by Church Times



Dr. Oyewole Sarumi


In Part 1, we concluded that:” It is important for those who want to be effective spiritual leaders to understand the difference between mentoring and coaching. A mentor shares what he personally knows — what he has learned.  A coach assists by helping people discover answers and solutions to questions and problematic situations.”


In this part 2, we intend to define the different terminologies that people confused with Coaching, and go deeper in peeling off the meaning of the Coaching in Christianity using one of the definitions given below.


Before differentiating each one of these terms, let us note that all share the following in common: communication; interpersonal sensitivity; and relationships. Let’s now get to understand each of these terms to avoid mis-use.





Coaching focuses on who you are today and who you want to be going forward.  (The term “want to be” implies qualities and character of a person, not job titles or career achievements.)  Coaching does not focus on the past – like counseling may. The coach acts as a catalyst for the client to gain a deeper understanding of himself. The client brings an agenda (little agenda) to the table e.g. be more organized, get better at managing time, and while the coach helps the client deal with their agenda, the overlying agenda (big agenda) is the personal awareness and growth of the client.


Coaches know that the achievement of the big agenda goal will enable the client to handle all future little agenda issues that arise, thus bringing about more effective change and growth.  Achievement goals can be used to help the client move forward in their growth process. The achievement or lack of achievement of these goals is used to help the client learn more about himself.


Coaching, according to the International Coach Federation coaching is defined as “partnering with clients in a thought-provoking and creative process that inspires them to maximize their personal and professional potential.” The coach is the subject matter expert at coaching, not necessarily the subject matter expert of the client’s coaching topic.


Coaching facilitate clients to discover their innate drive and purpose and then to take ownership for their role in the organisation. It enables long-term change as it allows clients to be reflective and take personal responsibility for their actions. It does not involve any form of advice-giving. Instead, a coach will facilitate a client to become aware of their behaviours and to take positive action in their needed areas of growth.





Mentoring is a relationship between an individual with experienced in a particular field and a person within the same field who is looking for guidance to learn and grow in that field. In mentoring, a mentor is a wise and trusted guide and advisor. The mentor is the teacher that shares their experience while bringing the “mentee” up the ranks.


As the mentor shares his experience and knowledge, s/he acts as a sounding board, advises. There may be achievement goals set by the mentor or learner.  The achievement of these goals can bring about new goals to help the learner gain more insight and advance in their career. There may be some awareness of the character of the learner that comes out of the mentoring relationship, but this is not the focus.





Counseling is the providing of direction or advice to another person on a specific course of action, in its very general sense. Counseling can be related to therapy based assistance that uses psychological methods (and sometimes tools and methods very similar to those of coaching).


Counseling may use techniques that focus on the understanding of past situations to help deal with current situations. There is some understanding of who the person being counseled is (qualities and characteristics that arise in coaching as well).  The counselor tends to gain an understanding of the situation and the person, and then provides advice on next steps of growth.


Counselling, according to the CoActive Coaching, the boundary between coaching and counselling is not defined by a set of absolute rules or terms. In general, counsellors are trained to diagnose and help client with emotional problems, the past or dysfunction while coaches are not. The coach’s domain is future oriented – what does the client want? And then coaching the client to get there





Consulting involves the giving of expert knowledge and advice to other professionals. Depending on the manner in which it is delivered and the quality of the relationship between the consultant and the client, the advice given may or may not be taken on board.


In consulting, a consultant is an expert who is called on for professional or technical advice or opinions. They are relied on to understand the problem and present solutions. Consulting is unlike coaching because with pure coaching, the answers come from the client.





Training is the teaching of a specific task or objective.  This is usually provided individually or in groups. The trainer may or may not have a further relationship with the trainees.  The trainer provides specific instructional information regarding a specific topic.


Training usually has specific steps or routines to follow in order to achieve the desired goals e.g. Five ways to become a more effective speaker.  It does not look at the intrinsic qualities of the trainees that could assist him in achieving the training objective. As well, very common with training, there is no follow-up or accountability to see how the trainees are utilizing the information learned.


NOTE: There are definitely overlaps between the various disciplines.  To better serve our clients or employees, we would work to clarify when we are coaching, mentoring, counselling or training to help them gain the full benefits from each.


What it Really Means to Coach.

The Bible says in Proverb 20:5, “The purposes of a person’s heart are deep waters, but one who has insight draws them out.” Coaching is a quest and a journey to discover the unknown, hence it is an adventure. In coaching, we pursue adventure by asking questions in our conversations.


Asking questions is a trajectory that takes you into the land of unknown. This sometimes create fear, make you uncomfortable, but it helps dig deep into your imagination. The one asking question don’t know where the answers might take them. The one answering the questions also embarks on a journey through a deep reflection that prod their imagination and give new insights and discoveries never known to both parties.


Questions cause people to think in new ways and form new perspectives to issues under discussion. So asking powerful questions allows both the coach and the coachee to journey into the unknown to discover what God has prepared for the coachee in the conversation.


Why the Unnecessary Confusion About Coaching?

According to my coach, Keith Webb, ‘there’s a lot of confusion about what exactly coaching is and how to effectively coach. Coaching is unregulated field. Anyone can, and many do claim and call themselves a coach.’ “A friend of mine met a young lady at a party who said she was a Life Coach. My friend asked her, ‘where did you train to be a Life Coach? The lady answered, ‘well, in life!”


