Ethical Guidelines (ICF/Christian Coaching)

Ethical Guidelines (ICF/Christian Coaching)

How is Christian coaching different from secular coaching? Below are the differences between International Coaching Federation and Christian Coaching. This week and next, we will share wisdom on the topic, beginning today with this post on the difference in ethical guidelines. Bob Logan is one of the best thinkers in the church planting world and a fantastic coach. We wrote the Coaching 101 Handbook together and our new book Christian Coaching Excellence will be available November 1st! Enjoy this post!

Observation #1: Ethical Guidelines

An excellent beginning

I wholeheartedly support and include all of the International Coaching Federation Ethical Guidelines in the practice of Christian Coaching. In fact, I would suggest that this is a solid foundation to begin the conversation of Christian coaching ethics. Notice the word “begin.” There is more to contribute on the issue of Christian coaching ethics that go beyond what is stated in the ICF Ethical Guidelines and specifically, in the ICF Code of Ethics. As Christian coaches this explanation is insufficient. How so?

Christian Coaches pursue ongoing spiritual growth and go beyond the ICF understanding of the Ethical Guidelines. 

Here is what ICF articulates in their Ethical Guidelines:
  1. Demonstrates personal integrity and honesty in interactions with clients, sponsors and relevant stakeholders
  2. Is sensitive to clients’ identity, environment, experiences, values and beliefs
  3. Uses language appropriate and respectful to clients, sponsors and relevant stakeholders
  4. Abides by the ICF Code of Ethics and upholds the Core Values
  5. Maintains confidentiality with client information per stakeholder agreements and pertinent laws
  6. Maintains the distinctions between coaching, consulting, psychotherapy and other support professions
  7. Refers clients to other support professionals, as appropriate
Further, under the ICF Team Coaching Competencies, ICF integrates the following Ethical Guidelines:
  • Coaches the client team as a single entity
  • Maintains the distinction between team coaching, team building, team training, team consulting, team mentoring, team facilitation, and other team development modalities
  • Demonstrates the knowledge and skill needed to practice the specific blend of team development modalities that are being offered
  • Adopts more directive team development modalities only when needed to help the team achieve their goals
  • Maintains trust, transparency, and clarity when fulfilling multiple roles related to team coaching

Here is the difference

It leaves out the spiritual dimension. Most coaches recognize some element of this other dimension, but address it differently. In Co-Active Coaching the term used to describe this other dimension is “intuition.” For some secular coaches that would suggest human intuition, or perhaps, the “gut.” For other secular coaches it might infer a “spiritual” force or entity inside or outside the client that connects her/him to a greater purpose. It depends on the individual coach.

However, there exists a completely different paradigm that Christian coaches operate within in contrast to the secular coach. At her/his disposal the secular coach might sense something other… but that something other may or may not be a person. The Christian coach listens for that still soft voice that is the abiding presence of the Holy Spirit– the third person of the Trinity. The focus of the Christian coach is to find ways to cooperate with the Holy Spirit as a coach, and to challenge the client to do the same.

Borrowing terminology from John 15, Christian coaches call this competency Abiding in Christ. This one competency shapes our Christian Coaching Ethics. Implicit to the Christian is the quest for personal growth, through an ongoing relationship with Christ.


  • Coaching 101– An introduction to Christian coaching, Coaching 101 will help you discover the power of coaching in your life both as a coach and as someone being coached.
  • Coaching 101 Handbook- This handbook is packed full of practical ways you can improve your skills in coaching those God has brought your way. You will gain a deeper appreciation of the coaching process and ‘coming alongside’ to help others as you understand the model outlined in these pages.
  • 360 Coaching Assessment- Every coach should occasionally step back and assess their coaching skills. The 360-Degree Online Coach Assessment—named for its ability to provide feedback from the range of perspectives—is a research-based assessment tool built around nine core coaching competencies. It’s an effective way to get quick, accurate feedback on a person’s current level of coaching skills.

Countdown to the launch of a NEW COACHING WEBSITE and the release of Christian Coaching Excellence!

If you missed the announcement of these resources, learn more CLICK HERE
Photo by Vlad Bagacian from Pexels


Just like you, we did some pivoting when Covid hit. We pulled up our list of “Things we want to do” and went to work. One of the top projects surrounded coaching. The goal was twofold: update our coaching resources and organize them so you can access and utilize them easily.  We are really excited to share that work with you!


I’ve partnered with Dr. Robert Logan of Logan Leadership to bring you the best of Christian coaching all in one place. We’ve created an online space focused on resources, assessment, and training of Christian coaches.


Whether you are a seasoned coach or just starting out, we have what you need to take your coaching to the next level. The website will offer the BEST books and resources for Christian Coaching including FREE downloadable documents that every coach needs. Additionally, we will have a brand new blog that will be dedicated to coaching. You will be able to subscribe to this blog and get regular coaching tips from top Christian coaches and the latest in Christian coaching resources.


Assessment is a powerful tool for targeted growth. The new website will host the only researched-based 360° Christian Coaching Assessment that is proven to accurately identify your coaching strengths and areas for development. Upon completion of the assessment, your report will direct you to resources that specifically address your needs so you can maximize your time and efforts to raise your effectiveness as a coach.


Bob and I have spent considerable time working on how to develop and equip high caliber Christian coaches for a variety of contexts. With the launch of this website, we will begin offering 5 unique training paths:

  • Independent Self-Study – A great way to kick-start your coaching journey and learn the fundamentals of coaching.
  • Personalized Coach Mentoring – One-on-one mentoring to accelerate your growth as a coach.
  • Equip People to Coach- A training kit with everything you need to train discipleship coaches.
  • Coaching Excellence Track- The next step for experienced coaches who want to raise their effectiveness.
  • Reproducible Coach Training- A training customized to your specific needs so you can multiply coaches in your context.


