WHAT IS A CHRISTIAN LIFE COACH?
According to the International Coaching Federation (ICF), life coaching is “partnering with clients in a thought-provoking and creative process that inspires them to maximize their personal and professional potential.” Christian life coaches adhere to this definition but still use biblical values to direct their coaching processes and encourage their clients to achieve their goals. Most of the time, a secular coach encourages his or her clients to search within themselves and listen to what their hearts are telling them.
The clients will be guided to rely on their inner strengths and what they feel is the best thing to do. Conversely, a Christian life coach may depend on the Holy Spirit’s teachings and inspire clients to do the same. Clients will be guided to develop a closer relationship with God and cultivate a habit of seeking and pursuing God’s direction and will.
Christian Life Coach approaches coaching from a spiritual perspective. Therefore, he or she acknowledges the following important truths:
• Man is created in the image and likeness of God.
• God is sovereign
• God is omniscient
• God loves to guide, empower, motivate, and support his children in this life.
• True fulfillment is only possible when people live in accordance with the principles and plans of God.
Christian life coaching is based on the belief that God is the reason for all achievement rather than human ingenuity and providence.
WHAT IS A CHRISTIAN LIFE COACH?
There are several people-helping relationships, such as mentoring, advising, and therapy, but all of these are very different from Christian life coaching. The most noticeable distinction is that Christian life coaching requires an inside-out approach. In other words, coaches are seeking to figure out what God has put in their clients. Other people-helping careers follow the outside approach because they are primarily concerned about the “presenting problem”—the surface issue that the client thinks they want assistance with — and acquiring the skills and abilities to deal with that issue. Let us look at each of these “people helping” approaches to make the distinction clearer:
A discipler is a mature person in the faith who helps his or her disciples achieve the same degree of maturity. A clear example of this relationship is where a seasoned Christian comes along with a new believer to enable him or her to understand and develop in his or her newfound faith. Disciplers help their disciples to reach maturity through modeling, directing, advising, and teaching.
A counselor has a predefined idea of the perfect mental health, depression, communication, marriage, or niche they specialize in. They use these models to direct their clients to this ideal state. They do this by advising, guiding, and teaching.
A mentor’s role is to instill his or her skills and expertise into the life of the person he or she is mentoring. This is generally done by modeling, teaching, guiding, or advising. A mentor has to be an expert in the area in which he or she is mentoring, expertise set through experience, study, school degrees, etc.
A consultant is hired to add his or her know-how to a specific situation. Consultants help fill the difference between the client or organization and where they need to be by offering what is missing. This is achieved through modeling, counseling, guiding, and teaching.
WHY WOULD I NEED THE HELP OF A CHRISTIAN LIFE COACH?
As Christians, we’re meant to be full of joy and live totally organized lives all the time, right? Often it seems like that’s the expectation we place on ourselves, but the reality is always very different. If you are stuck but willing to move on and ready to do what it takes, life coaching will help you overcome the obstacles, shorten the learning curve, and follow through with focused action. Life is complicated, and it can be very satisfying and also very difficult, with much conspiring to cause us not to live our lives to the fullest. A Christian life coach will help with issues like:
Who do you say you are? Difficult situations, pressures, or bad past experiences make us believe lies about ourselves. But God says that you are His masterpiece (Ephesians 2:10) and that you are made fearfully and wonderfully (Psalm 139:14). He bestows love on you (1 John 3:1) and longs for you to get your worth and identity from Him. A Christian life coach can help you live in agreement with who God says you are.
What’s most important to you? Identifying your value and living according to them provides great clarity, purpose, and freedom in decision-making. They will help you recognize what matters most to you, and how they align with God’s heart for you — to live with joy, patience, peace, kindness, faithfulness, goodness, gentleness, and self-control (Galatians 5:22-23).
Is your life full of clutter, or out of balance, whether physical, emotional, or mental? Do you feel like you’re trapped in an endless loop of busyness without going anywhere? Jesus urges us not “to worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself” (Matthew 6:34). A Christian life coach can help you restore equilibrium, reorder goals, declutter, and learn to appreciate the moment.
Do you know where you’re headed in life, what is God’s purpose in your life? What has life prepared you for? A Christian life coach will help you analyze all that you have experienced in life and move towards understanding the “good works that God has prepared in advance for you to do” (Ephesians 2:10).
STRENGTHS AND ABILITIES
Do you know what you’re good at, how your strengths, ability, life skills, and personality make you unique? Everybody is “fearfully and wonderfully made” (Psalm 139:14). A Christian life coach will help you embrace a life of truth, freedom, greater confidence, and a life without negative associations with others.
What caused you to get stuck or stopped you from making changes before? What are the negative self-talk and belief systems that are keeping you trapped? Along with the Holy Spirit, a Christian life coach will help you recognize obstacles and negative self-belief, and take those thoughts captive (2 Corinthians 10:5) and help you break free to live life to the full (John 10:10).
HOW TO START A CHRISTIAN LIFE COACHING BUSINESS
Starting a Christian life coaching business is no different from starting some other kind of business. You may want to view the following steps to launch a successful Christian coaching business.
STEP 1: EDUCATION/TRAINING
Some people will argue that you don’t need any preparation, and just your desire to help people and your life experiences are enough. I’m afraid I have to disagree with that statement. If we require that our therapists, psychologists, or even massage therapists have some educational degree, why not our life coaches? Unfortunately, because coaching is unregulated, you appear to meet many people who claim to be coaches without formal or advanced training. For you to be a successful Christian life coach, it is important to have the requisite coaching skills, strategies, and resources to support your clients. Check out the International Coaching Federation (ICF) or the International Christian Coaching Association (ICCA) for Christian coaching training to qualify in that field.
