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Christian coaching versus secular coaching

Updated on June 5, 2014

Two distinct types of coaching exist: Christian and secular coaching. Secular coaching takes a humanistic approach to the whole goal of transformation. It places the goals that the clients wish to achieve at the centre. Therefore, secular coaching refers to clients as self-sufficient and capable of transforming their lives as much as they want. Contrary, Christian coaching is Christ centred. This means that Christian coaching places Christ and his will as the basis of the Christian coaching (Clinton & Hawkins, 2011). It recognizes the sovereignty of God and relies on the availability of the Holy Spirit to assist in the transformation of the believer to what God desires or intends for them. It is like the scenario of the clay and the pot maker. In Christian coaching, God is the moulder while the Christians are the clay. They submit their lives to God to mould them into his desired form. Through Christian life coaches, believers seek revelation to achieve the shape that God desires them to be like. Therefore, secular coaching is a two-way (parallel) course while Christian coaching is a three-way approach. Secular coaching is two way because it involves both the client and the coach. They interact directly, face to face while sharing ideas, beliefs and norms. Christian coaching is a three-way approach because it involves three entities, the client, the coach and the Holy Spirit (Gill, 2006).


Introduction

The International Coach Foundation (ICF) defines coaching as the process of collaborating in thought with the client while provoking a creative process that inspires the clients to maximize both their professional and personal potential. Coaching is the same as mentoring. It is a continuous process of helping people in identifying their specific goals and then helping them achieve those goals with ease (Gill, 2006). Rather than plainly helping people realise their goals, coaching serves to enlighten, guide and direct people to realise the goals by themselves. It enables people to remain focused, improve their skills while overcoming obstacles in order to get or reach where they want to be. Therefore, inspiration is the core foundation of coaching: Inspiring people to reach beyond their potential in life (Clinton & Hawkins, 2011).

Coaching is an upcoming career. People involved in the profession of coaching others are called coaches. Corporations or individuals hire coaches for different purposes. For example, corporations might seek for coaching that is related to small business and entrepreneurial ideas, corporate leadership and team building. Similarly, individuals might seek coaching on relationships, health and fitness, lifestyles, careers and transitions. However, both the corporations and individuals aim for a change after the coaching. They would like to witness the outcomes of the coaching as a change for the better. After the coaching, both clients would like to review their previous lives and see some positive changes or transformations in their current states of life.

The effectiveness of Christian coaching versus secular coaching

Several factors make the Christian coaching unique and more effective than secular coaching. First, the most important of all lies on the biblical worldview that Christian coaching emphasizes on (Gill, 2006). The secular approach to coaching emphasizes on the abilities of the persons being coached to inspect, with the aid of the coach, listen on the values and visions, and focus of their lives that are deep within them. It also emphasizes on the abilities of the persons being coached to focus on their potential/inner strengths and discover their life’s passions: what they want most in their lives. However, the secular approach omits the presence of God in influencing the success of such transformation. Contrary to secular coaching, Christians in Christian coaching trust, understand and acknowledge that all humans were created in the image and likeness of God. They live and undergo the sessions of coaching fully aware of the sovereignty of God in their lives’ transformation (Collins, n.d). At the same time, Christian coaches trust that God is entirely conscious of the wants of his people and is always willing to empower and guide those who seek him first: his children. Just as anyone else, Christians seek to discover the passions and purposes in life, future visions and their potential. However, they realise that such achievements are God given and such can only be attained once they live in accordance to the plans of God. Therefore, the approach of Christian coaching stresses and emphasizes on the sovereignty of God in guiding all the coaching work. This is completely different from secular coaching that relies and emphasizes on human ingenuity.


This transcends to the second effectiveness of Christian coaching the personality of the coach. It has been repeatedly uttered that bird of the same feather flocks together. Even while quoting some verses from the bible, the book of proverbs chapter twenty-seven verse seventeen (proverbs 27: 17) asserts that ‘just like iron sharpens another iron, so do friends do.’ A friend sharpens another friend (Collins, n.d). This implies that secular coaches or professionals will always deem fit to coach secular people, more so atheist. This is because they share a common ground in life and are much likely to become compatible on the task and encourage/inspire one another. Therefore, secular coaching seems limited and only applicable to secular people. On the contrary, Christian coaching is diverse in application. Christians may seek, coach and inspire fellow Christians. However, the impulse of the success becomes stronger and highly recognized when a Christian coaches a non-believer (Collins, n.d). This is because a Christian will always walk and pursue the footprints and teachings of Jesus. Therefore, there is a great chance that, in the end, the client being coached will not only come out as an achiever of his or her own targets, goals and visions in life but also a transformed Christian. In addition, the case between a secular client and Christian coach becomes a win-win situation. The clients win by realising the potential inside them and become inspired to pursue them in life. The Christian coach not only wins by feeling the joy of such success but also gains more experience on how to approach secular clients in the future.

