The Value of Wise Counsel Through Coaching

During my 13 years as a pastor, I never considered hiring a coach. I had never even heard of a pastor hiring a coach. Not once. I thought professional coaching was only for CEOs.

And then I became a leadership and sabbatical coach. I now invest half of my week helping ministry leaders from over a dozen states understand their challenges and determine their next steps.

Over the last decade, having a coach has become more commonplace for pastors. The world has changed, challenges have intensified and the need for coaching has come into high definition.

Good coaching sits at the intersection of the sacred work you are called to and the practical challenges you are facing. While coaching may feel foreign, overly corporate or nebulous, I believe it can bring peace and clarity in a time of chaos and overwhelm.

Each week I get the privilege of watching miracles happen as God gives leaders clarity, relief, renewed calling and direction—90 minutes at a time. And each week I hear of more pastors who feel overwhelmed and overextended who could benefit from having someone to talk to.

Have you ever considered hiring a leadership coach? Here are few reasons why it could be a good idea:

  • Our shifting world. The church is facing rapid change requiring adaptive leadership. We need time to work on the challenges we face, not just in them.
  • Scarcity of mentors. We no longer live in villages with close proximity to wise advisors. Many pastors have little or no access to counselors for practical advice, yet there is a heightened hunger for gaining knowledge from people skilled in navigating change.
  • Lack of neutral voices. Everyone seems to want something from you, which can make it hard to trust and speak freely. You need to hear a neutral voice from outside your context to help you discern.
  • Information overwhelm. We are flooded with too much information on crucial topics from all different sources, all the time. It is hard to wade through it and determine practical next steps.
  • Isolation. Everyone is feeling a level of isolation and loneliness today. It is invaluable to have someone in your corner who can encourage, challenge and seek God alongside you.
  • Ease of communication. You no longer need to find a local leadership or sabbatical coach to meet with in person; you can find the right coach for you online and meet virtually.

When you entered ministry, you didn’t sign up for the complex challenges the past two years have brought, yet here they are. You are pastoring through challenging times, and your life, leadership, family and church matter too much for you to go it alone. It is not a sign of weakness to have help; it is wise. A coach can help you stay healthy as a shepherd and stay faithful to God’s calling.

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Alan Briggs
Alan Briggs

Alan Briggs, an Outreach magazine contributing editor, is crazy about helping kingdom leaders uncover clarity, courage and health. He is a leadership coach, sabbatical coach, writer and podcaster. His experience as a pastor and church planting catalyst inform all of his work. Join the conversation at Stay Forth Leadership Podcast