Christian Coaching Competencies

CCNI Competency #7 – Evokes Awareness

Facilitates client insight and learning by using tools and techniques such as powerful questioning, silence, metaphor or analogy.

  1. Considers client experience when deciding what might be most useful.
  2. Challenges the client as a way to evoke awareness or insight.
  3. Asks questions about the client, such as their way of thinking, values, needs, wants and beliefs.
  4. Asks questions that help the client explore beyond current thinking.
  5. Invites the client to share more about their experience in the moment.
  6. Notices what is working to enhance client progress.
  7. Adjusts the coaching approach in response to the client’s needs.
  8. Helps the client identify factors that influence current and future patterns of behavior, thinking or emotion.
  9. Invites the client to generate ideas about how they can move forward and what they are willing or able to do.
  10. Supports the client in reframing perspectives.
  11. Shares observations, insights and feelings, without attachment, that have the potential to create new learning for the client.

Christian Coaching Application

The ability for a person to change is limited in the absence of new awareness or paradigm. The famous adage by Mark Twain, “If you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always get what you’ve always got,” reflects the limits of our human capacity to break old cycles of thinking or doing. The effectiveness of the coaching partnership is augmented by the coach’s ability to help the client reach new awareness. With new awareness comes the potential for lasting change.

In creating opportunity for new awareness, and therefore possible lasting change, the Christian coach allows space for God’s revelation of His plan and nature within the context of the coaching partnership. As a part of integrating and interpreting sources, the coach also helps the client watch for hidden or inward thoughts that God is bringing to their awareness. Together, the Christian coach and client identify perspectives, attitudes, emotions, beliefs, values, or life actions that may be incongruent with the client’s faith or with the client’s perception of God’s direction or will.

The skill of creating awareness assumes a deeper dimension when it is coupled with seeking to know what God might be speaking into the situation and with identifying the measurement of new awareness with the “upward call of God.” (Philippians 3:13-14)

Direct communication has two roles in coaching. First, it helps to provide a clear, articulate, jargon-free communication style for the coach. Second, it provides a platform for the coach to speak directly into the client’s situation.

Direct communication is usually prefaced by something the coach heard or did not hear the client say. It may also be sparked by the voice of the Holy Spirit or even the coach’s own inner voice. Jesus used direct communication quite effectively. However, unless Scripture specifically indicates, it is difficult to ascertain if his comments were based on human perception, the gift of spiritual discernment or revelation knowledge from God. (Matthew 11:14-16; Mark 10:39; John 4:17; 14:6,)

The Christian coach may or may not experience revelatory knowledge or employ the gift of spiritual discernment but can nonetheless offer the gift of direct communication to assist the client. Direct communication is most effective when we offer our insights to the client in an inquisitive manner and come from the perspective of love, grace and truth.

There is always a risk in offering direct communication. Direct communication can interrupt the flow of discovery as we interject a new paradigm into the consciousness of the client. That said, we coach not from fear of offending the client, but we offer our insights in faith that God is directing the coaching process. We offer direct communication in terms of allowing the client to reject or accept that communication.

The art of asking a properly placed question has a rich history. However, its function as a tool to help another reach a new paradigm is seldom used in everyday conversation.

Often times, instead of announcing, teaching, or explaining, Christ purposefully used the tool of powerful questioning to create new awareness for those who followed him. He modeled the use of questions, as well as parables, to help his followers develop new insights and to grasp spiritual principles. (Mark 8:27-29) His questions helped his followers to see hidden motives and attitudes, but he also used them to draw from the follower their own answers – right, wrong or indifferent.

In addition, the CCNI credentialed coach:

  1. Partners with the client in discovering how or what God might be speaking into the client’s life.
  2. Helps the client explore how scripture and prayer can inform the session focus or the client’s goals.
  3. Is comfortable with the client disagreeing with God, even when scripture has given a clear command or instruction on a matter being considered by the client.
  4. Follows the model of Jesus in using questions, parables, stories and statements to give opportunity for the client to think creatively and explore new possibilities.
  5. Recognizes and encourages new awareness from God while not relying on direct revelation as the only source of new awareness in the coaching relationship.
  6. Follows the model of Jesus in using questions and statements to give opportunity for the client to think creatively and explore new possibilities.
  7. Is sensitive to their own tone when asking questions related to faith. Tone should not indicate judgment or an expected “right” answer.
  8. Avoids employing direct communication to direct or lead the client toward a particular belief, action or solution.

Possible questions

  • What are the opportunities that God is presenting in these circumstances?
  • What is the connection of this topic to what is God is speaking into your life?
  • How open are you to what God might be saying?
  • How does this affect your identity as a child of God?
  • What part of this is important to you in God’s scheme of things?