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. 

Written By Gary Reinecke

ICF Master Certified Coach, Resource Designer, Mission Strategist : InFocus
Not too long ago we were parenting our two high school age children through this exciting phase in their development. Today our children are in their early to mid-twenties and together, we have grown into new ways of communicating – both parents and young adults.  

Coaching Can Help

First, I am not an expert in parenting. But I have learned a thing or two about coaching and helping people take action towards the direction God has designed for them in life and ministry. 

Second, this tool is not limited to parenting. It is an essential tool whether you are working with teenagers in youth groups or wherever you’re connecting with people in meaningful ways to help them take the next step on their journey to follow Jesus’ mission for their life. I found that I had a multitude of examples of these shifts while empowering my teenagers to become self-led adults. 

What Are They Interested In?

One of the things we did very early with our kids was introduce the idea of internships.  Whatever their interests were, we connected them with people we knew and respected in that particular field.  We had both kids in summer internships by the time they entered high school.  This was important for their development because it gave them a sense of responsibility, curiosity and confidence.

To learn about the kids’ interests, we had to be disciplined in our interactions. We forced ourselves not to react when we heard “surprising” developments about what they experienced at school that day with a classmate, or what a teacher said that might have been taken out of context or the latest slang terminology. 

Instead of reacting we responded with – “tell me more?”  Sounds simple. And it is in theory. Try it next time you interact with your teenager.

Bottom line, it began with a curiosity in the work and progressed to an interest to the point of taking action. 


Encourage Environments for Discovery

Our eldest was interested in finance. His first internship was with a real estate broker. The broker saw that our son was a fast learner. By the end of that summer our son had processed the paper-work for a $1million loan (under the watchful eye of the broker). What did this do for our son?  He discovered certain parts of the job he enjoyed, others he did not enjoy as much and still others that were necessary but not his passion. 

Our youngest wanted to work in a pediatric physical therapy clinic. The children were on a spectrum of mild to severe disabilities. As a young teen, my daughter supported the work of the therapists, and interacted with the patients and parents. Similar to our son, she learned a number of lessons that she stored in her memory banks for her future schooling and career choices.

Here’s The Secret: Listening

Our key tool to helping the kids connect to environments for discovery was to listen. We listened as they talked about their classes and their friends, to their thoughts on current events, and for the solutions they came up with to solve problems. As they processed what was going through in their heads, we would be listening for a sign that they were at a point of taking action. 

This level of listening is a big shift from parenting younger kids, where there is more instruction (and control). 

Shifting From Talking to Listening

How can I ignore my tendency to share my wisdom and seek to listen?

Here are 5 coaching strategies that will help you navigate the significant change from advising to assuming a listening posture.

1. Take the posture of a learner

You don’t know it all. As parents we certainly have more experience and your wisdom may be right and good but there are realities that teenagers are navigating today that are outside of your expertise. 

2. Remain silent

It takes some time to come to good conclusions. Stay in a quiet place while your son or daughter processes what they sense the Holy Spirit is saying to them. They are more likely to take ownership and action on their own ideas.

3. Be patient

Here’s a hard one—actively remain in a non-anxious state. Trust the Lord, trust the process, trust your teenager. You have poured a lot of love and training into them, now is the time to allow it to take hold and for their decisions to become their own.

4. Summarize

Every person on the planet has a deep need to be seen and heard. Show them that you are listening. Without contaminating what your son or daughter is processing, summarize what you heard them say. 

5. Ask “Is there more?”

Make sure they have gotten it all off their chest, that they are at a resting place in their process. No other question is needed at this time. 

360° Christian Coach Assessment

The work you do as a coach is important so you want to be the best coach you can be. There is no better tool to assess your coaching skills than the 360° Christian Coach Assessment. 

This online tool accurately pinpoints your coaching strengths and areas for further development. Use in conjunction with Christian Coaching Excellence for targeted exercises, maximizing your time and effort to raise your effectiveness as a coach.

Click HERE to take the 360° Christian Coach Assessment today.

Cover Photo by Aariana Maynard on Unsplash



Coaching to Develop Problem Solving Skills

Your clients come to you because they are stuck and need help moving forward. Often, because you are experienced and have the benefit of objectivity, you can pinpoint the problem and have a good idea where the solution lies. It’s tempting just to provide that help, knowing that clients will find it helpful. 

22 Questions to Ask the Mid-Sized Church

On the surface, finances might be healthy, facilities appear sufficient and staff are content. Underneath the veneer however there may be a high level of dissatisfaction – and reason for concern! What strategies do you use when coaching pastors of mid-sized churches? 

6 Strategies for Landing New Clients

You are poised and ready to help people and you are getting a lot of interest in coaching. Now you need to turn those potential clients into contracted clients.

Coaching the Small Church Pastor

There are wonderful things about working with small congregations, but just as with any church, there are potential pit-falls to be aware of from the perspective of a coach.

6 Ways You Can Upgrade Your Coaching Questions

You don’t just want to get your clients talking, you want the conversation to get deep, meaningful, and actionable. Upgrade your coaching questions from good to powerful.

5 Challenges Every House Church Faces

House Churches are becoming more common. Are you ready to coach their leadership toward effective ministry?

When church planters need coaching the most

No one likes feeling stuck. Coaching church planters when they are at critical sticking points helps them move forward with clarity and confidence. 

How to reboot your church board

If you feel like your board is tying your hands from moving forward effectively in ministry—or if your board members feel like you are tying their hands—there’s need for a reboot.

The best investment you can make in your church

It’s not a building or hiring additional staff members. And it’s not coming up with a new program. The best investment you can make in your church is to help develop the innate leadership skills in the people who are already there.

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.