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Spiritual Leadership Coaching

I have a confession to make. I sometimes talk too much. OK. I often talk too much. And I’m not just referring to parties where my sweet wife, Lisa, gives me the look that says, “Perhaps you should try this spinach dip and let someone else talk for a while.”  I’m also not suggesting that I should always remain silent, although at times I have been convicted by Proverbs 17:28, which claims, “Even a fool is considered wise when he keeps silent . . . .” Rather, I have become convicted that I speak too much when people ask for advice.

I earn my living by speaking. I also care a great deal about pastors and Christian leaders. Often when I am speaking at an event, someone will approach me afterward and ask to talk with me. At times, pastors will take me to a restaurant so they can bend my ear about leadership challenges they are facing. It was in my restaurant counseling role that I first noticed my problem, and I’m not referring to eating dinner rolls at 9:30 at night. A troubled pastor would bare his soul to me about the problems he faced and the disappointments he was enduring. Having heard many of those problems before, and knowing the restaurant was closing for the night in less than an hour, I would then begin spewing forth as much wisdom as possible in our rapidly diminishing time. On many occasions, the restaurant manager eventually approached our table and diplomatically informed us that closing time was fifteen minutes prior.

As the pastor and I parted ways, I wondered if anything I shared would make a difference in his life. Knowing that truth sets people free, I had tried to set as much truth before the hurting person as possible (John 8:32). But herein, I realized, was my problem. I was trying to solve the problem rather than helping the person discover God’s answer. I was doing the bulk of the talking, so the person was unable to hear their own voice. I had tried to be profound, but a word from God is earth shattering.

Ultimately, my problem was that I had focused on making memorable statements rather than on asking soul-searching questions. By making statements, I was setting myself up to be the hero. Had I asked questions, the person could have discovered the truth of God that could set them free.

Blackaby Ministries International has developed a spiritual leadership coaching ministry. It is different than most other coaching services. We do not ask the typical question, “Where do you want to go with your life?” Instead, we ask, “Where do you sense God wants to take you in your life?” Our role is not to enable people to experience their dreams, but to embrace God’s will. As coaches, we seek to withdraw into the background during the discussion so the Holy Spirit can assume center stage. We understand that giving people the exact answer they need is less impactful than allowing them to discover God’s answer themselves.

In my own journey as a coach, I have learned that it is easier to state my opinion than to ask a question that helps people ascertain what God thinks on the matter. I have also discovered that I do not need to match every experience someone has had with one of my own. My “relevancy” comes from actively and compassionately listening.

One final thing I have learned is that most people would benefit from a leadership coach. We all fall into ruts. We slide into routines without questioning or evaluating their effectiveness. We make assumptions about ourselves, God, and our work that desperately need to be challenged. We all have room for improvement! And we all have blind spots. We tend to blame our problems on others, not ourselves. We are too quick to assume that we cannot change our circumstances. We tend to feel the pain of our problems, but we are often blinded to the solutions.

Spiritual leadership coaches help us see ourselves and our circumstances clearly. They encourage us and cheer us on, but they refuse to do our thinking for us. They also wisely refrain from taking the place of God in our lives. Instead, they skillfully and adeptly lead us into God’s presence so we are able to hear His thoughts on our life.

Leadership coaches are not just for C suite executives. Parents can benefit from a coach. Too many parents today are failing with their children yet falsely assume there is nothing they can do about it. Church leaders are too quick to blame Satan and spiritual warfare on their lack of success when the real culprit might be their poor leadership skills. God has a purpose for every person. Coaches help people discover and embrace that purpose.

If we at Blackaby Ministries International can help you enlist a coach, or become a coach, we’d truly be glad to help. God has blessed our ministry with some outstanding coaches. I have watched them in action, and I marvel at how they can lead people into life-changing moments of discovery. We also provide workshops for people who sense they need to become a coach. Some of these people intend to become professional coaches. Others simply want to develop better listening and coaching skills to enhance their work as a volunteer or as a parent.

BMI offers a spiritual leadership coaching workshop in Jonesboro, GA, every spring and fall. The next workshop will be held November 29th-December 1st. People from all over the nation will gather to learn together in this exciting environment. Numerous people have traveled from places such as Canada, France, Nigeria, South Africa, and the Philippines to attend these workshops. My parents and I typically speak to the participants, but our trained coaches take the lead in not only teaching, but also helping participants experience what we are talking about. Feel free to check out our web site at http://blackabycoaching.org/.

If you are like me, you realize that your words are not all the same. Some have little impact on others. Other words are life-changing. In these troubled days in which we live, I want my words to count!


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