Usually when the topic of faith-based coaching comes up, the immediate response is, “Oh, you mean Christian coaching.” In recent days, I have started to ask myself, “Is this what it really means for me?” To put this in perspective, let me first share three observations.
First, I am a person of faith. I am a follower of Jesus Christ. Even though I am probably better at it on some days that others, the relationship is there and the strength of it is more dependent on God’s grace than my faithfulness.
Second, I am a Christian who is also a coach (life coach or leadership coach) and that means I want to be a good coach. Martin Luther said, “The Christian shoemaker does his duty not by putting little crosses on the shoes, but by making good shoes, because God is interested in good craftsmanship.” If we do our work well, that in itself is a witness to what is of value to us. Whether I am coaching a Christian or a non-Christian, I will seek to do my best. Whether the topic is spiritual or not, I will help to the client to address it well.
Third, I must make clear that I believe Christians, and especially Christian leaders, should seek to find common ground with other faith leaders in their communities. Whether one is a Christian, a Jew, a Muslim, a Hindu, a Sikh, or a Buddhist, he or she wants the same things for the family, the children, the neighbor, and the community—health, education, food, beauty, and safety. These are basic human needs no matter what one’s belief system happens to be.
Given those observations, is it possible for us to think about an approach to coaching that is grounded in faith, no matter what that faith may be? Is there a distinct way of coaching that will benefit all faith communities and faith-based organizations? Although rooted in a Christian perspective, I believe that these principles could apply to any faith community.
- Embraces the potential within each individual to choose, plan, and act.
- Recognizes the value of community for growth and accountability.
- Respects differences of opinion in matters of faith.
- Strives for the common good in society.
- Seeks to understand the dynamics at work in a community.
- Encourages mutual responsibility in planning and implementation.
- Processes past experiences for positive action in the present and future.
- Values the potential for change in individuals and communities.
What do you think? What does “faith-based coaching” mean to you?