify, and align with what the client wants to achieve
- Encourage client self-discovery
- Elicit client-generated solutions and strategies
- Hold the client responsible and accurate
2. Acknowledge God’s authority
Remember, coaching is a partnership between the coach, client, and God. As such, God’s Word should be the final authority.
3. Know when to refer a client
Keep in mind that coaching is not counseling or therapy. Should situations arise such as addictions and serious trauma related issues it is best to refer the client to a trained therapist or counselor who is equipped to handle these types of problems. Depending on the severity of the situation, it may not be possible to continue with the coaching session until the issue has been resolved or addressed.
4. Equip your client with effective and easy to use tools
Provide the client with tools that will allow them to incorporate biblical principles into their coaching sessions and daily life such as scripture based affirmations. Some examples might include
- My value is established in Christ (Ephesians 2:6)
- I am valuable because God lives inside of me (1 Corinthians 6:19-20)
- I am full of wisdom and knowledge (Romans 15:4)
For more information on how to maintain a Christ-centered coaching session consider, Trinity of Coaching: God, You, and Your Life Coach.
“The Lord is my strength and my shield; in him my heart trusts, and I am helped; my heart exults, and with my song I give thanks to him.” – Psalm 28:7 (ESV)