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Why a Pastor Needs a Coach

With the growing proliferation of various types of coaching for pastors today, many are asking if a coaching relationship is something to consider. With already full schedules creating the questions of whether to add yet another item to the calendar, with outstanding conferences and webinars readily available, and with so many excellent resources available in books and online, it is definitely a reasonable question.

Yet, a coach can be extremely beneficial to those in ministry, regardless of experience, expertise, or time constraints. Here are some things to consider in answering the question, “should I consider getting a coach?” The following items assume that the coach is one who is qualified, capable, and effective.

  1. A coach can be an excellent sounding board. Often, a fresh set of eyes on one’s life and ministry can bring a perspective one cannot find among peers, trusted friends, or leaders in one’s congregation.
  2. A coach can help clarify mission, vision, and goals. Meaningful discussion with an effective coach can bring about a fresh awareness of the nature of one’s call, how to implement that call and pursue vision in one’s ministry context, and the capacity to clearly delineate goals designed to fulfill one’s unique sense of call and purpose. in this context, it could be said that a coaching relationship follows a biblical model for ministry.  Consider the relationship between Paul and Timothy.
  3. A coach can help those in ministry find an appropriate balance between family, personal growth, and ministry demands. Many in ministry find this difficult, and without this balance, stress can become overwhelming and vital relationships can be damaged.
  4. A coach can be instrumental in enabling one to cultivate a healthy focus on one’s spiritual formation. Many in ministry struggle to maintain a vital prayer life and a growing relationship with Christ in the midst of the hectic pace of life with which many in ministry live.
  5. A coach can be a cost-effective resource for one’s continued learning and growth. Consider the expense of attending just one major conference. Airfare, hotel and food costs, and registration alone can often exceed $1000, and seldom do those events offer ongoing relationships that facilitate continued implementation of what is learned. Please note, this is not an argument against attending excellent events, they can be extremely valuable. It is instead an encouragement to use one’s resources in ways that maximize the value of dollars spent.
  6. A coach can help facilitate growing self-awareness. One of the bigger issues those in ministry face is that focus is so much on what other’s need. Effective coaching can help one grow in self-awareness and the ability to understand how one’s behavior impacts others in ways that enhance ministry leadership ability.

This list, of course, is not exhaustive. Instead, it is an attempt to offer a place to start as one attempts to answer the question, “should I consider getting a coach?”

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