directionI was recently asked this question in an email:  “Bob – are you familiar enough with spiritual direction to be able to articulate the general differences between that and coaching?”

As it happens, my wife Janet is a spiritual director, so I am familiar with the concept. Yet I found it surprisingly difficult to write out a formal distinction. After all, there are certainly many points of overlap: listening, asking questions, discerning what the Holy Spirit is doing, trusting the process.

But here’s a simple distinction I came up with:

  • spiritual direction focuses on how the person is experiencing God in midst of whatever they are doing through
  • coaching helps the client set goals and take steps to move forward

For example, a person is in the pit.  A spiritual director might ask, “How are you experiencing God in the pit?” A coach might ask, “What are your options to get out of the pit?”