I share below my opinion about five common myths concerning coaching. They are based on the synthesis of my learning from Jill VanderWal and Dr. Rainer Kunz of CoachNet International Ministries, as well as conversations with Phil Newell who is my pastor and also a ministry coach to other pastors. You might disagree; in fact, they might disagree in part as well. And that is okay. This is simply the way I see it.
Myth #1: Coaching means telling others what they should do. (Wrong. Actually it involves active listening, asking good, even profound open-ended questions which evoke depth of response, and holding the coachees accountable for their own goals.)
Myth #2: Coaching means training others to do what you have done in ministry. (Incorrect. It is not training to peform ministry functions, it is coming alongside another to help them think and pray through to the next level of their ministry.)
Myth #3: Coaching can only be done by someone who has expertise in a specific area of ministry, e.g., children’s ministry leadership. (Actually it can sometimes be helpful to have someone coach you from a different perspective altogether, someone not beholden to a certain way of doing things or body of expertise. While expertise in your area is not necessarily bad, it also isn’t absolutely necessary.)
Myth #4: Coaching is a limited field which should only be handled by the experts in respective ministry areas. (Nothing could be farther from the truth. The reality is that it is a wide open field. I pray that God raises up a multitude of coaches within the ranks of children’s ministry who will come alongside thousands of older and younger leaders to help them through the stages of their lives and ministries. ***Hint: Even seasoned veterans can benefit from coaching. And the coach might even be someone younger.)
Myth #5: Coaching is basically the same as consulting. (I used to get the two confused. However, coaching is about asking questions and drawing out from the coachee what God is depositing in their lives and ministries. Consulting might have a coaching component, but it also often deals with training in skills and content. Plus it can have a more directive component, depending on the needs of the situation.)