This week my friend and colleague Christine Harding writes about her passion and a skill set that is not common in ministry but yet one that is extremely valuable. I highly recommend Christian Coaching to you. Here is Christine.
I’ve been in ministry a very long time . . . nearly 40 years – and I think Coaching is the best tool for working with, growing, and bringing out the best in people.
In many ways I wish I’d discovered it earlier – however I am grateful that at this point in my life I can use my coaching skills to serve, grow and strengthen the body of Christ. My husband Andy and I spent 10 years in cross-cultural church planting in Japan – that was a very challenging time. I wish I’d had a coach then!
A bit of a bio: On returning home I continued to learn and in the process became an Apostolic pastor, completed my M.Th. (Master of Theology) and then for another 9 years after that, the NZ National Director of OMF Int. I’ve been around the wider church in NZ – I’ve visited many churches and had lots of conversations which has only served to reinforce the focus of this last part of my ministry before ‘refiring.’ God is continuing to call me to equip the saints for the work of ministry – coaching is one of the most effective ways to do this. Now I am a Presbyterian minister and a qualified coach (PCC) currently leading Fairfield Presbyterian Parish in Hamilton (p/t) which has 2 congregations and continuing to develop my coaching and supervision business to serve the Church.
Christian coaching is an ongoing conversation that empowers a person or team to fully live out God’s calling – in their life and profession. You can see from the graphic that here is a process which provides direction – ‘outcome’ provides the goal of the conversation; ‘awareness’ unlocks new insights and perspectives so naturally leading to ‘actions’ which move the person forward. Capturing ‘highlights’ are often the insights the Holy Spirit has whispered during the conversation.
The goal of coaching is to help the client listen to the Holy Spirit, discover new things about themselves, and take action to reshape their lives around that learning. Coaching is for primarily heathy people who want to move forward and grow - to make significant changes,to better deal with uncertainty, to set better goals or to just get some perspective in the middle of feeling overwhelmed and ‘stuck.’
The coaching relationship is expected to produce insights, greater personal awareness, changed behaviours, actions, clarity and helps people get ‘unstuck’ and gain forward momentum. I use a coaching approach in all my ‘ministry’ areas – in chairing meetings, dealing with conflict, developing volunteers, even when visiting or praying with people. This approach helps people become more dependent on God – not me. This approach helps people generate their own solutions and take ownership of their ‘stuff’ – it is an empowering and energising style of leadership that develops people in the process.
It’s not mentoring. Mentors are experts in a particular field who seek to pass on their expertise to a person. Mentors provide knowledge, advice, guidance, correction, and encouragement to people who are newer and junior—by experience if not by position or age. Mentors usually play the roles of advisor and teacher to guide and impart knowledge and wisdom. I often have interns and find a coaching approach in my mentoring most effective.
I provide Coaching as Professional Supervision for a range of church leaders – they often find a different approach helpful and brings greater clarity. I also work with a range of other people as they tackle personal issues and areas of growth in their personal and professional lives. I also provide training in this tool. Please feel free to contact me at email@example.com if you would like to know more.
Alan Vink is currently the Executive Director for LeadershipWorx. Prior to this role he has been the Executive Director of Willow Creek Association NZ (WillowNZ), a Baptist pastor (23 years), Bible College teacher, and church consultant.