Why You Need a Personal Coaching Program

We weren’t meant to do life alone. Without a good team — and a good coach — we’re left with little direction or guidance.

Many of us have believed the lie of the self-made man or woman. But in order for us to become our best selves, we need a quality support network to challenge, affirm, and empower us.

I just finished up my year of being a part of the Youth Ministry Coaching Program (YMCP). Although I’m not a vocational youth minister, Mark Oestreicher was kind enough to allow me to be a part of his cohort.

It was the best professional and personal development decision I’ve made in a long time. Maybe ever.

Photo credit: Jeff Weese (Creative Commons)

I thought I’d sit in a lot of long meetings that would be informative, but relatively boring. I should’ve known better.

I was blown away by times of teaching, prayer, and personal sharing. I connected with the other ten members of this group in ways that I’ve seldom done with other groups.

I made lifelong friends. I was encouraged to pursue my dreams and walk more confidently in my identity. Oh, and I learned a few cool things about youth culture and ministry.

Everyone should pursue some kind of professional coaching program. Here’s why:

Good coaching challenges you

This group called me out when I was wrong or asked more of me when they knew I was holding back.

I learned that I can be arrogant and dismissive from this group. I learned that I still need to grow in my inner life and that while I know a thing or two, I don’t know everything.

I was challenged to be humble, open, and honest with others who are different from me.

Good coaching affirms you

The first time we met, someone asked me what my dream was.

“I guess it’s to be a writer,” I said, questioning myself.

“That’s ridiculous,” someone said. “You already are a writer.”

I’m not a big sports guy. I was on the golf team in high school for a year and was in a lot of spelling bees. That’s the extent of athletic, competitive involvement.

When I did do anything remotely athletic, I sensed that the coach was embarrassed by me. In fact, he occasionally would say so. It made me never want to try. So I didn’t.

In this group, conversely, I learned to believe things about myself that were already true. And I started living into them. This blog is a direct result of my involvement in the YMCP. There’s no other way around it.

That’s what good coaching does.

Good coaching empowers you

Perhaps my favorite part about this group was the “confession” time.

Now, this is not what you may be thinking. Clear your mind of images of sitting in a dark cathedral confessing your sins to a disinterested priest.

Every time we met, we would circle up our chairs, look each other in the eyes, and whoever had something they wanted to talk about, they would share.

We shared triumphs and disasters in our lives. Sometimes, we gave each other advice. Other times, we shared a moment of silence together. Deep dark secrets were divulged, and beautiful healing happened.

This kind of openness allowed us to feel safe enough to begin making important changes in our lives. As a result, we did things we never would have dreamed of this year.

That’s what a good coaching group does. They help you do your job better by first changing you. I love how we did it — collaboratively and in community. It was powerful.

Your turn

If you can find something like the coaching program I did in your own town (or even if you have to travel far to find one), I heartily recommend doing it. It’s well worth any investment of time or money you spend.

There are several mentoring and coaching groups that I know of around the U.S. and world (which I’ll share in another post soon), but I’d love to first hear from you.

Have you ever done any professional or personal coaching? Do you know of any groups that are worth being a part of? Share your experience in the comments.

*Photo credit: Jeff Weese (Creative Commons)

30 thoughts on “Why You Need a Personal Coaching Program

  1. “Clear your mind of images of sitting in a dark cathedral confessing your sins to a disinterested priest.” Boy, did that bring up memories! I always wodered if anyone was REALLY listening!I’m really enjoying your writing!

  2. All valuable information that really tugs at my heart in this season of transition and change.  We long for this kind of community as a family. 

    What I love most about your site this past year is how you are really seeking relationships and trying to impact others for better instead of just trying to write the status quo or gain a big following. That says a ton about your heart and your character 🙂

  3. Thanks for sharing your experiences. In the past I’ve benefited greatly from good coaching (still do in fact) and now I have the privilege of coaching others.

    The best athletes in the world never outgrow or outperform their need for a coach. Why would I try to be my best without seeking input from a coach as well?