Thirdly, Christian coaches repeatedly reinforce their work with prayers. Because a faithful prayer is among the foundations of Christianity, Christian coaches believe in the divine works of prayers (Ray, 2008). They seek assistance from their heavenly father (God) and even intercede on the behalf of their clients. They understand that because God is the sole creator and without his assistance, every human effort is in vain. This is because God is the author and guardian of (social and moral order) everything that happens here on earth. Without his approval, man’s efforts are wastage of time (Collins, n.d). Therefore, through prayer and intercession, Christian coaches help inspire and motivate their clients with ease. They trust in God to break even the hard barriers that prevent successful transformations of clients once they seek coaching services. On the side of the clients, they enjoy the benefit of being apprenticed to people who have a strong connection with God. Therefore, even before they venture into the period of coaching and transformation, they passively have the assurance of success because nothing is impossible for God. This is in contrary to secular coaching that base on human ingenuity. Because humans are weak and cannot control all the forces (fate and destiny) that surround them, they are subject to failure. From their atheist view of life, they believe that their success depends upon their efforts and luck.

Furthermore, in Christian coaching there is a lot of freedom. Although Christian coaches tend to discuss spiritual issues with their clients, they understand that the clients own the right to choose whether to or not to engage in such values. Therefore, Christians even contends in coaching atheists while respecting their wishes of not being involved in spiritual matter. They simply understand them and respect their wishes. Jesus once portrayed such respect in the bible. At one time, an influential young ruler who never wanted to let go of his wealth in order to follow Jesus once confronted him. Out of respect for human freedom and wishes, Jesus never forced the young ruler to follow him. He simply gave him a chance to choose whatever he wanted in life even though he knew that the man had failed to choose the best option in life: following Jesus (Miller & Hall, 2007). Therefore, Christian coaching allows their clients to have such freedom. This is in contrary to secular coaching where the clients have to strictly trend on the footsteps of their coaches in order to realise success.


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The implications of Christian coaching on the coaching ministry

Adopting a Christ centred or Christ oriented coaching bears various implications on the coach, the ministry leader and even the society. These include possessing the ability to leverage one’s strength or potential, providing clarity and focus, instilling confidence in leaders and even catapulting the learning process. In addition, ministry leaders benefit from Christian coaching by fostering intentional progress and encouraging God-sized goals.

Leveraging one’s strength or potential

Many ministry leaders are blessed with multiple talents and potentials that they are unaware of their existence. They waste most of their precious time, when they are young and energetic, on some life’s issues that do not result to satisfaction in life. Given the chance that they may live long, these leaders discover their full potential at old age, when they are weak and vulnerable. However, with the aid of qualified Christian coaches, ministry leaders are able to discover their unused strength and exploit it fully (Ray, 2008). It is commonly uttered that once ministry leaders fully realise their potential, they burry themselves to the task of achieving what lay unachieved. Because of Christian coaching, these leaders are able to realise their hidden potential/strengths and use them for a better future.



Always being on the watch to do good

Confidence

Leadership is a task that is always accompanied by change. This is because people are currently living in a dynamic world: A world that is constantly changing. In addition, critics are everywhere. Therefore, when leaders wish to make a change in the ministry concerning a faulty system of leadership or emerging issues, their fears block these transformational ideas (Ogne & Roehl, 2008). Instead of acting as their knowledge instructs them, they let themselves be conquered by fears of falling into criticism. This implies that their growth is maimed. Their confidence is weakened and the ministries will never grow. However, participating in Christian coaching empowers them to build trust in themselves. This trust instils confidence in them and they are able to overcome their life’s fears (Cresswell, 2006). Because of such confidence, they are able to correct any faulty systems, such as ill behaviour, in the ministries and foster a positive change among their ministries.


