Katie's Message - Are You Called to Be a Christian Life Coach? By Katie Brazelton, PhD, MDiv, MA
God has placed a distinct call on the lives of Christians in the coaching profession. Whether you are thinking about becoming a Life Coach or are looking for a Coach to walk alongside you, let this discussion help you reflect on two things: First of all, God has His eyes on this influential, Kingdom-building group of dedicated servant-coaches. And secondly, He has anointed them to coach on a vast array of topics in the power of His Holy Name.
As Life Coaching fast-becomes a partner to the Lay Counseling ministries in our churches, I believe God is hand-picking key individuals who need to be ready for that important task. His standards are high for those He is calling, because the stakes are so incredibly high when a Christian accepts the responsibility for coaching another human being!
So let me ask you: Have you been called by God to be a Life Coach? Is coaching the deep desire of your heart? Is it the fascination in your soul, your Divine Urge, your legacy and destiny – or is it another “nice thing” in your tool belt? One easy way to know for sure is to ask yourself: If I had $64 billion, would I use it in some way to coach others or to bless this budding endeavor in the Christian marketplace?
Please know that every “open door” is not God’s Will for your life. I learned that lesson the hard way in 1990. I was in a lunch-time prayer group in a corporate setting, and I said to my good friend Nick: “I guess I’ll go ahead and teach Sunday school again this year. I don’t feel like it’s my thing, but the church really needs me.”
I will never forget what Nick said to me. He changed my life forever with these words: “Please don’t do the church any favors. We need volunteers who are called to this critical assignment, those who are willing to wipe our kids’ noses and teach them with the love of Jesus.” THANK YOU, NICK, for that reminder about the difference between being capable and being called to serve in a particular role!
You must wrestle with a similar spiritual dilemma in regard to God’s calling on your life: Are you both capable AND called to be a Life Coach?
So, how can you know, with certainty, if God wants you to serve in this field or not? Basically, hearing from Him involves four steps:
Does God’s Word confirm it? Have you been “still” before the Lord and sought His wisdom through reading His Word and praying? Has the Holy Spirit used the Bible to give you an impression about His answer?
Has your impression been affirmed by mature Christian believers? Have others remarked that they believe this is God’s Will for you? This can include comments from those who know you well or barely know you. The insights can be solicited by you or entirely unsolicited.
Is there fruit in your life? If your life has produced fruit in related tasks like discipling or mentoring or counseling – that could be a good indicator that you have been placed by God in the coaching niche for this season of your life. Of course, this question also refers to the Fruit of the Holy Spirit as mentioned in Galatians 5:22: “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.” (NIV ) Do you bear some of that type of fruit, as well?
Do you have a strong sense of knowing the truth? Is a yes answer obvious to you about becoming a Coach, or is there confusion in regard to your decision? (When there is confusion, we wait!)
If you are still not sure about God’s plan for your life, and you find yourself if a holding pattern, try answering these five coaching-type questions that can provide further clarification and undeniable evidence:
Has God shaped me to be a Coach? We are all works in progress, but basically it may help you to reflect on how you have been shaped by God. Do you, for example, currently have the spiritual gifts of encouragement, wisdom, discernment, and leadership? Do you have natural abilities, such as being a good question-asker and listener? Has your character been molded with traits like patience, humility, and a non-judgmental attitude? Most of these are essential when working with coaching clients. (Side Note: If you are primarily a teacher at heart, then teach. Teaching and coaching are two different gifts! Nothing worse than a Coach who is always in teaching mode with unsuspecting clients.)
What is my motive for wanting to become a Coach? When you look deep inside your heart, can you say that you are truly seeking to help others more boldly reflect Jesus and further His work on earth? Are you excited to coach from an unapologetically biblical perspective, guiding others to a life of significance and fulfillment of God’s plan for their life, rather than only toward a life of success, fortune, prestige, and/or power? Or, is your motive tied more to selfish ambition, such as a desire to control others or play god in their lives, or to earn a substantial wage or be esteemed? If your motive primarily revolves around personal gain, walk away from the field of coaching. In fact, run!
Is Christian-based coaching my passionate ache? Can you not do it? Is it your one thing, like Jack Palance (Curly) said in the 1991 film, City Slickers? Whether that involves coaching about finances, marriage, parenting, career, character, relationships, media relations, life purpose, etc. – is this what you were born to do? Is it what God put in your heart eons ago, before you were even conceived? (Extra Note: Coaches often love to get their message out by speaking or writing to larger audiences about their key area of passion!)
Do I have a track record for being the type of person this job requires? Are you inherently suited for this line of work? For example, do you speak the truth in love, guard confidentiality at all costs, and enjoy nudging others to take a step? Do you have a natural bent toward discretion and sound judgment?
Am I surrendered to God, and do I hold this opportunity with an open hand, ready to surrender it, too, if asked to do so? Are you living an authentic Christian life that allows you to “walk the talk” of a surrendered Life Coach and to be a good role model for others? Do you have the depth of soul that involves living a life of joy and confidence in Christ? Are you willing to undergo a character makeover on a daily basis – addressing major flaws like arrogance, lying, perfectionism, or legalism? Is there any un-confessed sin in your life that could cause a client to stumble if he/she discovered it? Are you attempting to surrender all aspects of your life, including the business/ministry of coaching?
All of these questions will help you dig deeper into knowing whether you were designed by God to be a Life Coach. This is a Higher Calling that can enormously bless others. I always say that…“I believe God is looking to enlist smart, funny, holy, passionate, visionary leaders – those who can’t not do this work!” It is true that alone, we are not good enough, holy enough, wise enough, etc., but because it is God’s grace that defines and covers us, we are sufficient in Christ TODAY to be all He intends for us to be.
Has God made it clear to you that He is calling you by name to be a Life Coach? If so, I urge you to heed His call today. Don’t delay another minute. I pray a convergence of all things godly to make it happen!
(Isaiah 40:31 TNIV)