While you won’t find the word “coach” in the Bible, you will find biblical commands to do certain things like: to make disciples, to encourage one another, to listen to the Holy Spirit, to follow what we sense God is calling us to do. Yet in most cases it never tells us how. How are we to make disciples? Is one method right and another wrong?
Certainly there are some methods that are wrong, all the way from forced discipleship to non-relational discipleship. But generally speaking, God leaves the methodology up to us. Any method that is consistent with the general principles of scripture may be used, provided the end is a biblical one.
Coaching is one such method—and in this case a method that is incredibly consistent with biblical principles.
9 ways coaching aligns with what we read in the Bible
1. Practices discernment
Coaching assumes that each believer has the capacity to hear from the Holy Spirit for themselves. The Apostle Paul modeled that listening and discernment process for us: “I speak the truth in Christ—I am not lying, my conscience confirms it through the Holy Spirit” (Rom. 9:1). We are to respect others enough to assume that they too can hear from the Holy Spirit and do not need us to tell them what to do.
2. Prayer is central
Coaching provides a safe environment in which people are actively encouraged to listen to the Holy Spirit. Set aside time for listening to God has always been a priority for those who believe. “Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed” (Mark 1:35). Just as Jesus spent time listening to the Father, we too need to set aside time and space that will allow us to listen for the voice of God.
3. Provides purposeful fellowship
Coaching provides a way to hear from God in the context of community and relationship. We weren’t designed to go it alone. We need others to bounce our ideas off. Others play a role in our hearing from God: “And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching” (Heb 10:24-25).
4. Mirrors the method of Jesus
Jesus listened and asked questions in the context of relationships, allowing them to draw their own conclusions and act accordingly: “When Jesus came to the region of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, ‘Who do people say the Son of Man is?’ They replied, ‘Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, Jeremiah or one of the prophets.’ ‘But what about you?’ he asked. ‘Who do you say I am?’ Simon Peter answered, ‘You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God’” (Matt. 16:13-16).
5. Helps people connect with their calling
Coaching assumes that God has different plans for different people. Coaching isn’t one-size-fits-all. All plans are tailor made and flexible. What one person is supposed to do isn’t necessarily the same as what another person is supposed to do: “As Jesus was getting into the boat, the man who had been demon-possessed begged to go with him. Jesus did not let him, but said, ‘Go home to your own people and tell them how much the Lord has done for you, and how he has had mercy on you.’” (Mark 5:18-19)
6. Identifies practical steps toward living a transformed life
Coaching moves people toward maturity rather than dependence. Instead of simply telling people what to do, coaching helps people mature in making their own godly and decisions. In this way, they grow in responsibility and in leadership. “He is the one we proclaim, admonishing and teaching everyone with all wisdom, so that we may present everyone fully mature in Christ.” (Col. 1.28)
7. Offers accountability
Coaching provides the accountability for people to move forward into what they have decided to do. Each person is responsible before God, yet we live in community. Coaching provides an effective way to be in relationship with one another, honoring one another and holding one another accountable. “As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another” (Proverbs 27:17). Coaching is a focused relationship that helps people continue to move forward.
8. Provides Christian community
Coaching provides an excellent means of living out the “one another” passages of scripture. Consider how coaching provides an environment for these “one another” commands: love one another, serve one another, encourage one another, be kind and compassionate to one another, speak to one another with psalms, hymns and spiritual songs.
9. Connects people to God
Coaching helps people stay connected to the vine. “I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful. You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me” (John 15:1-4).
This blog was extracted from The Biblical Basis of Coaching. You can download and print the original for FREE.
Photo by John-Mark Smith
Cover Photo by Tima Miroshnichenko