Can Coaching Help You Be a More Effective Christian?
by Doug Cartwright.
Have you ever considered that certain types of coaching can help you become a more effective servant of and witness for Christ? Have you ever consider that coaching could be a ministry tool for 'the equipping of the saints for works of ministry /to prepare God's people for works of service?' (Eph 4:12 - KJV/NIV)
Well it can. Coaching can help you become more like the 'Living Word' himself, Jesus and unlock more of your potentials and gifts for serving in the kingdom.
Coaching can help you find practical solutions to the following types of questions:
How can I use my 'gifts' more effectively?
How can I get over the "fear of man" and stop people pleasing?
How can I stick to my convictions at work and break through the false 'sacred/secular' divide (I mean, when during the day are you not a Christian?)
How can I feel more in control of myself?
How can I be a man or woman of integrity and 'live' my words?
How can I become more focus, fired up and faithful?
In this article I am going to put forward my
reasons for saying these things and encourage you to consider coaching as a
viable form of ministry or at least a ministry tool that can help you and your
congregation if you are in a leadership position. Coaching can help you
translate great intentions into results that you can see, hear and feel.
First, let me make it clear that coaching must always be considered a tool of ministry and never to replace or supplant the work of God in our lives.
It is a tool that helps us re-engineer the motors and mechanics of our mind so we can be more fully focused on God and what He wants us to do. It is not a replacement for prayer, listening to God, meditating on His word, following the Holy Spirit, and the advice of Godly people around you.
Just as people go to doctors who understand the workings of the body and how to renew it, a good coach will be trained in models of how the mind works that can then be used to 'renew the mind' and equip us to more effectively carry out acts of service.
Coaching can help you help those people you see who have such potential but don't seem to be able to put it into practice. Within every congregation is a wealth of God-given talent but it is woefully underused.
The thing is, that many Christians are fairly clear on the 'what' of serving Christ but struggle to convert that into 'how' do I serve Christ? We know the good we should do and do not do it.
To quote Michael Hall and Bobby Bodenhamer from their book 'Patterns for renewing the Mind':
We recognize that many believers suffer not from lack of informational content, but from lack of knowing how.
They want to forgive; they want to not let 'a root of bitterness' spring up to defile them (Hebrews 12:15), they want to have a more optimistic faith in the power of God, they want to appreciate more so that they can praise better, they want to think-and-feel more loving, kind, thoughtful, they want to have a spirit of "power, love, and sound mind" rather than the spirit of fear, they want to feel the assurance of their salvation, they want to not return evil for evil, or to become angry without a cause, or to not let the sun go down on their wrath, but they just don't know how and because they don't, they then go into very unresourceful states as they beat themselves up with guilt, condemnation, and fear about such.
They are talking about putting our faith into our actions and action into our faith. Of actually 'giving the bitter root to God' instead of just knowing we should do it.
We focus on understanding and learning the processes by which we can take the Christian truths and incorporate (or install) them deeply into our personality.
Can coaching help us do this?
Actually, it can: and one form known as Meta-Coaching helps people to put their principles and convictions into action by coaching the body to feel these great and Godly ideas and commands of scripture. Imagine being able to feel the conviction to do love and good deeds as naturally as you can type or ride a bike. To many people those things are so 'natural' now they could not forget them if they tried.
These habits are the result of focused sustained practice like a runner training for a race. A runner cannot get away with just talking about training he has to do it. Likewise, we need to train Godly habits into our flesh; James, the brother of Jesus, said 'do not merely listen to the word, do what it says' but it is a common Christian ailment (to know more than we do)
In fact, two thousand years ago the Apostle Paul lamented "when I want to do good, evil is right there with me" and attributed the cause to sin, which is made up of disobedience to God's law and iniquity (perverseness of thought and evil inclinations).
Jesus Himself said that sins start with evil thoughts and so the mind is a primary place to start. In fact, we are commanded to 'be transformed by the renewing of your mind so that you may know what is good and acceptable, the perfect will of God'. Is that not what a preacher does, encourage people to repent (literally, "have a change of mind in the other direction"!)
If you only work on commanding new behaviors then once a person stops exerting willpower, the old habit can snap back into place like a rubber band. That is why having a coach trained in 'how' to change the mind helps. As scripture says 'A man's heart is deep waters and a man of understanding draws him out.'
A good coach works at the higher more unconscious levels of the mind (the deep waters) and he can help draw out the old programming, the lies, the disbeliefs and the mis-beliefs that sit as strong-holds in our minds; and he will use his knowledge of leverage points in the system to help you effect often radical changes.
Here are a few examples:
I worked with a minister who was setting up a counseling service for other ministers. He was feeling afraid of what the other ministers might say to him about it but after coaching he basically re-realized that God had given him a spirit of boldness and was excited and ready to start his program. At last contact he already had three new 'clients'.
Another minister was writing a book and had got completely stuck. After ONE coaching session he went off and wrote three chapters within a week or two whereas before he hadn't done anything for three months.
A Christian was struggling to believe that God loved him and felt so bad he could not even look himself in the face. After answering the questions below he went off into the bathroom and looked at himself long in the mirror, something he refused to do twenty minutes earlier.
So here's a sample taste of what a Christian coach trained in Meta-States might ask you:
Think of a situation in which you feel frustrated and/or stuck. Imagine yourself back in the situation, seeing through your eyes and ask reflectively ask yourself the following questions:
What happens when you bring the irresistible healing power of Jesus to that problem?
How does that problem automatically start to transform for the better when He reaches into you and touches it?
You may not have experienced total transformation but did you feel the effect of doing that? Of answering the problem with your faith?
A Christian coach should not give you a theology lesson but he or she can ask you to apply your knowledge of scriptures and faith in God to the problem whilst helping you pull apart the strong-holds.
What are the benefits of this sort of coaching?
There is one immediate one. Jesus said '...if you hold to/obey my teachings you are truly my disciples and then you will know the truth and the truth [that you know and experience] will set you free.'
Imagine that - an increased experience of God's Truth and a deepening of your understanding and relationship to Him.
Additionally, you are more able to spur yourself and others on towards those love and good deeds.
Some people may ask: What happens if the coach is a Christian but does not share the same convictions as me? Well, I prefer to look for what we have in common in our beliefs rather than what divides us. If he or she is a Christian, then he or she is your brother or sister and that is the place to start.
Anyway, coaches are not there to teach or train you in theology. That is the work of your pastor or evangelist and your own personal study. But it certainly helps to have someone who is on a similar page to you as concerns 'Truth'
Why is this important? Because no coaches or therapists or people helpers are truly neutral despite what they say up front and our beliefs always slip through in some form.
A coach who is not a Christian can certainly help you. But as a Christian, do you really want your coach to ask you 'Do you believe the Universe will provide for you abundantly?' when you are exploring your fears about giving to God more sacrificially?
So ask yourself:
Where would I like to do better in my Christian faith?
How would I like to improve for God?
What habits and thinking patterns do I need to eliminate to take my service to the next level?
A coach could help you find the answer.
Douglas Cartwright is a 'personal clarity engineer' who helps people 'renew their minds and live their words'. To find out more, visit http://www.livingwords.net and book your free introductory session. This powerful change experience is not for everyone. But it might be for you. Come to the site and find out. You can also go to http://www.livingwords.net/livingwordsebooks/index.html and buy Sanctified Emotions, a tremendous electronic book which talks about the place of emotions in the Christian life, and some tools for 'sanctifying them'.
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©2009 Doug Cartwright All rights reserved.