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Why Faith-Based Professional Coach Training? by Keith E. Webb

Apr 1st, 2009 | By | Category: Training & Certification Guest Posts

Dr. Keith E. Webb, coach trainer and cross-cultural leader with Creative Results Management, builds the case for faith-based professional coach training.

Many in ministry call themselves a “coach” or describe their ministry function as “coaching.” In many circles the term is often used interchangeably with mentoring or one-on-one teaching or discipleship. In the marketplace, the function of coaching has taken on unique characteristics that produce effective results. Increasingly, these skills require specialized coach training.

Becoming an effective coach requires specialized training.

This training should consist of at least four broad components:

  • specialized training to learn and practice the core coaching skill set;
  • understand and be able to function within the principles and practices of the coaching relationship;
  • experience coaching as a coachee, and later be mentored regarding your coaching;
  • utilize learned skills in coaching others.

A one- or two-day coaching workshop will simply not give potential coaches the instruction or guided practice they need to become effective coaches. Neither will books, internet sites, or audio recordings. Learning to coach requires getting with an experienced coach to learn and practice the art and skills of coaching.

An Increasingly Higher Standard

More and more, the people we minister to are going to read and hear about professional coaching and will ask us, “Where did you get your coaching training?” or “What qualifies you to be a coach?” or “Are you accredited as a coach?”
That last question brings up the topic of professional coach accreditation. The International Coach Federation is one of several worldwide bodies that set standards and ethics for the coaching industry.

Non-profit coaches, even those not coaching full-time, would benefit from professional coach training and from following professional coaching standards.

How Coaching Training With Faith Helps

Is there anything unique about Christian coach training? Yes, and for faith-based organizations there are distinct advantages over marketplace coach training.

Introducing coaching with a biblical worldview will help faith-based organizations more rapidly instill a coaching paradigm in their staff. By matching Christian values, worldview, and beliefs, coaching will be seen as a way to live out those qualities. Suspicion over whether or not coaching is a New Age practice or just the latest Western management fad will also decrease.

By way of illustration, after leading a coaching workshop, a participant came to me and said, “I didn’t know that coaching was for Christians too. Coaching practices sounded good to me, but until now I wasn’t able to make the leap between coaching and my faith.” He is not alone.

Many people learn paradigms and skills in a secular setting and then have difficulty integrating them with their faith and practice. Given enough time, most Christians can “contextualize” their secular training, but by then they’ve missed the advantages of immediate implementation thus lowering their chances of integrating new behaviors into their lives.

Coaching training with a Christian worldview integrates participants’ faith with their coaching skills from the beginning. They immediately apply their learning and skills when it’s fresh and begin creating new habits of behavior the day they finish the training. A dynamite combination of strengths!

Coaching Expresses Christian Values The fact is that basic coaching principles are very much in keeping with Christian values. Biblical passages can illustrate and reinforce coaching values and skills.

For example:

  •  The Holy Spirit is the real coach, John 14:15-18.
  • Listening is an important and difficult skill, James 1:19, 26.
  • Be like Jesus, ask questions, Luke 2:46-47.
  • The role of a coach is to draw out the coachee’s understanding, Proverbs 20:5.
  • People must think and develop holistically, Mark 12:28-31; Luke 2:52.

Better Results

Demonstrating how new coaching values and skills integrate with existing Christian values and belief system will mean a higher and more rapid employee adoption rate. In other words, your employees will actually use their new coaching skills.

When a participant connects a new coaching skill with their faith they get excited. It’s natural. People want to integrate their deepest values with their new learning. Christian coaching allows that to happen naturally.

Also, there’s no danger of a dichotomy between employees’ personal faith values and practices and their newly-introduced coaching values and practices. Employees will be able to enhance and express their faith through coaching and coach training. This deep-level integration is sure to produce better results than a non-faith-integrated approach.
Copyright © 2007 Keith E. Webb & CRM   Dr. Keith E. Webb is a professional certified coach helping organizations develop the capacity and skills of people while multiplying organizational results. Keith is the author of The COACH Model for Christian Leaders. He developed the 61-hour Core Coaching Skills Certificate Program and offers a free monthly newsletter with articles like this one.

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