“Coaching is Unlocking a Person’s Potential to Maximize Their Growth.”
Thousands of books, conferences, and study aids have been created to address leadership development. While each holds value, perhaps no other resource is more long-lasting and effective than coaching. Why is coaching so powerfully helpful in leadership development? Keith Webb attributes coaching’s success to the “ongoing intentional conversation that empowers a person or group to fully live out God’s calling.” I believe in coaching, and I think coaching develops the best leaders. Why do I believe in and recommend coaching? Because it has worked for me, and I’ve seen it work powerfully in the dozens of leaders I’ve coached.
As a young pastor, I wrestled with my calling and mission. While I had a few mentors, I routinely felt isolated and confused. How should I lead? Where am I going? What is my calling about? All became routine questions for me. During this point of ministry, coaching emerged as a new discipline. I quickly took advantage of opportunities to be coached. After several personality and leadership inventories, I found myself sitting under the coaching of a trusted ministry leader. The following months brought extensive clarity to the questions I had struggled through. Soon, I experienced greater confidence and intentionality in the ministry to which I was called. I became a believer in coaching.
Why Has Coaching Become So Popular?
Since my personal experience with coaching in its infancy, it has become increasingly popular as a form of leadership development. As organizations strive to create a culture of growth, development, and engagement, coaching is the perfect tool to help leaders reach their goals. Coaching provides a safe and supportive environment for leaders to uncover their potential and develop their skills while positively impacting the organization.
The main benefit of coaching as a form of leadership development is its focus on the individual. Rather than imposing a specific leadership style or strategy, coaching allows leaders to explore their strengths and weaknesses, identify areas of improvement, and develop new skills. Coaching provides a personalized approach to leadership development, allowing each leader to find their unique growth path. Coaching also provides an opportunity for leaders to gain greater self-awareness. Through coaching, leaders can better understand themselves and their impact on the organization.
Coaching Helps a Leader Get Clarity
Coaching is all about clarity. Coaching can be incredibly effective in developing the best leaders because it helps the leader to identify their strengths and weaknesses. Through coaching, leaders can gain insight into their skills, abilities, and weaknesses. This allows them to focus their energy on the areas in which they need improvement and identify areas of strength that can be leveraged for success. With this knowledge, leaders can develop strategies to improve their weak spots, build on their strengths, learn from mistakes, improve their communication skills, and become more self-aware and confident in their leadership ability.
Furthermore, coaching helps leaders gain clarity from their mistakes. Coaching encourages leaders to reflect on their past experiences and have an honest conversation about what they could have done differently. This helps the leader become more aware of their mistakes and to learn from them. By doing this, the leader can develop better problem-solving skills and make better decisions in the future.
Additionally, when it comes to clarity, coaching helps leaders improve their communication skills. Effective communication is essential. Through coaching, the leader can practice communication techniques such as active listening, constructive feedback, and open dialogue. This helps the leader become more confident in their ability to communicate with others and to be able to influence and motivate their team effectively.
Finally, achieving clarity helps leaders become more self-aware. Through coaching, leaders can gain greater insight into their beliefs, values, and motivations. By becoming more self-aware, the leader can better identify areas of improvement and develop strategies for success.
Clarity is achieved through the questioning process. In his book, The Coach Model, Keith Webb asks three types of questions of the coachee. Exploring questions “examine the topic that the coachee wants to work on to understand it more fully.” Clarifying questions provide for understanding and “promote greater clarity in the coachee.” Focusing questions “narrow the topic to something that is both manageable to achieve during the length of the conversation and immediately helpful to the coachee.” Without clarity, the coaching process falls apart.
Clarity Creates Confidence
Find Out What God Wants You To Do and Do It!
It is from clarity, then, that the coachee experiences a rise in confidence. I recently met and coached Abdel Adim, a Christian pastor in Morocco. He was previously Muslim until experiencing salvation through Jesus. His ministry must take place in secret, and his church exists underground, out of the spotlight of those who would do it harm. Abdel shared in our conversation that “we feel as if we are at the beginning of Christianity, as we find in the Acts of the Apostles, and in the first centuries when Christians were persecuted for their faith.” Through listening to his experience and helping him achieve greater clarity on his mission, Abdel could define how he could confidently extend the reach of his ministry even in a challenging context. He communicated a plan to privately meet with those who have begun following Jesus and have questions regarding discipleship. Abdel believes this action will benefit his well-being in the face of opposition and encourage those under his care. Confidence rises as leaders become clear on their purpose.
The Roadmap Paves the Way
What Do You Want?
Clarity and confidence build the next cycle of coaching, which is developing the strategic roadmap. This stage frames one of the most critical questions for the coachee. Logan and Carlton state, “What are you willing to endure to see your vision become a reality?” The roadmap is action, and it is at this level that many run out of gas. So many love to get clarity and burst with confidence but have no follow through with building a plan. Yet, this is the most exciting part of coaching. The coach and coachee co-create and masterfully design a plan for success from point A to point B. This is a movement of reverse engineering. The coachee has a picture of what they want or whom they want to become. Once this picture is clear, they work backward to identify the actions and mindset necessary to achieve that preferred future.
What’s the Bible Say about Coaching?
At its heart, coaching is about coming alongside another person to help them become all God has purposed for them. Coaches mirror the work of the Holy Spirit. It was Jesus who revealed the work of the Holy Spirit when he said, “But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and remind you of everything I have said” (John 14:26, New International Version). By modeling the Paraclete’s work, coaches have a unique calling to walk with and bring encouragement and direction to another. Furthermore, coaching follows the biblical admonition to “encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing” (1 Thessalonians 5:11, New International Version). Coaches dispense hope. They offer encouragement at just the right time. Occasionally, coaches are directive in their approach, pointing the coachee to better options.
Coaching encourages and equips leaders in their self-development. This is especially true for ministry. God is ultimately the one at work in the entire process. He causes growth and transformation. By his grace, he is the one who brings lasting change. This same God chooses to work through people and often through those people who are diligently trained coaches. Coaches have the position of seeing the value in the coachee and working patiently and intentionally to release them into God’s best for their life.
 Keith Webb, The Coach Model for Christian Leaders: Powerful Leadership Skills for Solving Problems, Reaching Goals, and Developing Others (New York, NY: Morgan James Publishing, 2004), 13.
 Webb, The Coach Model, 59.
 Ibid., 62.
 Ibid., 62.
 Abdel Adim, Facebook Messenger to author, February 4, 2023.
 Robert E. Logan and Sherilyn Carlton, Coaching 101: Discover the Power of Coaching (St. Charles, IL: Church Smart Resources, 2003), 49.