As a certified coach and coaching instructor, I groan when I hear such comment because without special coaching training, to equip you to be able to ask powerful questions that will cause reflections in the coachee, many of those who make such a claim remain in the realms of given advice and proffering solutions to their clients.


Who can be a sport coach without having to pass through a rigorous certification process? What most people don’t know is that coaching is not about teaching someone what we know. It is about helping people to learn new things through insights and reflections. The largest coaching association in the world is the ICF – International Coach Federation, which has established a body of best practices that defines what effective coaching is and is not. The type of coaching you will learn with me is align to ICF standard, codes and ethic and built around Christian theological views interspersed with useful worldview.


Let’s Define Coaching

It is how you define coaching that will reveal the values, mindset and approach that you bring in to working with other people. In other word, you will act in consonance with your beliefs. I have two definitions below, first based on ICF definition and the other its practice and results:


“A professional partnership between a qualified coach and an individual or team that support the achievement of extra-ordinary results, based on goals set by the individual or team “(ICF, 2005)


“Coaching is an ongoing intentional conversation that empowers a person or group to fully live out God’s calling.” – [Keith Webb, 2004]


If we break down the second definition, each of the parts will look like stated below:


Coaching is an ongoing…

If you use coaching skills as part of your everyday leadership, coaching will increase the effectiveness of your one-time, short, spontaneous conversations. For much deeper transformation, coaching is most successful over a period of time, through regular interactions. Many leaders choose to coach for 30-minutes to an hour every two weeks over a period of several months, or on-the-job through short conversations throughout the week. The regularity of coaching conversation makes a huge impact on your results.


…intentional Conversation…

“Intentional” does not refer to a pre-determined outcome. Every conversation is expected to produce Spirit-led discoveries, insights, and action steps. A coaching methodology utilizes process and communication skills designed to keep the coachee in the driver’s seat reflecting on ideas, making decisions, and taking action. It takes intentionality to have this kind of conversation with people.


…that empowers…

The overall result of a coaching conversation is that the coachees feels empowered. She has grown. She feels more equipped to think through and handle situations on her own. Throughout the coaching relationship, she has set the agenda for each conversation, created her own action steps, and makes her own decisions. There is no manipulation or dependency on the coach. In this sense, coaching is developmental. Coaches learn how to learn, think critically, and make good decisions.


…a person group…

Coaching focuses on an individual’s reflection, growth, and forward action, Groups can also be coached. A group of people will learn from the coaching interaction of the others. Teams can also be coached around the team’s goals and each person’s contribution towards those goals. In the case of teams, the personal growth needs of each team member would require individual coaching.


…to fully live out…

Coaching helps people to thrive, excel and to live out their full potential, rather than just making do. The process of coaching encourages greater obedience to God and alignment with His desires.


…God’s calling.

Here is where my definition diverges from many other – both secular and Christians. I believe that a coach’s job involves more than just helping another person to achieve whatever he or she wants. The coach and coachee must also pay attention to God’s larger purposes. Coaches help people to become what God would have them become (Ephesians 1:4, 5), and to do what God would have them do (Ephesians 2:10).


Coaching supports and encourages the calling, gifting, and unique potential that God has given each person. Calling is discovered and clarified by many different means throughout a person’s life. A coach is only one of the many people who is able to help discerns God’s call on a person’s life. Throughout the coaching process, the coach seeks to help the coachee clarify what God is saying to him or her and assist them in discerning what it means to live that out.


Coaching is a Process

In a nutshell, coaching is a process that takes an individual, team or organisation from where they are [the current state], to where they want to be [the future state]. Coaching has been defined in many ways as could be seen above. The essence of coaching is:

  • To help a person change in the way they wish and helping them go in the direction they want to go.
  • Coaching supports a person at every level in becoming who they want to be.
  • Coaching builds awareness empowers choice and leads to change.

It unlocks a person’s potential to maximise their performance. Coaching helps them to learn rather than teaching them.


Coaching is the mechanism to help you achieve the success you define for yourself, the coach is the ally that helps get you there. But in a world where roles and responsibilities from manager to mentor to consultant are common day, conflated, and often confused, where does a coach fit in?


What Does A Coach Do?

To most leaders, coaching practices are counter-intuitive. Many people see coaching as just another term for teaching one-on-one. One recent study found that mangers think they are coaching when they actually just telling people what to do. Even more worrisome is their peers reinforced their “micromanaging-as-coach” as good coaching. The good news is, with some training and practice, leaders can learn coaching skills and experience better results,


Take a look at these fundamental characteristics of good coaching.

  • Coaches don’t talk, they listen.
  • Coaches don’t give information, they ask questions.
  • Coaches don’t offer ideas; they generate ideas from coaches.
  • Coaches don’t share their story; they tap into the coachee’s experience.
  • Coaches don’t present solutions; they expand the coachee’s thinking.
  • Coaches don’t give recommendations; they empower coachees to choose.


Many leaders reading this list for the first time, may scratch their heads, and say, “Huh, is that so?” Yet, this is a basic description of what professional coaches do and don’t do.


To be continued……………

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