This post is part of a series on the 9 competencies of an effective coach, taken originally from Developing Coaching Excellence. To see all entries in this series posted so far, you can search “coach competency” on the main page of my blog. 

Coach competency 1 Abiding in ChristEffective coaching begins and ends with a strong spiritual foundation. So much of coaching relies on the ability of a coach to abide in Christ. That single quality can either make or break a coach, and it becomes an Achilles’ heel for many.

Too often a spiritual foundation is assumed and treated as a given. We often rush ahead to learning coaching skills only to have all our efforts come to nothing. We may excel in all the technical skills of coaching, but if we are unable to listen to God’s voice and submit to his leading, we will not ultimately be effective. Abiding in Christ means seeking the guidance of the Holy Spirit at each stage of the coaching process and recognizing our dependence on him as we focus on discerning the needs of those we are coaching.

How can we nurture the quality of abiding in Christ? The ways are varied, just as people are varied. The best place to start is with the observance of the spiritual disciplines, including prayer, fasting, and time spent in the word. From there, branch out into spiritual retreats, regular time set aside to develop a listening ear for God’s voice, and ongoing conversations with God throughout the day. Many coaches find it essential to be a part of a group of people committed to sharpening one another. These might be small groups, accountability groups, life transformation groups, or coaching triads. Every coach is different— we need to find out what works for ourselves and be diligent in practicing it.

When we stop abiding in Christ, we lose the ability to wait and rely on God and we lose the sensitivity necessary to hearing God’s voice. In the absence of his direction, we take people down paths where they were never intended to go. We short circuit the discovery process, becoming directive. People need to discover an idea for themselves before they will really own it— and that means coaches need to be people who know how to wait.

How can you go about strengthening the coaching competency of Abiding in Christ in your life?