  4. The focus of my ministry (www.AcornMinistries.com) is to provide coaching for pastors. Pastoral ministry is not what it used to be a generation ago.  It is a whole new ball game.  The need for coaching has never been greater.

    One challenge is that very few coaches target pastors.  My guess is that this is due to the fact that pastors rarely have the funds needed to secure a coaches services.  That is why I coach pastors as a missionary.  Other people support me so that I can provide this.

    Another challenge is that pastors are still reticent to embrace coaching.  This could be caused by a multitude of reasons, but ignorance is a likely suspect.  My hope is that this great article of yours will shed some much needed light on the need for coaching.

    Thank you!

  5. Hey Jeff, I can’t agree more. I’m about 7 months in to a coaching program as well. There were always things that I wanted to do, but could never seem to get started on my own. Without my coach, I would certainly not have started Cloud Coach.

  6. Congrats Jeff! I’m stoked to hear of another smart guy who’s experienced the power and value of coaching! Being a coach myself, I often feel like I’m walking around with the world’s best kept secret in my hip pocket. After experiencing coaching for themselves, my clients often exclaim, “Everyone should do this!” I couldn’t agree more. Thanks for helping get the word out!

  7. This is great, Jeff, I was especially attracted to the part about being challenged. I find that I have a lot of cheerleaders in my life, but rarely do people give me good feedback or tell me “no”. I do a lot of coaching but don’t receive a lot of coaching- which probably sounds familiar to a lot of other people. Thanks! (I played high school golf, too)

  8. A few years ago in college, I signed up for a mentor/coach at my church. I thought it would be cool to hang out with an older (and more godly than I – hah!) woman. But I got way more from it. Each time we met, she challenged me continuously. Most times I would get defensive and, frankly, pissed off at her questioning, but in the long run, it helped me grow . . . and heal somewhat. Since then we’ve both moved states, and don’t talk as much as we should. And this post has got me thinking that I need to get involved with something like this again. Countless rewards, for sure.

  9. Jeff, really like your post.  You are so right regarding the value of coaching.  Got a question.  How would you distinguish what you experienced in your group from mentoring.  Or did this coaching opportunity involve a kind of mentoring as well?  I am asking because I am working to distinguish the two in a clearer way, at least in my conversations with others.

  10. I’ve craved having a coach for years but God hasn’t blessed me with that opportunity.  I can see the impact that coaching’s had on you…it’s obvious reading your writings over the last year.

    1. Thanks, Jason. Just to be clear: finding a coach is something that YOU do (with God’s help, of course). It’s something that you actively seek out (and sometimes pay for). Contrary to common knowledge most coaches and disciplers don’t come find you, saying, “Come follow me.”

      1. Loved that answer, Jason. It was coaching itself. I’d love one, just no chance of paying for one at the moment. And there is none in the town where I live. You were great on Joanna Penn, by the way.

  11. Jeff, I agree wholeheartedly with you about coaching.  I have a coach myself, who has helped me navigate this new season of writing and walk through so many open doors I never had before. He affiirmed the coaching gift in me, which led to my getting certified to coach others.  Now what I write leads to coaching opportunities with women.  It has been an amazing ride! 

  12. I was a part of a group who regularly met with a coach about the project we were working on. It was amazing.  I think Andy Stanly said, “You’ll never reach your full potential unless you have a coach.”  I fully agree after that experience.  And from it I began coaching myself – walking along side people who were learning languages as a language coach.  Most people don’t get it, but I’ve received so much positive feedback from those I’ve worked with that I’m going to try and make it my full time job. I sort of look at my coaching as helping folks with six core ideas: Knowledge, Resources, Encouragement, Planning, Accountability and Assessment.  Now if I could just find a good coach for me!  Great post. Important topic.  We were not made to walk alone.

  13. I have been involved in coaching for over 30 years.  One of the greatest joys of my life is getting involved with someone who really wants to be coached and to watch a transformation take place in his live over time.

    When I have engaged coaches, my greatest reluctance in doing so your first point…that of being challenged.  In the comfort and pride of our present, we (or at least I) find it easy to accept what is instead of what could be.


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