3 Definitions of what Coaching is NOT (according to the ICF – International Coach Federation)

Uncategorized Mar 14, 2020

“Coaching” is a buzzword in today’s society – business and ministry alike, but what does it really mean?

In Bridges Coaching we talk about how coaching gets you from here to there, like Cinderella’s coach or stagecoaches in the Wild West. There are a lot of different destinies people have as goals and many different types of coaches as well.

Here’s three types we are NOT talking about when referring to life coaching.

1) Teachers – Sports coaches are a type of this model. They are teachers of sorts, educating their athletes in best practices. Teaching them the plays necessary to win. 

2) Consultants – Many business leaders use the word coaching as synonymous with consulting. They hire someone with a particular expertise or education in a certain field to direct an initiative. A consultant may help a business focus on a lagging area or on a new enterprise. They pass on their skill or knowledge.

A health or fitness coach would likely fit in this category as well. 

3) Counselors – Many caregivers, whether vocational ministers or mature believers, offer words of wisdom that can help someone out of a difficult situation.

All three of these are valuable means of forward movement, but would not fall into the definition of coaching set by the International Coach Federation.

            “The ICF defines coaching as partnering with clients in a thought-provoking and creative process that inspires them to maximize their             personal and professional potential.”

Coaches applying for credentialing with ICF would not be approved if they used teaching, consulting or counseling methods in their coaching practice.

Bridges Coaching aligns with Christian Coaching Network International, CCNI, tenets about coaching.

  • Communion with God is foundational and integral to every aspect of a Christian’s life.
  • God has a plan for our lives.
  • Circumstances in life are often guided by the hand of God.
  • Choices may have eternal consequences.
  • Our faith places certain mandates and callings that should not be ignored.

Our job as coaches is to provide an environment and structure that ensures forward movement, pulls goals and strategies out from within the client and partners with them as the walk toward there next.

It takes a great deal of trust in the Holy Spirit. When we coach, we are empowering disciples not enabling dependents. We are helping people connect with their own personal journey of faith. 

Ephesians 5 has some interesting thoughts about coaching,.

            “10 Try to learn what pleases the Lord. …13 But the light makes all things easy to see, 14 and everything that is made easy to see can become light. …15 So be very careful how you live. Do not live like those who are not wise, but live wisely. 16 Use every chance you have for doing good, because these are evil times. 17 So do not be foolish but learn what the Lord wants you to do.” 

Coaching helps people learn what the Lord wants them to do. It encourages leaning in to the Spirit.

Can I be honest? Most times I would prefer not to be coached and some times I would prefer not to coach others.

Let me explain.

When I am facing a decision or needing to move forward and not exactly sure what to do, I would LOVE for someone to just TELL ME WHAT TO DO!

But here’s the problem with that – I believe God wants to have personal interaction with me. That means I have to do my due diligence in defining my situation and then asking Him for wisdom. I may not always hear correctly, but I will always learn something and grow. I want, to grow up and walk with Him and own every area of my life.

That doesn’t mean I don’t need teachers, or consultants, or counselors. There is a time for each, but in the end, what I do with what I hear is up to me.

On the flip side, when I coach others, some times I just want to TELL THEM WHAT TO DO!

I get frustrated that what seems so clear to me seems so cloudy to them. Alas, they will grow more from personal “Aha” moments than they will if they look to me to define their next steps.

Savvy coaching questions empower more than direct answers do.

God desires a personal engaging relationship with each of us and the effort is worth the results!

If you could benefit from Coaching can I recommend Traction? This interactive and attractive workbook asks questions that will help you define your here, your there and the steps in between!


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