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Does Missions Coaching Really Work? By Tina Stoltzfus Horst

Oct 3rd, 2009 | By | Category: Missions Coaching

tina-h-cmi-web-300–preliminary survey results from on-field workers

Does what we are doing as missions coaches really make a difference? How would you answer that question? How do you respond when asked about coaching’s effectiveness by missions organizations, sponsoring churches or by missionaries?

Preliminary survey results obtained through Coaching Mission International’s (CMI’s) Asia program suggest that coaching provides a variety of clear benefits from the missionary’s perspective. CMI obtained survey data from 16 on-field missionary leaders asking them to rate satisfaction in 7 life areas; and to rateĀ  their ability to handle stress, their clarity about life purpose and roles, and finally, on whether they were receiving adequate care and support as leaders and people. Surveys were completed both before and after 24 coaching sessions provided by 7 professionally trained and cross culturally experienced missions coaches over Skype.

What was the result? CMI found that in EVERY area surveyed, average mean scores were improved, meaning that average missionary satisfaction in every life category went up, overall level of stress and burnout went down, and missionaries on average had increased clarity about their personal calling and the roles they were called by God to fulfill. These are amazing results!

Particular improvements were seen in missionary satisfaction with their development as a leader.

In the area of leadership development alone, these results are very important. The Mission Commission of Evangelical Alliance, in their 22 nation study on missionary retention, report that missions organizations that provide opportunities for ongoing personnel development and training are more likely to retain their workers (for more information on this study, see Tim Olson’s article on this site titled “7 Best Practices“). Keith Webb, in his article “Coaching for On-field Development” in Evangelical Missions Quarterly in July of 2008, states that missionaries need ongoing personalized learning and that “field based development is a key factor in missionary longevity and effectiveness”.

There is more research to be done regarding the use of coaching in the missions world. However, preliminary results are tremendously encouraging! Coaching can increase missionary’s life satisfaction, clarity about call, reduce burnout, and give isolated and resource-restrained missionaries opportunities for personalized leadership development. These are significant gains for missionaries and for God’s work in missions around the world!


Tina Stoltzfus Horst is the Founder and Executive Director of Coaching Mission International. To learn more about Tina, or about getting started in missions coaching, go to: – or contact her directly at:


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