This is THE most popular post for the last two years. Now I am ready to help your church start a Christian coaching ministry. We also provide Executive Ministry Coaching. The parent company for Simple Discipleship is RENOVA Coaching and Consulting LLC. We are partnering with a coach training organization to provide certified coach training at three levels…1) Certified Christian Coach, 2) Certified Disciple Coach, and 3) Certified Wellness Coach. Go to http://renovacoaching.com/ for more information.
Churches have been slow to use coaching as a method of equipping in various areas such as life, leadership, marriage, career, wellness, and yes, spiritual formation and growth. In 2001 Gary Collins expressed concern that while coaching was the “hottest” new profession in America, virtually no churches were using it (Christian Coaching, 15). In 2003 Reggie McNeal recommended that churches provide life coaching for spiritual formation (The Present Future, 77). It is now 2008, and only a few churches provide any kind of coaching ministry. I believe churches should establish Christian coaching ministries as a means of equipping for spiritual formation and life. Christian coaching ministries should be in the discipleship “department” and not a part of the counseling ministry.
COACHING, COUNSELING, AND MENTORING
So what is the difference between coaching, counseling, and mentoring as applied to discipleship or spiritual growth?
- Coaching forms a co-active partnership that seeks to empower and equip the coachee to achieve greater competence and growth in areas they desire. The coachee is essentially healthy and able to work with the coach to develop a plan for growth. In coaching, the coachee is able to co-actively establish goals for the process.
- Counseling usually involves some area of disorder, pathology, or dysfunction that essentially disables the counselee in one or more areas of life. The counselor tends to set the agenda and plan for counseling.
- Mentoring begins with a clear and set agenda for the mentee or protégé. The mentor tends to serve as a supervisor of the training by sort of looking over the shoulder of the protégé.
Perhaps churches have not started coaching ministries because the knowledge base for start-up is minimal. Here are some guidelines for starting a Christian Coaching Ministry.
HOW TO START A CHRISTIAN COACHING MINISTRY
Small churches can launch a coaching ministry beginning with the pastor. If the pastor has a heart for both the evangelism and the teaching side of making disciples, he may seek coach training.
Large and/or Mega Church
The large and mega-church may launch a Christian coaching ministry using a process such as the one delineated below. However, it is important to maintain a high standard for those serving as coaches whether they are part of the professional ministry staff or volunteer lay persons. It is equally important that the Christian coaching ministry function as a completely separate ministry than counseling, even though the two disciplines have areas of commonality.
1.Hire a ministry staff member who is already a coach. The position may be associate pastor, equipping pastor, minister to men, or discipleship pastor, etc. The coach minister should have a valid record of coaching others that may be verified before hire and/or he should have or be seeking coach certification from an accepted organization. Beware, however and research coach training organizations, as some have a “new age” orientation. There are many coach training schools and programs that are secular to distinctly Christian. Research these online to assess their accreditation status by going to http://www.coachfederation.org/ICF/ which is the home website for the International Coach Federation. Other licensing agencies and coach training organizations exist, and some provide internal certification that is acceptable. The goal here is to establish a highly creditable coaching ministry, so do your homework, research and get references. Seminaries are now establishing coach training as an available option for ministry education.
2.Establish a budget for the Christian Coaching Ministry. Obviously the church may pay a full-time salary to a staff pastor serving as a coach with other duties. Funds may also be needed for outsourcing some coaching. For instance, if there is no female coach on staff or a specialized coach is needed to assist someone (wellness, fitness, etc.) the ministry may need funds to assist with fees. However, the church should not incur all of the coaching costs for those seeking coaching, as they are more likely to work within the coaching process if they have an investment.
3.Develop guiding policies for the Christian Coaching Ministry. A starting point is the code of ethics available as a pdf document download from the ICF website listed above. Referral policies should be established at the outset, as well as the relationships between the counseling and coaching ministries. Each ministry may refer “clients” to the other. Remember there is a difference between coaching, counseling, and mentoring.
4.Provide coaching for the ministry staff. Insist that all staff ministers go through a coaching cycle with the new coach staff member. They need to see the benefit of the process and relationship first hand. If you are insecure and cannot handle the coaching relationship, others will not do so either. On the other hand, as others see the staff participating in the coaching ministry process at the launching, they will be more likely to accept the new ministry.
5.Launch the coaching ministry through the Men’s Ministry. Men are far more likely to seek coaching as opposed to counseling. If you are launching a coaching ministry that will offer services to men and women, it is important in a church to maintain a policy of men coaching men and women coaching women except in the case of marriage coaching.
6.Launch the coaching ministry by having a marriage coaching seminar. It is vastly different from marriage enrichment. Usually the enthusiasm resulting from the latter wears off quickly and is forgotten soon. Marriage coaching may have long term benefits.
7.Provide Christian executive coaching to business people in the church. This will deepen their Christian leadership effectiveness as witnesses for Christ in the community.
There are many benefits for individuals receiving coaching as well as for the church. I will discuss the benefits of coaching in my next blog. Christian coaching is an innovative and transformational ministry that can change your church!
Learn more about professional and ministry coaching at http://renovacoaching.com
Christian Coaching Blessings!
Dr. Tom Cocklereece
Dr. Tom Cocklereece is CEO of RENOVA Coaching and Consulting, LLC
He is a pastor, author, professional coach, leadership specialist, and is a member Coach/Teacher/Speaker for the John Maxwell Team
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