Is Christian coaching biblical?
According to this article on the wonderful Christian website GotQuestions it can be.
The article had this to say about life coaching in general and Christian coaching in particular.
Christian life coaching is a relatively new field still working out its professional identity. As such, there is no formal definition as to what a Christian life coach does…. In essence, a life coach is someone who walks alongside a person for a season of life and coaches him through it. A “Christian life coach” would be a Christian who is employed as a life coach or one who includes Christian spirituality in coaching.
According to Christian coach Tony Stoltzfus coaching is about “believing in people in order to empower them to change.” To me, this dovetails well with the Scripture the GotQuestions article quoted:
Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing. – 1 Thessalonians 5:11
Taken as a whole, the GotQuestions article is supportive of the idea that Christian coaching is biblical. But it also raised a couple of concerns.
Some difficulties arise because life coaching is not a well-defined profession. Presumably, Christian life coaches have training that others in the Body of Christ do not. They should have honed skills to promote growth and an understanding of practical steps to personal change… The other difficulty with life coaching can be its focus on self-improvement. We are called to live holy lives and to engage in the process of sanctification. But we must remember that change does not ultimately occur because of good coaching techniques or strong willpower. It occurs because of the work of the Holy Spirit in our lives.
Coaching is better defined now than it once was but the concern about self-improvement is warranted. As someone who was once deeply entrenched in the New Age, I am very wary of self-improvement techniques and rhetoric. As a Christian, I am very aware that it is the Holy Spirit not our own efforts, that changes us. But I do agree with Paul. Encouragement and building others up is important.
In my experience encouragement is most effective when we are talking to people who have worked through some of the same issues we’re facing. Which is why I thought that I would like to work with others who are leaving the New Age and occult for Christianity, as well as Christians who are experiencing any kind of creative blocks or having trouble finding their calling in the body of Christ. Not because I am an expert on any of these things but because I understand some the issues involved.
Recently, however, I have begun to second-guessing that idea.
Then I talked to someone who had even more reservations about Christian life coaching than I did. Surprisingly, instead of agreeing, I heard myself talking about how much I had enjoyed supporting and encouraging people when I was a community health nurse and how I had sometimes thought that was what I did best.
The funny thing was, while I didn’t convince my critic that I could be a good coach, I kind of did convince myself.
So I’m going to move forward with the Bible-Based Life Coach certification program I started over the summer. It is through the Word of Life Counseling Training Institute and is very reliant on Scripture.
I will be updating everyone on how it goes!
Original GotQuestions article: What is a Christian life coach, and is the concept biblical?