Leveraging Coaching

January 11, 2017

by Dave Zietlow

New Year’s resolutions allow the possibility for a season to recalibrate self and ministry. Perhaps this is a time to focus on spiritual renewal. As a pastoral coach for the past several years in the North Carolina and the Western North Carolina Conference, one of the consistent affirmative topics often raised by clergy is the practice of spiritual disciplines during the clergy’s career.

These critical career moments include new appointments, first appointments, difficult challenges, and seasons of life. Coaching can be helpful in thinking through the need for spiritual direction and renewal. At its core, coaching equips people to move from where they are toward the greater competence and fulfillment they desire.
Stated concisely, coaching is the art and practice of enabling individuals and groups to move from where they are to where they want to be. Coaching helps people expand their visions, build their confidence, unlock their potential, increase their skills, and take practical steps toward their goals. (Christian Coaching, Gary Collins, 2 edition, page 14)

Gary Collin's book, Christian Coaching, presents a comprehensive picture of the relationship. Positive change that is: collaborative not prescriptive; dialogic not sermon focused; positive building up not problem solving taking apart; and life encompassing not component evaluating.
  • Listen intuitively
  • Demonstrate continuous curiosity
  • Promote mutual respect and trust
  • Clarify assumptions
  • Race alongside toward action oriented goals
There are several organizations that develop people coaching skills and certifications. Many coaching providers within the WNCC provide a wide range of coaching. Passion in Partnership is one example of coaching that uses the appreciative inquiry process to cultivate “lifelong fruitful ministry”. Peg Aldridge, co-founder of Passion in Partnership, spoke of the coaching relationship:
“In the open space of the coaching dialogue we believe God is at work in the conversation to help encourage, equip, and strengthen ministries." http://pipcoaching.net/
Coaching is not the only path to take in this discernment journey to recalibrate and move in an intentional direction. There are roles for spiritual advisor, peer groups, and/or spiritual mentors to dig deeper, discern direction, and share experiences. There are many resources available to clergy within the WNCC to recalibrate spiritual renewal and direction. Creating space to reflect and consider is a positive step forward in the right direction.
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