Sharpen Your Coaching Skills in 2023
If the last few years have taught you anything, it’s that adaptation is necessary and good. Finding the best ways to support people and teams in their personal and ministry development is an ongoing, life-long process. 

Written By Gary Reinecke

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

What worked last year might not work this year.  And things that you have used in the past can improve through practice and repetition. Simple things like reading books, taking an assessment or participating in a cohort are great ways to improve.  Even as a Master Coach, my goal is to get better and better. Here are 10 things I’ve gleaned from my experience that have helped me sharpen my coaching .     

10 Ways I Sharpened My Coaching This Year

10 ways to sharpen your coaching skills

1. Mirror Investment

Don’t want something more for someone else; than they want it for themselves. This is a lesson that needs to be learned over and over again.  It is easy to get in the way of yourself and put your agenda or desire to be the expert ahead of your client’s needs.  It goes back to the principle – your client must want whatever “it” is bad enough that they are willing to take responsibility.

2. The Holy Spirit wants in

“Holding space” to allow the Holy Spirit to speak, urge, inspire is powerful. When appropriate, integrate the practice of “holding space” into coaching appointments.   When I introduce the concept, I couch the exercise in a statement like, “this is a practice I’m learning in a cohort on spiritual formation and direction; would you join me in this?”  It has been met with a positive, open response and the result has been refreshing and impactful.

3. Trigger warning

It is so important to be aware of your triggers. I was really caught off guard this year when I was discussing the launch timeline for a new work with a church planter.  He mentioned two things that “triggered” an emotional response from me.  The two issues had to do with disciple making communities. They were hitting a core value of mine that triggered an emotional response.  I can’t remember having such a strong response in my 35+ years of coaching.  It certainly did not come-off the way I would normally react; I was way too passionate.  It reminded me of the importance of knowing my values,  what triggers them, and the importance of responding appropriately. 

4. Quality tech

A shift has occurred in video conferencing and an attractive background, ring light, quality camera and a higher grade microphone are becoming the norm.  The investment in a couple of key components will improve the quality of your video calls – moving them from good to great!  The investment you make in each of these is worth the cost.  Here are four ideas to consider:

5. Make the ask

There are a lot of aspects that go into the work of creating a coaching ministry or practice. You can have a really great product, be skilled as a coach, even be fully trained and credentialed.  In fact, you can have an amazing marketing funnel (checkout my favorite CRM – Less Annoying)- but if you can’t make the ask; you will never, ever, build a coaching ministry or practice.

6. Stay ready to grow

Every single coach has room to grow. It’s important to maintain a habit of sharpening your coaching skills. Be creative, use opportunities that are most natural and conducive to practice your coaching skills.  It may be while leading a small group or ministry team.  Or in dealing with family members in important conversations.  Or how about, when you are getting to know someone for the first time – make it about them and not about you!

7. Be generous

It feels amazing to receive.  Pay it forward and give back.  When you have people that can benefit from an introduction to someone that can help, make the introduction.  If you have resources – share them.  If you are able to give of your resources – time, money or materially; give generously.  One way I am doing that is serving in a ministry that is training “coaches” to empower homeless people, get off the street and move into self-sufficiency.  Very difficult and hard work – but a place where coaching allows you to pay it forward.

8. Develop your network

I’ve been working with learning communities for a couple of decades but the last year has reminded me of the joy I have in creating peer learning environments in cohorts.  Whether it is for developing disciples, leaders or coaches – the principles of a great learning community are the same: trust, vulnerability, high quality content and accountability – among other things. The mutual learning and community are huge benefits of these learning environments and set them apart from other ways of training leaders. 

9. Connect to the “Why”

Intrinsic motivation fuels action.   My wife Gina is a health coach.  She literally asks her clients the “Why?” question seven times before she is confident that the client gets to the root cause and declares their real reason to get healthy.  That is about 6 times more than I normally ask.  But when I’ve gone through the slow and sometimes tedious process of going deeper, the real reason people want to change usually finds its way to the surface.

10. Take care of yourself

I mean that in every dimension of your life, especially emotionally and spiritually.  It is no wonder we are confronted with a worldwide mental health crisis.  I’m not certain we can truly understand the wide range and long-term aspects of the pandemic on the emotional and spiritual well-being of the world’s population; but from personal experience – it was hard!  I’ve adopted a more rigorous habit of doing three things first thing in the morning: reading through the Bible (using the Bible in One Year Express app with Nicky Gumble from Alpha), a gratitude list and contemplative prayer.  One the last two I set a 10-minute timer because I am still learning and it helps me stay focused.  These three things have helped me steady the ship when times the seas of life have been turbulent, in my life.

What are some things you’ve learned this year to improve your coaching?

Sharpen your coaching effectiveness

Start off 2023 strong with a commitment to sharpen your coaching effectiveness. The first step is to identify your strengths and areas for development and there is no better tool for that than the 360° Christian Coach Assessment. This online tool is the only assessment for Christian coaches that is backed by thorough qualitative research. Included in your report are suggestions for the best resources to help you target growth in the identified areas. This assessment is truly the tool to take your coaching to the next level.

Harness the power of coaching for yourself and your coaching business or ministry by enrolling in the Coach Excellence GrowthTrack. The Coaching Excellence GrowthTrack is a continuing coach education cohort structured to maximize your growth and sharpen your effectiveness as a coach. Cohorts are limited to no more than 12 participants per session. Each session offers 10 hours of training:  1 Online Orientation (30 minutes) , 5 coach mentor sessions (60 minutes each), and 3 online interactive cohorts (90 minutes each). 

Every self-aware coach knows that there is no such thing as a perfect coach. There is always room for improvement, but where, with what evidence, with what priority, with what support? Christian Coaching Excellence provided me with answers to these questions.” — John, 2022 CCE Cohort Participant

The next cohort starts in January 2023. Learn how to get $500 off the cost HERE.

Cover Photo by Wilson Vitorino

Photo by Patrick Tomasso on Unsplash

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Slow Your Roll and Establish Disciple Making DNA

One of the pitfalls of launching small groups after the corporate gathering is established is that the DNA of disciple making can become secondary rather than primary.  This is a common problem when coaching church planters who, in their compulsion to “go public”, have found themselves relaunching two years later.  You as the church planter coach have influence in this decision.