STEP 2: ESTABLISH YOUR SPECIALTY
If you have chosen your specialty and the areas that you want to discuss, your task now is to determine if you want to concentrate exclusively on women, men, youth, etc.
STEP 3: THE NAME OF YOUR BUSINESS
It can be exciting but difficult at the same time to work out a name for your business. When choosing a name, try to choose one that reflects who you are and what you have to give. Many coaches use their name and others, particularly if incorporating other services, use unique business names. In a nutshell, let the name you select refer to your ideal clients and the solutions they are searching for.
STEP 4: REGISTER YOUR BUSINESS
Registration of the business is one of the general steps that any business takes to operate legally. Before you register a business in the United States, you need to find out what sort of entity you would like to set up. Many entrepreneurs declare their business as a limited liability corporation (LLC) to escape personal liability. Now, if you are unsure of which business method to use, it might be wise to consult an accountant or a tax professional. You may also want to consider liability insurance for your coaching business.
STEP 5: HOME OFFICE OR WORK OFFICE: WHICH ONE?
If you offer other services besides Christian life coaching, it is necessary for your business to have a physical office space where you can meet clients locally. But the decision to rent office space or build a home office depends entirely on your business needs, your budget, and your preferences. If you plan to provide secondary services to your customers or plan to implement things like seminars or workshops, then a physical location may be right for your business. Subletting an office space is something that you can also consider to help with overhead costs. On the other hand, if you’re planning to coach clients exclusively on the phone or online, your home office might be the best option.
STEP 6: ADVERTISING
You may have everything you need to get started in your new Christian life coaching business, but there’s no business without a target market.
MARKETING/ADVERTISING = CLIENTS AND BUSINESS GROWTH
When you have gotten all the legal stuff out of the way, it is time to get your services and goods on the market. You’re on social media sites like Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, creating a website, join an online community where your target clients meet up, etc.
Another way to market your life coaching business is through your local Church. There are also local bookstores, restaurants, local grocery stores, and a library that you can take advantage of. It’s an endless list. You can give coaching information sessions where you can share more about who you are through your Church or community center, what programs you offer, and what Christian coaching can do for people.
IS CHRISTIAN COACHING RELEVANT IF YOU ATTEND CHURCH?
There are some rules involve in secular coaching, but God is rarely involved in the process. However, Christians do their best to include God in everything that they do. King Solomon told us,
“In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.” (Proverbs 3:6)
One of the difficulties of living in a secular society is that we can quickly start thinking and functioning according to society’s dictates. Though, as Christians, we are in this world, we are not of this world. This means that we think and behave differently, and our life’s focus comes from a biblical and everlasting perspective. Christian life coaches help their clients refocus and repurpose their efforts to align themselves with biblical teaching, and what the client thinks is God’s purpose for his or her life.
A Christian life coach will question any negative beliefs that might be holding clients back from their goal. The coach helps clients see themselves the way God does, which can go a long way toward overcoming any limiting beliefs and mental barriers that hold the client back.
Most, if not all, of the choices that people make regularly, are rooted in internal thought patterns. And your thought is directly linked to what you believe is true about the situation that you are in, whether good or bad. Here is the basic principle: previous experiences form internal beliefs; beliefs determine thoughts, thoughts determine feelings, and feelings determine actions and reactions.
When internal beliefs are based on past biases, the decision-making process is hampered. A Christian life coach encourages their clients by challenging what the client considers to be true, offering a new perspective, which allows them to make new choices. The coach will encourage their clients to see their values and thought patterns in the Scriptures’ light. For example, the apostle Paul, through his epistle to the Philippians, was reminding the Church,
“Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.” Philippians 4:8
Obviously, all Christians must attend Church (Hebrews 10:25) and belong to the faith family. But church attendance doesn’t mean there’s no need for life coaching. A local church should provide mentorship, discipleship, and a group of believers to engage with. Depending on the Church, Bible-based counseling may also be available. But, as already noted, they’re not the same thing as life coaching. Life coaching offers unique insights, challenges, empowers, encourages, and helps people build strategies to achieve personal and professional goals.
SPIRITUAL LIFE COACH, VS. CHRISTIAN LIFE COACH
Contrarily to popular opinion, a spiritual life coach and a Christian life coach are not the same. The word “spiritual life coach” refers to the wider, abstract meaning of the spiritual world and includes interacting with a client who has some kind of spiritual beliefs. A spiritual life coach works with his clients to help them live by their spiritual principles. This means that spiritual life coaches will work with clients around the religious divide, e.g., Muslims, Buddhists, Pagans, Scientologists, and more.
On the other hand, Christian Life Coach seeks to work with Christians. A Christian believes in the God of the Bible and has accepted his Son, Jesus Christ, as his Lord and Savior. Christians believe that Jesus Christ is the way, the truth, and the life and that no one can have access to God but through Him (John 14:6). Therefore, a Christian will follow a Christian life coach and not just a spiritual life coach.
Some Christian professionals prefer to work with secular life coaches because they believe that Christian life coaches might not be well prepared to help them do business. This confusion is based on the misunderstanding of who and what a Christian life coach actually is, and what life coaching is and isn’t. Christian life coaches aren’t the same as pastors. In fact, a theological degree isn’t a requirement for a Christian life coach. Certified Christian life coaches are trained well just like any other coaches, and most have completed training that integrates a biblical worldview.
Indeed, several Christian life coaches are accredited by the ICF (International Coach Federation). As ICF accredited coaches, these individuals follow the ICF guidelines to ensure that life coaching’s core competencies are used during sessions. Christian life coaches can also help their clients in the same area as secular coaches. The added benefit is that Christian life coaches have a Christian viewpoint and a biblical perspective.