Vineyard Churches UK & Ireland

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Coaching in the Vineyard

Maggie Parsons

In cooperation with the Holy Spirit, coaching can help a person or team sort out where they are, identify obstacles, set goals for the future, discover where God wants them to go, and then help determine how to best get them there.

What is Missional Coaching?

Missional Christian coaching is the process of coming alongside a person or team, to help them discover God’s agenda for their life & ministry and then co-operating with the Holy Spirit to see that agenda become a reality. It is an ongoing conversation that empowers a person or team to fully live out God’s calling upon their lives.

The goal of coaching is for the person being coached (the ‘coachee’) to listen to the Holy Spirit, to discover insights about themselves and take action in reshaping their life. The coaching relationship is expected to encourage insights, to facilitate greater personal awareness, to change behaviours, to initiate actions and, ultimately, to produce results that bring satisfaction. Much is expected of the coachee as it is their responsibility to prayerfully ponder, imagine, reason, identify, plan, decide, and implement their goals.


What could I expect if I were being coached?

Coaching is about you – your goals, your learning, and your growth. Together, you and your coach will listen to the Holy Spirit to hear His voice concerning you.

Coaching is about learning – rather than teaching. You are the expert on your life. Your coach uses coaching techniques such as active listening, open questions, encouragement, feedback, and always remains supportive. The focus is on assisting you in discovering insights and taking the next steps in pursuing your calling.

Coaching is about action – your action. Each session you will determine 1-3 actions steps you will take before the next session. You may be surprised how quickly you progress toward your goals.

Coaching is about all of you – not just your work or ministry. We all know that altering old habits and thought patterns is difficult. Your coach recognizes these patterns and will support you as you change and grow.


What Coaching Isn’t

It’s not counselling – although many of the communication techniques are the same, like active listening, reflecting, use of questions, limited advice giving etc.; counselling focuses on the past to bring healing and unblock a person so they might move ahead. Coaching is future and action-orientated, for people who are basically free of debilitating psychological or emotional issues.

It’s not mentoring – mentors are experts in a particular field who seek to pass on their expertise to a person. Mentors provide knowledge, advice, guidance, correction, and encouragement to people who are newer and junior – by experience if not by position or age. Mentors usually advise and teach to guide and impart knowledge and wisdom.

It’s not training – in training, the trainer sets the agenda. Changes are imposed from outside the participant via the trainer. In coaching the coachee sets the agenda. Coaches use adult learning principles of self-discovery to motivate change from within you.

It’s not authoritarian – did you have a tough sports coach who used to yell at you and make you do a million push-ups if you made a mistake? That’s not coaching. Your coach will push you beyond what you might think you can do, but will always be supportive. You are in control. The desire and responsibility to choose and act is yours.

“You see that his faith and his actions were working together, and his faith was made complete by what he did.” James 2:22

“As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another.” Proverbs 27:17


Why Does Coaching Work?

 Coaching works because it brings out your best; your coach believes you can create your own best answers and is trained to support you in that process. During your coaching sessions, your coach will:

  • Listen: Your story is central. A coach is fully engaged in what you are saying. They also listen to the Holy Spirit, encouraging you to discover ‘what the Father is doing’ in your life.
  • Ask questions: Your coach uses questions to stimulate your thinking and creativity. Questions are about possibilities and the future.
  • Encourage: Everyone needs encouragement – and we usually don’t get enough. Your coach will hold and preserve your vision, your progress, and your efforts.
  • Facilitate while letting you lead: A coach facilitates your learning and problem solving, yet they are not in charge, nor do they set the agenda – you are engineering your future.


Why Use a Coach?

The reasons people want coaching are endless, and as unique as the person. Here are a few examples that motivate people to use a coach.:

  • To make significant changes
  • To make better decisions
  • To set better goals and reach them faster
  • To address transitions in location and employment
  • To reduce stress, isolation, and/or uncertainty
  • To become more stable financially
  • To progress personally
  • To have a collaborative partner
  • To improve your relationships
  • To make a bigger impact on the world
  • To be a better leader or pastor
  • To simplify and/or prioritize your life
  • To evaluate and/or your pace of life
  • To grow spiritually


How is Christian coaching unique?

Coaches, Christian or not, will use many of the same communication tools. The big difference is that Christian coaches bring Christian beliefs and practices to the coaching relationship. If you are a believer, you have the Holy Spirit. It’s paramount that you listen to what He says regarding your goals, actions and next steps.

Christian coaches will encourage you to listen first to the Holy Spirit and then act. You and your coach will look at how God has called and equipped you for life and achievement. Your coach wants you to feel comfortable sharing your spiritual needs, doubts, and desires. A Christian coach will support and accept you as you are, yet encourage you to grow spiritually.

“I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened…”  Ephesians 1:18

“Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their work.”  Ecclesiastes 4:9

“You will never maximise your potential in any area without coaching. It is impossible. You may be good. You may even be better than everyone else. But without outside input you will never be as good as you could be.”  – Andy Stanley in ‘Next Generation Leader’.


Benefits of Coaching for Churches in our Movement

It enables us to better encourage and develop healthy, mature pastors in the UK & Ireland, who think for themselves under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, thus serving our aim of planting and developing healthy, growing churches that will multiply and reach their communities.

It will relieve the load currently carried by church planting co-ordinators, overseers, Area and Regional Leaders as coaches can be drawn from a wide range of people, including retired pastors and those in our churches who have the gifting to make excellent coaches.


Find out more

Visit our coaching page and contact us.

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