As Christian life coaches, we need to understand that psychology is limited in that it cannot make authoritative statements about the meaning of life, or man’s purpose on earth (to become children of God; to worship God; to be conformed into the image and likeness of Christ). Many professionals can give their opinions according to societal “norms,” which constantly change and reflect a humanistic philosophy. What does humanistic mean?
Humanistic – the human dimension to psychology. The fundamental belief is that people are innately good, and there is insufficient evidence of a supernatural being or God who plays a role in our lives; he never created the earth, it just existed; we are not tripartite beings; hell is an illusion, there is no judgment, etc. We believe that the Bible is authoritative and based on what God has said – period. Now, there are some great applications we can take from psychology – we eat the meat and spit out the bones. The bones are the humanistic philosophies that go against what the Word teaches and stands for.
Is the Bible a manual on life coaching?
There is clear guidance on many of life’s issues found throughout the Bible. For example, the book of Proverbs is filled with wisdom and understanding about how life should be lived. But when specific examples aren’t clear, we can learn from examples of God honoring people in the Bible who faced situations and responded in ways that God approved of. The Bible also gives us broad behavioral principles that guide us as life coaches.
We know that the Bible teaches:
- treating other people fairly
- not lusting in our hearts
- controlling our emotions
- not filling our minds with negativity
- Obeying God
So, the Bible isn’t a life coaching text book per se, nor does it claim to be. Many of the situations our clients face are complex and simply quoting a Bible verse isn’t a “fix it” formula (you can’t take “2 verses at night and call me in the morning,” like a doctor would say if he were giving you medication). However, God gives us specific directions and clear principles that act as a framework for life coaching.
How can you help a client work through a situation that the Bible doesn’t specifically address? You can ask the client questions such as:
- How do you interact with God?
- Can God be trusted?
- How does God guide?
- What are human beings really like?
- Is God in control of a given situation?
- What causes us to sin?
- What makes sin attractive?
The Bible gives us answers for these questions, so the client can form a worldview that gives him or her a grid through which they can sift questions that aren’t specifically covered in Scripture. We look for answers that are consistent with biblical teaching.
As Christian life coaches, the guidance we offer our clients should be founded on biblical wisdom and understanding. We also need to help our clients search the scriptures for answers they are looking for. As Proverbs 4:1 states, “Get wisdom, get understanding; do not forget my [God’s] words or turn away from them” (NIV). The more we know what Scripture says and teaches, the better equipped we will be to effective life coaches. We shouldn’t set out to be “Scripture quoting coaches,” and we don’t need to become the next “Bible Answer Man,” but we need to understand how to rightly divide and apply the Word. 2 Timothy 2:15 tells us to, “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth” (KJV), and this is a message we need to impart to our clients.
The word “Study” doesn’t mean “hit the books and keep your nose in them until you have it memorized.” The Greek translation literally means to make haste, hurry, work hard, do your best. The phrase “rightly dividing the word of truth” is interesting because Paul is instructing Timothy to “cut a straight line with your teaching. Avoid convoluted twists and turns that people cannot understand. Go right to the heart of a matter.”
Today, we would say, “Make it plain”—and that is how Christian life coaches should communicate with our clients.
When we help our clients understand biblical truths and apply them to their situations, then the Word becomes living, active, and powerful (see Heb. 4:12; Jas. 1:22-25). Think about this: In the past, when you’ve felt down or were upset, have you opened up to another Christian, only to have them quote Scriptures to you? How did it make you feel?
It wasn’t that encouraging was it? You may have felt guilty, as if you weren’t being a good Christian, or even condemned to greater degree than you started out.
Number 4 of the ICF core competencies states, “Being fully conscious and creating spontaneous relationships with clients.” The Bible the same thing this way: “Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited.” As ICF certified life coaches, we need to keep a style that is open, inquisitive, flexible and confident. In a nutshell, be compassionate, love people, meet them where they’re at, encourage them, don’t throw Scripture at them in an attempt to make them straighten up—to your standards. The Bible is meant to be a “light” when we’re in a dark place, not a hammer when we’re hurting.
What makes Coaching Christian?
First – Christian coaching accepts the Bible as their authority base.
Second – Christian coaching depends upon the indwelling power of the Holy Spirit and not solely upon one’s own willpower to be responsible and to conquer problems. (God does the work in us; we don’t need to do it ourselves to impress Him. However, it is our job to cooperate with him).
Third – Christian coaching accepts that all people have a sinful nature but Christians have
a much stronger Godly component—the born-again spirit—as part of their makeup. (Examples are in Romans 7:23 and 1 Corinthians 2:14.)
Fourth – Christian coaching offers a way to deal with the past as well as the present and provides hope for the future.
Fifth – Christian coaching is based on who God is and his immutable character—his love, grace, forgiveness, justice, righteousness, holiness, and more.
Sixth – Christian coaching is universal and can be applied to all people regardless of genetic, social, educational, or cultural backgrounds.
Seventh – Christian coaching attempts to deal with the whole person: physical, emotional, and spiritual.
A Christian Life Coach Is:
- Deeply committed, Holy Spirit-guided, and a servant of Jesus Christ.
- One who applies his/her God-given, Bible-based abilities, skills, training, knowledge, and insights to coaching principles.
- One who seeks to lead others to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ as their personal savior; finds solutions to struggles in the Bible and through biblical principles; and helps to restore the client to personal wholeness, interpersonal competence and spiritual maturity.
What is a worldview?
As a Christian life coach, it is important to understand your client’s worldview. A worldview is a combination of a person’s assumptions, values, beliefs, viewpoints, experiences, and perspectives. It helps us make sense of life, including deciding what is right and wrong, what causes problems, and what treatment strategies are necessary. A worldview drives the choices we make. It is our packaged-past. It is the mindset we have—good or bad—that shapes the way we view and interpret life, theology, relationships, and more. Remember, our perception is our reality, and our worldview is our perception.
For example, when a client has a conflict they cannot resolve, or is procrastinating over making a decision, the internal conflict he or she feels might be traced back to an underlying worldview of the people involved.
We develop our worldviews from past experiences and piecing them together in a way to view the world that is usually filled with inconsistencies. If we, as coaches, come to the table without coherent life perspectives, there is a much greater potential for confusion and misunderstandings. We need a clear worldview to help us make sense of life, make good decisions, and answer questions. If it’s clouded, it can hinder our efforts.
A Christian worldview helps our clients gain a clearer understanding of who they are and what is going on in their life.
To help your client evaluate their worldview help him or her to understand the following:
- Use your reasoning – does it hold together logically? Are there any inconsistencies? Ex. Does God want you to start a secular business? Does God want you to date a non-
- Think about your experiences – be suspicious of a worldview that can’t explain something or that seems to be opposite of what you experience (i.e. “pain is an illusion” is something that someone with a Christian Science worldview would say).
- Get input from others. Iron sharpens iron; let other people challenge your worldview and test yours against theirs. When you get defensive, look past your walls and ask God to show you why you’re feeling the way you are.
- Look objectively at what you believe and why.
Consider childhood upbringing—what you were taught, where you lived, and your experiences. What denominational churches have you attended? What schools (parochial, public, private)?
- Test it out – does it work consistently? Can you work, live, coach and build a career on your worldview? If it doesn’t work with the realities of life, you need to take a good look at why you have that worldview on a particular subject or towards a particular person.
As ICF Certified Christian life coaches, it is imperative to help our clients see their lives from a biblical view, so they can see a bigger objective picture of what God is doing in and through them. By helping our clients make biblically-based decisions, we are helping them live God-centered lives—and there is nothing more satisfying that living our lives for Him!