March 09, 2022

How can you help your clients focus on what is most important?
Are you hitting all the issues with a client but still not seeing results? Where is the disconnect? You may not be using all the tools in your coaching tool bag to their greatest advantage. Competence in this one important area can make all the difference.

Written By Gary Reinecke

ICF Master Certified Coach, Resource Designer, Mission Strategist : InFocus

Focus on what is most important

Even when you are firing on all cylinders, coaching sessions can sometimes fall flat. Competence in one important practice makes all the difference for you and your clients. When you are abiding in Christ, you are not only actively listening to your clients but to the insight of the Holy Spirit—that’s when things really take off!  

Where I fell short and what I’m doing about it

I’ve mentioned in previous blog posts that I have taken this competency seriously. Primarily because in my initial 360° Christian Coach Assessment in November 2009, abiding in Christ was my lowest score. More recently, I’ve had a growing desire to experientially understand what spiritual formation entails and how it connects to spiritual direction. This is where the two worlds intersect – Christian coaching and spiritual direction, with abiding in Christ as the common denominator.

As a result, I am participating in a three-year cohort in the doctoral program at Fuller Seminary. Additionally, I have enlisted the services of a wonderful spiritual director who has given me the gift of listening prayer, friendship, and support. Through that relationship–and a triad I meet with every other week–I am beginning to get a glimpse into the nuances of Abiding in Christ that only comes through the crucible of life and ministry. It goes beyond head knowledge into the more subtle places in our souls.

Abiding in Christ in the context of coaching

focus on what is important

Abiding in Christ deals with the extent to which a coach seeks the Holy Spirit’s guidance at each stage of the coaching process and how much a coach depends on God in discerning the needs of those being coached.

As we enter the Lenten season, let’s not miss the opportunity to instill a renewed desire to know God as we prepare for Jesus’ resurrection. It is so easy to let this season–and the opportunity to increasingly know God–slip our attention. It is all too easy to find ourselves celebrating the Resurrection without acknowledging what comes before. Lent is an important reflective and repentant seasonal journey on the church calendar.

In coaching, as we Abide in Christ, we will sense a higher purpose in our coaching, a lighter weight to carry, and a deepening of the soul. The benefit to our clients? They will, hopefully, begin to think more about God and less about themselves. One among many, many benefits.

How do you develop your ability to Abide in Christ?

There is not a simple answer to this question. I mentioned how I am zeroing-in on this competency above myself, but that is just my approach. Your approach will be unique to you.  

3 Steps to help you focus on what is really important

Here are the first 3 steps of the Journey of Ongoing Growth to help you identity a path forward to address this important area in your coaching arsenal (Christian Coaching Excellence)

  1.     ASSESS: Where are you now?
  2.     AFFIRM: What can you celebrate?
  3.     GROWTH POINT: What needs to change? 

Step 1. ASSESS: Where are you now?

Many coaches find that they are strong in some areas of Abiding in Christ but not others. That’s when it’s time to drill down into each of the specific behavioral expressions that make up this competency.  Reflect on the list below and reflect on how you are doing in each area:

  • Character development: Consistently cultivate godly character through the application of biblical values.
  • Discernment: Listen, discern, and respond to the Holy Spirit as you make coaching decisions.
  •  Intercessory prayer: Pray passionately for the person or team being coached.
  • Prayerful preparation: Prepare carefully and prayerfully prior to engaging in a coaching relationship or appointment.
  • Spiritual guidance: Wisely apply spiritual resources (e.g., prayer, Scripture, spiritual disciplines) to guide the coaching relationship.

Step 2. AFFIRM: What can you celebrate?

It is easy to over analyze, causing many coaches to “freeze” or stall-out in their development.  That is why I encourage you to affirm the things you are doing well before you move to step 3.  Take a moment and celebrate what you are doing well under the five behavioral expressions.

  • Where are you strong? 

Step 3. GROWTH POINT: What needs to change?

  • Where are you weak?
  • What is lacking?
  • What is unclear?
  • Where are your blockages?
  • What directions for development do you see?
  • What are you hearing from God in this area? 

This exercise serves as an overview to orient you to the scope of Abiding in Christ as a Christian coach.  In the following weeks we will address each of the behavioral expressions in a devotional way throughout Lent.  Here is how we close this week’s focus on Abiding in Christ.

No better time than the present…

Please help me humbly submit to the Holy Spirit. Open my heart to hearing what you want me to hear, learning what you want me to learn, and doing what you want me to do. Please give me wisdom as I discern which areas to focus on and provide the grace to redirect me when I stray. Always remind me that all I do—in coaching as in life—is rooted in you. Apart from you, I can do nothing.

Christian Coaching Excellence

If you are ready to grow in Abiding in Christ and other important competencies of coaching, this is the book for you. Christian Coaching Excellence is the most comprehensive and in-depth source for Christian coaching skills, exercises, and insights. Meeting you where you are at, it leads you to develop your skills to mastery. Use it as a tool to zoom in with a laser focus on just the areas and skills that apply most directly to you right now. The practical wealth of knowledge gathered here provides you with a stockpile of just-in-time resources you can take and use right now. Available in paperback through Amazon.

Cover Photo by Tim Marshall on Unsplash

Photo by Zac Durant on Unsplash

That was a great coaching moment!

Most coaching assumes a formalized coaching relationship with a beginning, a middle, and an end, with clear goals to be accomplished along the way. However, you can also use your coaching skills in less formal ways– just as a way of relating and interacting. Think of it as a “coaching moment” instead of a “coaching relationship.”

Steps to Help You Make Decisions with God

You’ve got a big decision to make. When you make a decision based on the human intellect alone you might come away with a “good decision”; in contrast, when you consider God’s perspective on a matter you engage the spiritual dimension. This will lead you  down the path of prayerful decision making.

Can you find coaching in the Bible?

If you are trying to help others understand the biblical basis for coaching, here are two key scripture passages to help.

9 Ways Coaching Aligns with Biblical Principles

You may be wondering if coaching is biblical. The Bible never commands us to coach. In fact, the word coach is never used. So why coach? Should we even coach? Here are 9 ways coaching aligns with biblical principles.

The #1 Secret to Raising Self-Led Adults

You want your kids to become self-led adults. People who make good decisions, live into their gifts and talents, and contribute to their communities. The teen years are when the rubber hits the road. 

Purpose-filled Conversations with Your Teens

Conversations with your teens can feel one-sided. There are a lot of grunts and minute head nods, or if you’re lucky–one word answers. But this is a time in their development where they make important decisions that have lasting consequences. So, how do you move past casual chats to more meaningful and purpose-filled conversations with your teens? 

Coaching your kids

Translating your coaching skills to support your parenting will help you raise kids who have a clear understanding of who they are and have a solid framework for making good decisions. 

5 signs that you could be a better coach

You’ve been coaching for a while now. You may have even completed coach certification; but you feel there is something more… Are you coaching at your optimal level or could you be a better coach? How do you really know how well you’re doing? 

5 Steps to Clarify Your Values

Having trouble moving forward in your ministry goals? What about those you serve? If you are struggling to fill seats and find volunteers the issue may not be WHAT you are doing but a disconnect from the WHY.

Learning to trust your coach and your team

Are you at the top of your game? Even if you are, are you ready for what’s next? So many gifted and purposed pastors burn out because they are playing a solo game. Learning how to work with your team raises your effectiveness and reach in ministry.