Coaching in the Bible
By Randy Helms
A Scriptural Argument for Coaching as a Transformational Process
Is coaching in the Bible? Was Jesus a coach? We need to consider these questions because coaching has become an important part of the corporate and church landscape. None of the biblical leaders envisioned themselves filling the role of a coach. Not only does the Bible never use the title coach, there is not title, role, or ministry gift that parallels the task of a coach. We can, however, find coaching in biblical principles and practices.
Coming alongside people to help them discover a better way, sustain vision, and move forward in their life or career is a direct reflection of the heart of God displayed in Scripture. Proverbs 20:5 states, “The purposes of a person’s heart are deep waters, but one who has insight draws them out.” This is the essence of coaching. Coaching is transformational at its core. Thomas Crane points this out by stating: “Transformational Coaching is the art of empowering people to improve their effectiveness … this process engages the huge untapped potential within people. "Tony Stoltzfus asserts: “At its heart, leadership coaching is about helping people … a coach draws out the abilities God has put in someone else.”
We have an example of coaching in Mark 8:27–29. “Jesus and his disciples went on to the villages around Caesarea Philippi. On the way he asked them, ‘Who do people say I am?’ They replied, ‘Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, one of the prophets.’ ‘But what about you?’ he asked. ‘Who do you say I am?’ Peter answered, ‘You are the Messiah.’ ”
Why do we consider this coaching on the part of Christ? According to the International Coaching Federation (ICF), coaching uses powerful questioning. The coach uses inquiry versus telling.3 Jesus could have told His disciples who He was. He chose instead to draw the answer from within His followers.
Coaching includes exploring what issues exist for the person being coached versus telling him or her what the issues are or suggesting solutions. Questions must address the agenda of the person being coached and seek information about that agenda and orient to solving issues in the life of that person. Jesus’ first question does this because these men had left family and home to follow Him. Jesus caused them to scan the environment and come to grips with others’ perceptions, plus their perception of themselves. Then He probed deeper with a powerful question that forced the disciples (Peter in particular) to take ownership of the issue. Jesus then used this revelation He excavated from within them as a foundation on which to build....
This article was originally written for Enrichment Magazine, used with permission.
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Every leader needs to be coached; every leader needs to become a trained coach.