Unfortunately, I’ve had the kind of conversation I’m going to describe below more than once. All of the names and some of the details have been changed to protect the innocent, namely me and my fragile coach’s ego.

“Why does this coaching relationship exist again?” the client asks.

Boom. There it is.

What's your role?

What kind of impact can a coach have on a client’s spiritual life?

For a faith-driven or kingdom-oriented coach, this crossroads presents a special challenge.

When kingdom purposes are a factor in your coaching, you have to make a choice.

The client ALWAYS chooses purpose of the coaching relationship, sets the goal(s), makes plans, and designs the action(s) connected to a coaching outcome. You–the coach–are a partner in that process, listening by default, asking bold questions and drawing out those purposes, goals, plans and actions.

But what role does the coach play in discerning whether the client’s plans line up with what Jesus has in mind?

This is where coaching can take on a bit of a sacred perspective. Jesus was very clear that “…where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them.” (Matthew 18:20) What if, as the kingdom-oriented coach, you are ensuring that Jesus is present in the coaching conversation?

Lots of coaches take this responsibility seriously. I know coaches who take their shoes off when an appointment starts to recognize the holy ground they’re walking on…

This coaching mindset frames what happens in a coaching conversation. Please know that this mindset applies for the kingdom-driven coach regardless of whether the client in a coaching conversation is Christian or not. (Ask me sometime about my Muslim clients.)

There are some key actions you can take with your clients to ensure that you’re lining your coaching up with kingdom purposes. Here are five key coaching strategies for kingdom-driven coaches:

  • Prayer & discernment with your client. Many Christian coaches pray with their clients during the coaching session. You might consider beginning and ending your coaching conversation with a word of prayer. After an opening prayer, I like to ask “In light of our prayer time a moment ago, what feels most important to you for this session?” This combines the two spiritual disciplines of prayer and discernment and applies them directly to your coaching.
  • Scripturally-based Principles. Whether you’re working with a client to figure out the purpose of a coaching relationship or evaluating a particular action plan, it’s always good to find an example in the Scripture of the particular behaviors. There are a LOT of parallels and great examples of coachable things. At the very least, your coaching should always line up with Scriptural principles.
  • Test everything. Ronald Reagan famously said “Trust but verify.” If you’re working to discern whether an action or a plan is aligned with the Spirit’s plans, this is crucial. Paul wrote to the Thessalonians (in a longer section about habits of prayer) to test everything and hold on to what is good! 1 Thessalonians 5:16–22 This is exactly what a kingdom-oriented coach does.
  • Confirm alignment with life purpose/mission. I have a life purpose. You have one, too. The most effective coaches work to ensure that their clients are only doing things that advance their purpose or mission. If you or your client can’t identify their life purpose, that’s a great place to start a coaching relationship.
  • Peaceful confirmation. Jesus left his peace with us, his people. He sent the Holy Spirit to help us. That peace is a confirmation that Jesus is with us. John 14:27 That’s the road we want to be on. You can look for the peaceful confirmation of the Spirit in your coaching conversations.

So, are you ready to help your coaching clients focus on their next kingdom-oriented next step? Do you have a strategy or coaching tactic that you like to use? I’d love to hear about it! Please put it in the comments below.