By Gary Becker – Biblically Balanced Ministries
Someone has said, “Those who can’t do, teach.” The idea is often people become professors or teachers by earning degrees and have little life experience. If you look online there are many programs offering certificates as “life coaches.” The result is there are coaches and teachers in almost every field who have knowledge with little experience. I am not suggesting there is no value in education or certifications, but we need a balance between knowledge and experience in the coaching relationship.
I attended a small Bible College, years ago. Almost every professor/teacher was serving in a church or other ministry. Part of that was because they could not live on the teaching salary alone. Personally, I think those real life ministry experiences and their passion for us as students was what made it the best part of all my education. Many of us had the privilege of not only being in class with them but had mentoring and coaching relationships that have lasted a lifetime. Their experience in ministry was a valuable part of their ministry to us.
In our last two issues on coaching, the attempt was to show a distinction between teaching, mentoring, consulting, and coaching. The point was made that coaching is distinct, but the most effective coaching integrates all these areas. Thus my conclusion would be, seek a coach who understands the difference but also has life experience beyond just knowledge.
Having said all this, let’s consider the process of life and ministry coaching.
Phase 1 – Assessing your Personal PROFILE
If we are honest with ourselves we will admit that we all struggle to some degree with self understanding. We either think too highly or too lowly of ourselves. Romans 12:3 declares this, For by the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think with sober judgment, each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned.
Self understanding requires careful assessment of our personality, spiritual giftedness, natural abilities, passions, and life experience. Our approach in coaching begins with helping each one to objectively build a profile. The coach should be able to analyze any resources used (Biblical Profile, Personal Profile, PLACE, or other tools) to help assess the results.
Phase 2 – Developing a LIFE PURPOSE
Once we understand our profile, we are ready to begin to define a life purpose. A Life Purpose should be a general statement(s) that defines the direction of your life. Some aspects of this may be clearly defined through life experience.
Let me give a personal example. When I started in pastoral ministry the goal was long term ministry. However, after about twenty years in ministry I realized God was using me to lead churches through transitions. My life purpose was based on two passages Romans 12:1-3 and Ephesians 4. The purpose has remained the same, but the place changed.
Phase 3 – Creating an Action PLAN
Once a “Life Purpose” statement or outline is developed an “Action Plan” can be created. The plan should begin where you are in life, and then consider the various stages of life that are ahead. A good way to establish a plan is to begin with a look at your childhood and/or early adulthood. Then establish perspective for next stages of your life such as middle adulthood and later adulthood. This phase of coaching begins with the big picture of life and then moves to the specifics for the present and near future. The further out you go, obviously, the more general the plan will be.
Phase 4 – Building Life PARTNERSHIPS
Reaching our life goals is best accomplished through relationships. Biblical life coaching recognizes the discipleship that takes place in the community of a local church. Biblical coaching works in partnership with the church. Additionally, a biblical life coach knows the importance of preserving and building biblical relationships in marriage and the home. Business coaching often focuses on effectiveness in the workplace, but biblical life coaching must consider the whole person.
Building biblical life partnerships is a vital part of coaching that equips people to reach their life goals. A biblical coaching relationship is especially helpful in ministry leadership as a place of encouragement, exhortation, and accountability.
BBM offers life coaching to pastors and ministry leaders based on years of experience in ministry. Additionally, we also offer individual life coaching based on biblical principles for living a life honoring to God.