Clarity and focus

In the recent past, cases of embezzlement of church funds, politics and power wrangles within the church were rampant. Hardly a year passed without witnessing both church members and ministry leaders engage in unprecedented tussles. In addition, the sole reasons for such church wars lacked viability. They simply made no sense to people with clear mind/sound reasoning. Such issues were clear indications that the ministry leaders and their fellow Christians had lost their focus in their ministry work, for it is only when the vision is lost that church politics arises (Ogne & Roehl, 2008). However, Christian oriented coaching would bear a significant role on ministry leaders and even the entire church congregations. This is because such coaching would lead ministry leaders into being more focused. Their visions and focus on church tasks would be clear enough to concentrate on issues that build, strengthen and even benefit the church (Cresswell, 2006). They will see new opportunities, better ways of clarifying tasks and even learn different approaches on how to solve life’s issues.

Trainer of trainers: coaching the coaches

Learning

Learning is a continuous process in life. As long as people live, there is always something new for them to learn. However, because of the status quo that some people in the leadership seek to maintain, the chance of learning new things is never present in ministries. Leaders attend seminars and conferences. They hear the issues being addressed but fail to capture the idea of such conferences. They even fail to make new meanings out of what was being discussed in the conferences. However, Christian coaching provides a self-directed learning that is customised for them (Cresswell, 2006). They find themselves able to focus on their strengths, learn new thing and even challenge the status quo that previously existed in their world. To them every bit of time spent provides a learning opportunity and they are ready to realise and apply what they learn for a positive course. Apart from learning, ministry leaders put into application what they learn. They venture into the adventure of coaching others both in their ministries and even outside their ministries (Christians and non-believers). Because of their coaching, the world, in general, is transformed for a positive course. The benefits or fruits reaped from such learning and coaching are immeasurable. Words cannot express or even quantify such benefits.


How about going secular?

Implications of this research on how I would practice the business of coaching

After undertaking this research, there are several lessons that professional coaches can learn and advance their coaching practice. Firstly, the objective of coaching is to inspire people to realise their strengths and achieve whatever they want in life. Therefore, my goals as a coach would be to inspire my clients discover their potential. As a coach, would not assist the clients, or give suggestions on how talented they are, but I will encourage, inspire and motivate them until when they gain confidence in themselves. After gaining confidence, my clients would be able to overcome their fears and realise their strengths by themselves.

Secondly, coaching only requires two skills and one unique quality. These are zeal/prudence, creative/critical thinking and listening skills. Every person qualifying to be a coach has the first two. However, many coaches lack the patience of listening until the client completes narrating their issues. I have learned that for any coaching session to bear fruits, the coach must be patient enough to listen to the client without jumping into conclusions on how the client can be helped (Collins, n.d). Because people are different, their problems are diverse and every coaching situation is unique by itself, the coach is required to think critically. After critically analysing the clients’ issues, the coaches are required to use their zeal to strategise on how to empower the clients with confidence until they can realise their strengths by themselves (Cresswell, 2006).

Finally, effective coaching requires that the clients be granted the freedom to choose what they want. Therefore, both Christian and secular coaches should not impose other values to their clients if the clients do not wish for such values in coaching sessions. For example, Christians should not incorporate spiritual matters as a component of the coaching if the clients do not want them (Collins, n.d). The above-mentioned lessons shall positively transform me into a more professional coach. Following such lessons shall help me offer quality-coaching services.

Personal impacts of this research

At personal level, the knowledge gained in this research would influence me on several ways. Firstly, the knowledge would help me realise my potential. This is because I have learned that coaching helps one realise their hidden potential. In the process of seeking my strengths, I shall coach other people. Seeing them realise their full capabilities would be my source of joy: seeing people prosper because of my efforts. Secondly, the lessons learned in this research shall help me set realistic goals in my life. At the same time, I shall coach and inspire my clients with tactics based on real life situations (Cresswell, 2006).

In conclusion, coaching is different from counselling or therapy. It is similar to mentoring. The main objective of coaching is to inspire people to realise their potential remain focused to their vision. Although to approaches of coaching exist, Christian coaching is the best over secular coaching. This is because secular coaching bases on human ingenuity while Christian coaching is founded on the divine knowledge and the assistance of God. Finally, Christian coaching possesses several benefits over secular coaching. It not only transforms individuals but also the whole society.

Kindly note that this article is specifically tailored for academic purposes! kindly give your opinion

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    • Daniel Avedon profile image
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      Musembi Daniel Nduva 2 years ago from Texas

      I believe that christian coaches should try their level best not to spread bad rumors about other religions. It is always important to attain a neutral approach when dealing with clients from other religions. Personally, I am an christian and i respect other religions, whether Islam, Buddhism or any other!

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      Henry 2 years ago

      Excellent. What mh nice hubs makes you publish such informative hubs Daniel. Am moved

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