Initially limited to business owners, top executives, and entrepreneurs, professional coaching quickly grew in popularity as individuals began to hire personal fitness trainers, nutritional coaches, and wellness coaches as they began to recognize the value of having someone work with them personally to identify, clarify, and pursue the dreams they had for their lives.
Building on slogans such as, “If you can dream it, you can do it,” the field appealed to individuals searching for fulfillment despite great success in the business world. Of course, these appeals were about finding fulfillment in ‘the things of this life,’ which scripture tells us can never truly satisfy.
But just as secular psychology has given us much to draw from in developing the practice of Christian counseling, secular coaching offers many principles to assist us in developing a Christian model of practice.
If we remember that Christ alone offers true fulfillment, peace, joy, and contentment and if we center our work on investing the gifts He has entrusted to us for His glory rather than our own, Christian coaching is extremely valuable. God can and does use coaching as a tool in calling His children out into the fullness of the abundant life He purchased for them.[ii]
That’s one reason why so many Christians are now hiring coaches. They want to discern their life’s purpose and invest their gifts in expanding God’s kingdom and for His glory and renown.
Coaching Specialties and Opportunities
The opportunities for coaches to invest in God’s eternal purposes using their unique giftedness as coaches are endless. There are coaches specializing in spiritual growth, relationship enhancement, parenting/step-parenting, and life balance.
Many work with life transitions such as “empty nesters,” retirees, mothers returning home from the work force, or those moving on after the loss of a spouse through death or divorce. Several coaches specialize in working with businesses, corporations and nonprofit organizations, as well as those starting small businesses or cottage industries.
Career change and design, or college and graduate students considering the market place are other niches.
Some work with overseas missionaries and those in the ministry, helping them to thrive in highly stressful settings fraught with burnout. Still others specialize in the creative arts, working with musicians, actors, artists, writers, dancers, and those in media technology, to help them invest their gifts in Kingdom work.
In all of these examples and many more, a common theme is an orientation toward the future. People seek coaching because they have a passion for the future, not because of pain from the past. They don’t need healing; they want growth. And the growth they are seeking is not so much about having more or doing more, but about being more.
Simply put, they want to be that which God has called them to be, so that someday they will hear Him say, “Well done, good and faithful servant” (Mt 25:21).