By: Ted Szymczak
A second yet related way in which Christian coaching can be helpful in our missionary and church planting ministry is that it helps draw out what the Holy Spirit has put into the hearts and minds of those we coach. As Dr. Keith Webb says in the Coaching Workshop participant manual:
The Holy Spirit is the best source for insights, ideas, strategies and action points. Coaches help the coachee to hear the Holy Spirit more clearly and support them to respond well.
I have recently gained a new and deeper appreciation for the crucial role of the Holy Spirit in Christian coaching. One of my spiritual gifts is the gift of helps. Unfortunately, one of the downsides of that gift for me is my tendency to want to help people by “fixing” their problem. You husbands who may be tempted to “fix” your wife when she just wants to talk, understand how unhelpful such an approach is. The “Mister Fix-it” tendencies work equally unwell in coaching.
Instead of offering final solutions, any suggestions we give should be merely springboards for further reflection on the part of the coachee. In our coach training, we learned that after sharing a suggestion, we should immediately follow up with the question, “What ideas does that give you?” I decided to test this out when coaching a friend about support raising. In the awareness phase of the coaching session, I decided to give a preposterous suggestion as part of considering the problem from a different perspective. To my surprise, the Holy Spirit was able to use my dumb suggestion to provide new perspective to the coachee and eventually action steps that were helpful for him.
My take-home was that I don’t have to try so hard to fix my coachee’s problems. I just need to listen well and ask deep questions. The Holy Spirit can handle the rest. The value of listening to the Holy Spirit in our ministry cannot be overstated.
What are some possible steps forward in helping others listen to the Holy Spirit? In my reading lately on discipleship, I’ve become more convinced of the importance of obedience in growing as a disciple. Similarly James talks about being doers of the word and not just hearers only, so deceiving ourselves (James 1:22). We need to go beyond merely talking about good ideas. We need to act on them. Coaching can help us bridge that theory – practice chasm.
SEND U has a number of trained coaches that can help you to grow in different areas of your life. The first step might be to try being coached, even for a session or two. You might find that it is truly helpful in clarifying what the Holy Spirit is saying to you. Then if you do find coaching helpful in your own life, a possible next step could be signing up for the next SEND U coaching workshop yourself so you can become more skilled in helping others listen better to the Holy Spirit. Happy listening!