Choosing the right coach
Many—if not most—of the people who have tried coaching and say it doesn’t work have all made the same mistake: they chose the wrong coach.

Written By Robert E Logan

Christian Coaching Pioneer, Strategic Ministry Catalyst, Resource Developer, Empowering Consultant : Logan Leadership

In this field, anyone can call themselves a coach. So do your due diligence and don’t be afraid to be picky. Most coaches will offer a free consultation. It’s okay to talk to several different coaches, ask questions, and then choose the right coach to work with—the one who will best meet your needs. 

Your coaching choices

coaches to choose from

There are a lot of different kinds of coaches out there, and a lot of different definitions of coaching. So how do you know what kind of coach you need? Consider the different approaches and select the one you want and need: 

Some coaches mentor.

They share their experience. Often they have a great deal of life and ministry experience in the same area where you are working or desiring to work. For instance, a transitional pastor will coach new transitional pastors. Or an experienced church planter will coach new church planters. The goal of these coaches is to pass along what they have learned, and they will share their stories and experiences and knowledge. The most common outcome is that you will then mimic their experience and even their strategies.

Some coaches train.

They show you how they recommend doing it. A coach like this might guide you through the implementation of a discipleship program they developed. Or they might train you on a method for raising up small group leaders so you can do the same thing in your ministry context. The common result here is that you replicate their process or program. 

Some coaches consult.

They function more like experts, applying their experience and knowledge to your situation. They might come in, assess your ministry, and come up with suggestions for how you could do things more effectively. Sometimes this looks like organizational development or restructuring. The most common outcome here is that you reorganize according to their direction. 

And then there is Coaching.

There is certainly a place for all of these different approaches, and we believe mentoring, training, and consulting can all be quite helpful at various times. However, we see coaching—pure coaching—as distinct from each of these other skill sets. The coaching that we find most effective involves helping you trailblaze your own path rather than rely heavily on the experiences of others… especially when those experiences may or may not fit with your ministry context or your vision.

What does this kind of coaching look like? It looks like a coach listening you’re your own unique vision and then helping you unpack it. It looks like a coach asking you questions to help you determine what steps, strategies and methods might work to help you get where you want to go. It looks like walking alongside you and discovering a new path together. It looks like giving input as needed, but only after fully unpacking your thinking. 

Most of all, it looks like not having a pre-determined outcome for what your ministry should look like. Different is good! The Kingdom of God can have a multitude of flavors and facets and manifestations. 

This kind of coaching results in…

  • You being empowered to do what God has uniquely called you to do—making use of your unique gifts and strengths. 
  • You creating a ministry that is aligned with the culture of those you are serving—something that feels like home to them. 
  • You creating something that is distinctive in the kingdom of God—not a copy of what someone else has done. 

Interviewing a coach

As you’re interviewing potential coaches, here are a few questions you might ask them: 

  • How would you define coaching? 
  • In what ways do you bring your personal and ministry experience to bear on the coaching process? 
  • What are some of the models or structures you coach people through? 
  • How do you go about making recommendations?

Resources

Biblical Basis for Coaching- Why do we believe so firmly in the kind of coaching described above? This FREE download from Logan Leadership examines the ways that coaching aligns with scriptural principles.

*Becoming Barnabas– The biblical figure Barnabas created a ripple effect, empowering others and spreading outward into the broader community. Just as Barnabas empowered Paul, and Paul empowered Timothy, you can have an impact that multiplies far beyond yourself. This slim book shows how you can serve as a Barnabas – a son or daughter of encouragement. How you can disciple, develop, and support those around you.

Photo by Jametlene Reskp on Unsplash

Cover Photo by Brooke Cagle on Unsplash

*Amazon affilate link

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