I have coached and counseled a number of people on a wide range of topics. And for all the coaches and counselors I know, and all the coaching and counseling I have done, I am sure of one thing. Not one coach, including me, has it all together.
Not one person out there has every part of their life completely perfect. It is likely there are some coaches struggling with the very thing that they are coaching people through; while still requiring some vigilance on their part, lest they begin their struggle again. For example, someone who cured a past addiction to pornography, may still struggle with lust, and would continue to actively work to temper their struggle. Or, even after years of professional success, a coach may remain challenged with organizing their business communications.
Do we have to have our life all together, in order to coach, counsel, or lead? No, we do not.
Is This Your Season?
It is important to note that you may have a current struggle that would disqualify you from leading, coaching or counseling. If you are engaged in an adulterous affair, you should not be coaching someone in the area of relationships or purity. If you do a poor job at maintaining your finances; you should not be counseling someone on theirs. Overall, if you are struggling, succumbing to habitual sin, or unable to find your way out of some broken place; this would be the season for you to seek counsel and support. It is a privilege, and honor, to teach and coach. However, it is important to remember that leading someone includes significant responsibility. This should not be casually considered. There is both reward and accountability when we enter into the course of someone’s life.
However, struggling in any particular area does not automatically disqualify you from coaching others. If you look through the Bible, you will find many leaders dealing with personal issues. Moses struggled with his temper and obeying God. Even after everything he saw God do, Moses still struck a rock for water after God explicitly told him to speak to the rock. David, after receiving abundant blessings from God, struggled with pride (not to mention lust that led to adultery and murder.) Peter, after living with Jesus, had to be reminded how to treat Gentile Christians. None of these examples are intended to be used as excuses for continuing in sin, but rather are meant to showcase God’s ability to work through us, for the benefit of others, in spite of our struggles.
Acknowledging the possibility to lead and coach, while still fully human, matters for the man or woman who is seeking wholeness and healing. Even in our imperfections, as Christians, one of the roles we are to fulfill is that of a leader. Don’t believe me? In Matthew 28:19 Jesus gave us a command that is referred to as The Great Commission. He said, “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.” A disciple is a follower. The way we make disciples (followers of Christ) is by leading, coaching and counseling them into the way of following Him. That is leadership.
Let’s Be Honest
The following questions are provided to help you determine if you should be coaching or counseling. You need to begin by being honest with yourself.
Do you have a current struggle that is overshadowing victory?
If your struggle makes it difficult to remember what victory looks like, maybe it is a bigger struggle that you initially thought. If you previously struggled with deep grief from an emotional hurt, found healing, but occasionally feel sad over it; you may be able to successfully counsel someone through the healing process. If talking through their issues causes an overwhelmingly hurtful response on your part, you will likely be a hindrance to their healing process. When you find yourself in this situation, you will best serve all involved by referring them to someone else, and finding some help for yourself.
Are you able to help them recognize victory in spite of your struggle?
This one is connected to the previous question. If the answer is no, you won’t recognize their victories as milestones for them. This would make you an ineffective coach at this time.
Do you currently have a coach? Why or why not?
If you do have one, spend some time thinking about what your goals are with your coach. Are you doing the work? If you do not have one, why not? If you are coaching or counseling people, you obviously know the value of it. Do you, as a coach, feel you do not need one yourself? Why would you feel this way? Could your pride be in the way?
Your struggles, past and present, provide you with the opportunity to understand more than yourself. What you share through coaching and counseling, is the ability to navigate through a place that you have already been, and help them recognize victory. In the end, our ability to give to others has little to do with us, and our circumstances. Our ability to give has everything to do with our willingness to surrender to the work of the Holy Spirit.