“One size fits all,” the sign read.
Does it really? I thought to myself.
How ridiculous is it to think that a sweater that fits a person who is 5’6” would fit someone who is 5’ 11”? Whether the item is a sweater, a hat, or a pair of gloves, one size does not fit all. Period.
Yet, that is precisely how some churches approach spiritual growth—as though one program or method suits everyone, eliciting spiritual growth and maturity for all who are willing to participate in the program. It simply doesn’t work.
Because people are unique and learn in different ways. They are also wired for relationship. Lasting change almost always occurs within the context of relationship—with God and with each other—and through life experiences.
If information was enough to produce transformation, Jesus could have written a book and handed it to his disciples to read, instead of spending years sharing his life with them, walking with them.
What does this have to do with coaching?
I believe one reason coaching works is because it is highly relational and offers a personalized approach to spiritual and personal growth. We are at a place and time culturally where we have seen the limits of assembly-line spiritual formation, and it is simply not enough to produce the deep, lasting change we desire and need.
Why a Coach-Approach to Spiritual Growth Works
On the other hand, a coach-approach to spiritual growth is effective because:
Coaching is about transformation not information. Unlike other models of growth and development that focus on accruing intellectual knowledge, coaching is an inside-out process that focuses on external and internal change. As Christian coaches, we draw out of individuals what has already been placed in them by God.
Heart issues almost always come into play when we are coaching clients, and behavior change always follows heart change.
Coaching offers a personalized, experiential approach to growth. Coaching is organic, focusing on issues the client brings to each session. Generally, session topics are a direct reflection of what is happening in the client’s life and heart at the moment, moving the learning process from a solely intellectual model to an experiential one as well. Experiential learning facilitates lasting change.
For example, you tell your three-year old not to touch the stove because it’s hot. The child develops an intellectual understanding that the stove is hot. But, let that same child walk into the kitchen and put his or her hand on a hot stove, and you’ll never have to say another word.
Coaching is relational. Relationship lies at the heart of spiritual growth. It is the model Jesus gave us. It is within relationship, that our callings are affirmed and our hearts encouraged. Relationships give us perspective, strength, and the courage we need to push ahead.
When it comes to spiritual growth, one size doesn’t fit all . . . which is exactly why coaching is so effective.
How can you use coaching to facilitate spiritual growth in your life and the life of your church?