Christian Life Coaches: Who Are They and Why do You Need One?
The rise of Christian life coaches can be traced back a couple of decades, when baby boomers were reaching middle age and beginning to reflect on important life questions such as:
Is this all there is to my life or is there actually more?
Am I truly happy with what I have accomplished?
I am a success in business, but what about my personal and spiritual lives?
Is there something more I am meant to do to make an impact in the world?
While these questions may be common to prior generations, baby boomers have been more vocal in these areas in public realms. The realization that there is more to life than the daily grind has led baby boomers to seek help, input, and guidance from others, giving rise to professional life coaching. Life coaching provides a powerful alliance between a client and coach, and this relationship helps the client achieve effectiveness and fulfillment. Some Christians cringe at the mention of life coaching because of the misconstrued notion that life coaching is another new age practice. But nothing is further from the truth. Christian life coaching actually aligns with the biblical model of achieving effectiveness in ministry, business, family, and relationships.
Throughout the Scriptures, Christians are encouraged to get help from mature or more knowledgeable believers. Many times in both in the Old and New Testament God uses one person to train another. For example, the sons of prophets were trained by another prophet. Jesus trained his disciples and Paul trained Timothy. A life coaching principle is found in 1 Thessalonians 5:11, where Paul admonishes the church in Thessalonica to, “Encourage one another and build each other up.”
Coaching Is Powerful and Effective
A story is told of a man who was walking down the beach when he saw a girl picking up starfish that had been washed ashore by the waves. One by one she hurled them back into the water. The beach was littered with starfish and there was no way she could save all of them. So he approached the girl in order to offer her a bit of advice.
“Hey, there are thousands of starfish on the beach. It’s a waste of time throwing them back. You can’t really make a difference. ”
Without pausing from her ritual, the girl picked up another starfish and threw it back into the water. Flashing him a smile, she said, “Maybe I can’t make a difference to thousands of starfish, but I just made a difference to that one.”
This exactly how life coaching works. Christian life coaches want to make a difference in the life of people every day. But life coaching is a one-on-one relationship. The life coach’s focus is not on the entire world, but on making a significant impact on the clients they work with.
Principles of Effective Christian Life Coaching
What makes Christian life coaching so effective is the reliance on the Holy Spirit and God’s Word for direction throughout the entire process. Christian life coaches are people who have a relationship with the Holy Spirit and have learned to yield to him. Neither the coach nor the client focus on human expertise—they rely on what the Lord would have them do.
Here are more principles of Christian life coaching:
•Life coaching is not counseling or mentoring
If you have unresolved issues from your past, you may want to seek out the services of a Christian counselor. Counseling helps you understand your past in order to bring about healing from emotional wounds. Life coaching, however, only concerns the present and the projected future. It helps you to create a roadmap from where you are to where you want to go. A mentor should be an expert in a certain area you are currently be struggling in.
For instance, you might be stressed about debt, so you’ll look for a mentor who understands finances and budgeting. Mentors have the know-how in their area of specialization and will be able to offer you information and guidance. Christian life coaches do not tell you what to do. That is not how life coaching works. The role of your life coach is to help you discover your right path to follow. They have the expertise and tools to help you see your “blindspots” and to unpack what is holding you back from accomplishing your goals. Life coaches are also a great fit for people who are already successful but want to achieve greater success.
•Christian life helps you focus on your God-given purpose
A Christian life coach will always encourage you to find and follow your God-given purpose. The role of the life coach is not to impose personal opinions and experiences on you but to help you realize how God is directing you. Each client is unique because God created us individually for our unique callings. A client may not be very clear on what their life purpose is, and the Christian life coach can help him or her gain clarity. Knowing the clients’ purpose starts with developing a good relationship with God through prayer, worship, and Bible study, Christian life coaches will encourage their clients in these areas. Christian life coaching focuses on developing you professionally, socially, and spiritually.
•Christian life coaches guide you toward fulfillment
Fulfillment in career, ministry, business, family and all spheres of life is of utmost importance to living a meaningful life. Christian life coaches use biblical principles to help their clients to see God’s purpose even in mundane activities. The wisest man who ever lived, King Solomon, observed, “Desire fulfilled is sweet to the soul…” (Proverbs 13:19a). Fulfillment leads to happiness, and happiness ensures energy and vitality.
There is a common misconception that burnout only happens to people who work long hours in high-stress environments. However, burnout is akin to the emotional fatigue, exhaustion, and stress that can happen when a series of events fails to produce the desired results. A series of disappointing outcomes can cause a person to develop negative coping mechanisms that might limit their effectiveness in life. A Christian life coach can help you identify any negative “drags” on your life so you can decide how best to handle them.
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•Christian life coaches can assist you to achieve balance
Ecclesiastes 7:18 tells us that a righteous person will avoid all extremes. In simple terms, God wants us to lead a balanced life. People often succeed in one area of life but remain unfulfilled in another. For instance, a high achiever in a career might have a hard time relating well to their family and friends. A pastor might be excellent at delivering powerful sermons but not very good when it comes to connecting with his congregants. Christian life coaching can help strike a balance in order to achieve an all-around successful life.
Christian life coaches help their clients to enjoy their lives, instead of being miserable and hoping to one day be happy. In John 10:10, Jesus made it clear that the reason he came was so that we might enjoy a full, abundant life. Unfortunately, many Christians work in hostile environments, and it might feel like a tall order to be asked to enjoy their work. Even those fortunate to have great employers and co-workers can still contend with personal challenges that leave them unmotivated and deflated.
A Christian life coach will help his or her clients realize that happiness is a choice. Even though people may not always be able to choose what happens to them, they can always choose how to respond. While it is good to remain focused on personal and ministry goals, Christians should not become so preoccupied with accomplishment that they forget to be happy. It is important to realize that the process of living is more than simply what is achieved in life. Life should be lived with an eternal view, and Christian life coaches are most suited to help their clients develop such a perspective.
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