Leading the World by Supporting Christian Coaching

Ethics 101 – Taking the Holy Spirit off MUTE

by Michael J. Marx

“You’re on mute, Michael”

Agh! How many times have I started to say something on a Zoom call and been reminded that I needed to take myself off of mute? My standard comeback sounds like this:

“Yeah, I’m going to write an article someday about taking the Holy Spirit off of mute.”

Well, let’s talk about taking the Holy Spirit off of mute during a coaching conversation.

As Christian coaches, we want the Holy Spirit to be present in our conversations with clients. Often we pray before the call or during the call that He should give us insight and revelation. How often do we allow Him to speak?

  • Trust the process
  • Trust the client
  • Trust the Holy Spirit

So, how does one actually take the Holy Spirit off of mute? What are the ethics of allowing a third voice to interject into the conversation?

In our coaching training programs, we teach you to ask permission to interject. Often the permission question sounds like this:

“Do you mind if I say something here?”


“Would it be okay if I shared something here?”

These are NOT real permission questions because 99% of the time the client will automatically grant you permission. In other words, in most places around the world it is rude to deny someone permission for something when asked politely. So, asking a closed-ended question for permission will almost always result in an interruption to the client’s ownership of the flow of the call.

I submit that permission questions need to be open-ended and formed in such a way that the client can deny the coach permission to interrupt. When a client is able to push back at the coach in this way, a high level of trust is evident. This is good. If the client always lets the coach do whatever he/she wants, the trust level is low. This is very bad.

What does an open-ended question sound like?

“How would it be if I shared a spiritual impression with you right now?”


“What would God say about that?”

In a VERY HIGH trust environment, the coach might even launch right into giving an observation and/or offering an impression. Trust is the fundamental competency and the basis for all ethical interactions. Don’t keep the Holy Spirit on mute. Let Him be a partner in the conversation. Who is the better coach anyway, You or the Holy Spirit?

~ Michael

If you have any questions or comments, don’t hesitate to write me at michael@newtrailscoaching.com

[author] [author_image timthumb=’on’]https://christiancoaches.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/09/Michael-mark.jpg[/author_image] [author_info]Michael J. Marx, MBA, EdD, PCC, CMCC. Michael is a Certified Master Christian Coach (CCNI) and specializes in business coaching and corporate consultation. Dr. Marx has served as the leader of the ICF ‘Global Community of Practice on Ethics.’ He also serves on the ICF Independent Review Board and leads the team for the Ethics Interpretive Statements. Additionally, he is a past-president of Christian Coaches Network International and the author of Ethics and Risk Management for Christian Coaches (2016). He also has co-founded a non-profit to inform coaches about what to do when someone is suicidal. See: https://coachingsuicideawareness.com

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