“In brief, coaching is the art and science of empowering people and organizations to move from where they are now to where they want to be”

Coaching? What am I talking about? No, I haven’t recently taken on training a stud soccer team, although that does sound fun. I’m talking about what you may have heard called “Life Coaching” or “Leadership Coaching.” One definition of coaching is: “the art and science of empowering people and organizations to move from where they are now to where they want to be. ”

The word “coach” was first used in the 1600’s to describe a carriage to get a person to where they want to go. Our modern day term of a coach in a sports sense- someone who is an expert in the field- didn’t come about until the 1800’s. Along those lines, I’d like to describe some important things that coaching is and is not so that we are on the same page.

  1. Maybe the biggest thing you must know about coaching- it is not giving insight or advice. The coach is not the expert in any way. Even if the coach knows a fair amount about the topic, they do not share their “insight.” This sets coaching apart from other areas like consulting, mentoring, discipling, counseling, etc.
  2. The person being coached (PBC) is the expert.
  3. The coach’s job is to ask questions that guide the PBC down a path they choose.
  4. Coaching helps people draw from information they already know, but may not realize they know, by asking questions that promote deep thought.

To sum it up: “Coaching is not teaching someone new things, but helping them pull from things they already know. It is so effective because the person being coached will discover things for themselves and create their own plan of action. They are then much more likely to follow through on that plan because they developed it and, therefore, own it!”

Coaching vs. Other Service Professions

Coaching: The term “coaching” comes from an old word for “carriage,” which is something that takes you from where you are now to where you want to be. Therefore, coaching is an interactive process that transports a person from where he is now in his life to where he wants to be. (expertise- PBC, deals with: present-future)

Counseling: Therapy deals with healing pain, dysfunction and conflict within an individual or a relationship between two or more individuals. The focus is often on resolving difficulties arising from the past which hamper an individual’s emotional functioning in the present. (expertise- trained counselor, deals with: past-present)

Consulting: While consulting approaches vary widely, there is often an assumption that the consultant diagnoses problems and prescribes and sometimes implements solutions. (expertise-consultant, deals with: past-present-future)

Mentoring: Mentoring can be thought of as guiding from one’s own experience. Although some coaches provide mentoring as part of their coaching, coaches are not normally mentors to those they coach. (expertise- mentor, deals with: present-future)

Training: Training assumes a linear learning path that coincides with an established curriculum. Coaching is less linear without a set curriculum plan. (expertise- trainer, future)

Discipleship: Christian discipleship is a process whereby a more mature believer builds a personal relationship with a younger believer and deliberately equips him/her in the skills of ministry, core doctrinal beliefs, Godly character, and the missional mandate of the Kingdom of God. It is directive leadership practice encased in a warm, relational bond. (expertise- discipler, deals with: past-present-future)

There are many different types of coaching: life, leadership, grief, team, group, crisis, and many more. The concept of all of them is to help the PBC find the next step in their journey.

Coaching is a concept that has been accepted widely in the business world. Most CEO’s and high level leadership in big corporations have a coach provided by their company. They truly value the benefits of a coaching relationship. Churches have been much slower to grasp the uses of coaching. I hope I can help spread the word about coaching through out the religious sector to see our churches reach their full potentials!

So hopefully you understand the premise of coaching. At this link you will find a brief bit of information that we have taught our students about coaching. It gives you the basic proficiencies. http://dl.dropbox.com/u/3598539/Coaching%20Basics.pdf. My next post will be talking about using coaching in ministry, XA, and lifegroups. I just wanted you to have an understanding of coaching ahead of time! It is a powerful tool to affect people’s lives and transform our churches and ministries.