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3 Reasons Why You Need A Coach (And Why The Bible Tells Us So)

You, Church Leader, need a personal coach. Dr Karl Galik, guest speaker on our American Reformation podcast recently said, "The way I manage myself will have a direct impact on the mission I'm serving." Studies show that the mental health of church leaders has reached crisis levels, especially since covid. You, Church Leader, are overwhelmed with the mental, emotional, and spiritual needs of your congregation as well as your own mental, emotional, and spiritual challenges. You, Church Leader, often feel isolated and alone. I know because I have felt it too! And many of you are leaving church ministry in record numbers. You, Church Leader, need a coach!

Not necessarily the kind that blows a whistle and tells you to drop and give you twenty; not necessarily the kind that tells you to memorize the playbook and watch the videos of last week's game, and not necessarily the kind that tell you to step away from the refrigerator and munch on a carrot instead. I'm talking about a different kind of coach.

What does this personal coach do? I immediately think of the television series "Ted Lasso". This is the fictional story of an American college football coach who is hired to coach a British soccer team. It quickly becomes evident that he knows little about soccer, but he knows a lot about coaching people and giving them an opportunity to find their own way and make their own mistakes. The character, Ted Lasso, demonstrates that being a good coach has less to do with being an expert in the field and more about being a good listener and encouraging others. I need a Ted Lasso.

You Need Someone Who Will Walk Alongside You

Church leadership needs someone who will listen and walk alongside them, daily. We need someone who will check in on us and ask us how things are going without giving us a to-do list or a deadline or a problem to solve.

Coaches are not to be confused with mentors. A mentor may provide specific information on how to do something. Ted Lasso was not a mentor. He had not played soccer a day in his life and could not tell his players how to play the game, but he could walk alongside them and listen to them and partner with them as they contemplated the next move on the field and in life. What we need are coaches. Coaches courageously ask questions instead of giving advice. Coaching is about helping someone develop their vision, speak what is on their mind, identify challenges and think about the next step. Coaches ask more about "What" and “Why” than the "How".

You Need Someone Who Will Encourage Self-Care

You need a coach who will ask about personal goals, what renews you, and the ever-difficult question about how often are you practicing self-care. Coaches can help us in church leadership stay healthy mentally, physically, emotionally, and spiritually so that we can in turn take care of others.

Can you start to see how coaching could be helpful to us in ministry? Not convinced yet? Let's look at the Bible.

Jesus' first question in John 1:38 was, "What do you want?" Jesus of course knew the answer, but He knew it was important for the person he was speaking to, to have their own self-discovery. That's what a good coach does. The coach gives us the ability to answer our own questions and then the coach encourages us as we move forward.

Personal coaches provide encouragement. You, church leadership, need encouragement!

Did you know that the Bible mentions the principle of encouragement 50 times? In the Book of Hebrews the author warns believers not to harden their hearts but to "Encourage each other daily." (Hebrews 3:13). In Mac Lake's book, "Leading Leaders" he points out that "encouragement is much more than telling someone “You did a good job”. When done well, encouragement has the power to shape a person's soul." That's pretty powerful. Imagine having someone walk alongside us who could help "shape our soul"! Mac Lake continues, "Words of encouragement can infuse someone with a new perspective, a new level of faith, or a new way of seeing themselves. Encouragement keeps our hearts pliable, resistant to Satan's lies, and enables us to live with a healthy perspective of God and ourselves."

Wow. I want those of us in church leadership to have that! The Hebrews author in 10:24-25 says, "And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another – and all the more, as you see the Day approaching."

You Need Someone To Check-In With

Having regular check-ins with a personal coach could be transformative for those of us in church leadership. Leadership can be a lonely ship, as we know. We need to care for ourselves and our fellow leaders to ensure that we are all following Luther’s directive of soul care. After all, the way we manage our mental, physical, and spiritual health impacts all of us.

If you aren’t yet connected with a coach for yourself or if you’d like to connect a coach to someone on your team, the Unite Leadership can make a few suggestions such as our own Rev Tim Ahlman, Accelerator guest speaker Peggy Zilz, Coach Phil Heiser, or podcast guest and writer Dr. Karl Glik. Reach out to us at to be connected!

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Padre Dave Poedel
Padre Dave Poedel
Oct 10, 2022

I’m perplexed: should I offer myself as a coach, or do I need one?

Tania Hilton
Tania Hilton
Oct 11, 2022
Replying to

The ULC would say BOTH! If you are in a position of influence or leadership, you are likely already coaching someone but we find that many of our leaders tend to neglect being coached themselves, especial the Sr. Pastor. At ULC, we believe that all leaders need a coach! Even many of our coaches have coaches!

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