Blog Post: 5 Myths about Christian Coaching


I get a lot of questions (and quite a few comments) about coaching, especially what you might call “Christian coaching.” Through the years I’ve noticed that many of the questions stem from a handful of myths that have cropped up along the way and afflict coaches and non-coaches alike. These myths create unnecessary confusion, resistance, and frustration, so they need to be dispelled.

What are the myths? Glad you asked. Here’s my list of 5 myths about Christian coaching.

  1. Christian coaching is in the Bible. No it’s not. Many overly eager coaches and those being trained to coach try to locate coaching episodes in the Bible. But any honest reading of scripture will come up nil when looking for legitimate coaching relationships or coaching conversations. There are some biblical accounts that look kind of like coaching or express coaching competencies (powerful questioning, active listening, managing progress and accountability, etc.), but no actual coaching conversations where all those competencies come together the way they do in  modern-day coaching.
  2. Christian coaching is not biblical. This second myth runs far in the opposite direction of the first one. If you cannot locate coaching in the Bible, then it must be unbiblical, right? Wrong. Lots of great things are not explicitly described in the Bible, but we still leverage them for good and do so in godly ways. Want some examples? Think about the internet, dentists, university education, or football – none of these is in the Bible, yet we all appreciate them and make use of them.
  3. Christian coaching relies on humanistic philosophy. What some people mean when saying coaching is “unbiblical” is that coaching is a practice that runs against the grain of what the Bible teaches, specifically because coaching relies on humanistic philosophy. For those of us who skipped or slept through Philosophy 101, humanism is the idea that people (not God) are the answer to people’s problems. Some coaches are humanists who deny the power and agency of God and/or refuse to admit that people need salvation that can only be accomplished by God through Christ. But there is nothing about coaching that inherently relies on humanism. Christian coaches see the practice as a way to help people sort through their thinking, clarify reality, and partner with God in moving toward more abundant life. Christian coaches do not write God out of the equation, instead, we foster greater intentionality in the life of those we
    coach so the person who is coached can join God in the work God is doing.
  4. Coaching is the best thing since sliced bread. Well, maybe if you’re glucose intolerant this one’s true. But some coaches get so wrapped up in the power of the coaching that they warp it into a resource that will meet any and every need. Coaching is a relational tool that is a great fit for lots of circumstances, but it’s not the perfect fit for every circumstance. In fact, I did an entire
    post over at Western Seminary on how to pick the right tool for the job.
  5. Coaching is just a new name for mentoring. People who say this tend to have very imprecise definitions of coaching and mentoring and use both words to describe a close relationship wherein one person guides or advises another. But technically a mentor leverages wisdom gained through his or her own experience to teach, advise, encourage or guide another person. A coach uses his or her skill as a coach to draw out the other person’s wisdom, support them finding helpful resources, and to take meaningful action. While both relationships rely on trust and the goodness of a close relationship, they are very different approaches.

What about you? Which of these myths have you held or encountered? What are some other myths that we need to debunk?

1 thought on “5 Myths about Christian Coaching”

  1. Thank you Chad – A lot of GOD’s Wisdom in your teaching. My idea of a coach has been of someone that stands on the side line and blows a whistle. Someone who never gets along side his players and sweats. Unless the team is losing, a Coach stays a cheerleader. Jesus got in the pit along side ME. Sunday Skool in NOT in the Bible either… GOD BLESS

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