In conjunction with this new website, we will be releasing a book that I have co-authored with Bob. It’s called Christian Coaching Excellence: Pursuing the Journey of Ongoing Growth. This resource takes you beyond the 5 R’s and outlines a clear pathway for greater coaching effectiveness. It will help you dig deeper by guiding you through specific ways to raise your competence in critical skill areas.

We are excited!

Statistics are clear: the American Church is in decline. We believe we have built something special that meets a deep need and has the potential to change the trajectory from decline to healthy and catalytic growth. Join us in counting down the launch of these exciting new resources!

Photo by Tim Mossholder on Unsplash

The post A NEW WEBSITE IS COMING! appeared first on InFocus.

Five shifts to empower your teenagers to become self-led adults Shift #4 – Creator to Co-Creator

Five shifts to empower your teenagers to become self-led adults Shift #4 – Creator to Co-Creator

The last few weeks we have been looking at five shifts to make that will help empower your teenager to become mature, healthy self-led adults. We have looked at Shift #1: Talker to Listener, Shift #2: Center to Side and Shift #3 – Causal Interaction to a Conversation with Purpose.  As a reminder, I am not an expert in parenting. But I have learned a thing or two about coaching and helping people take action towards the direction God has designed for them in life and ministry.  Also, these five shifts are not limited to parenting. They relate to working with teenagers in youth groups or wherever you’re connecting with people in meaningful ways to help them take the next step on their journey to follow Jesus’ mission for their life. Let me give a bit of background so you have some context.

Shift #4: Creator to Co-Creator 

In our last post, I shared that my wife and I attempted to use a coach approach whenever we could while raising our kids. Starting very early, we did our best to listen and ask questions when the situation warranted it, as opposed to telling them what to do all the time. We wanted them to be able to process the world around them for themselves and make their own decisions… while providing guidance when necessary. 

This led to some very interesting conversations during their teenage years. One of the most invigorating conversations we shared independently with both kids was the lingering question – “What are you doing upon graduation?” Of course, it was never so eloquent or overt; but part of the answer was that in the case of both kids, college was clearly their next step. At least we understood the vision. Getting down to the goals and action steps were more nuanced depending on which child we are discussing.

Our oldest was a bit more reluctant to enter the college application process. It took a bit more finesse to engage him in setting his goal and action necessary to apply.  But apply it he did, and the rest is, well, very cool indeed.

Our youngest was very clear on her goal and how to get there. Not a lot of coaching was necessary until it came to the dreaded “loan tolerance” conversation. Needless to say, I did the heavy lifting running the numbers to reflect on the three options in consideration. She chose wisely. Made the choice that made the most strategic, financially responsible and practical sense.

Below is a simple framework of the things we did to help our teenagers co-create their agenda.


  • Release the need to control the agenda
    • Internally, align your agenda with the Holy Spirit’s agenda.
  • Allow the other person to set an agenda
    • Connect and allow the new disciple to reflect.
  • Engage the other person to set the agenda
    • Ask: “What do you want at the end that you don’t have now?”

Real – time Actions:

·       Ask the your teenager to clarify their “win”.

Below are two opportunities that can help you refine your disciple-coach skills!

5 Disciple Coach Habits webinar – Monday, October 11 from 10-3 PST


Cost: $250.00

The full package includes the webinar AND triad sessions:


Cost: $475.00

Five shifts to empower your teenagers to become self-led adults Shift #1 – Talker to Listener

Five shifts to empower your teenagers to become self-led adults Shift #1 – Talker to Listener

We are fast approaching the Fall. Some parents are dreading the upcoming school year. Others are relieved. Not too long ago we were parenting our two high school age children through this exciting phase in their development. Today our children are in their early to mid-twenties and together, we have grown into new ways of communicating – both parents and young adults.  

I will share five shifts we made when we encountered these dynamic years with our two children.  Right off the top; I am not an expert in parenting. But I have learned a thing or two about coaching and helping people take action towards the direction God has designed for them in life and ministry. Second, these five shifts are not limited to parenting. They relate to working with teenagers in youth groups or wherever you’re connecting with people in meaningful ways to help them take the next step on their journey to follow Jesus’ mission for their life. I found that I had a multitude of examples of these shifts while empowering my teenagers to become self-led adults. 

Shift #1 – Talker to Listener

One of the things we did very early with our kids was introduce the idea of internships.  Whatever their interests were, we connected them with people we knew and respected in that particular field.  We had both kids in summer internships by the time they entered high school.  This was important for their development because it gave them a sense of responsibility, curiosity and confidence.

To learn about the kids’ interests, we had to be disciplined in our interactions. We forced ourselves not to react when we heard “surprising” developments about what they experienced at school that day with a classmate, or what a teacher said that might have been taken out of context or the latest slang terminology. Instead of reacting we responded with – “tell me more?”  Sounds simple. And it is in theory. Try it next time you interact with your teenager.

Our eldest was interested in finance. His first internship was with a real estate broker. The broker saw that our son was a fast learner. By the end of that summer our son had processed the paper-work for a $1million loan (under the watchful eye of the broker).  What did this do for our son?  He discovered certain parts of the job he enjoyed, others he did not enjoy as much and still others that were necessary but not his passion.  

Our youngest wanted to work in a pediatric physical therapy clinic. The children were on a spectrum of mild to severe disabilities. As a young teen, my daughter supported the work of the therapists, and interacted with the patients and parents. Similar to our son, she learned a number of lessons that she stored in her memory banks for her future schooling and career choices.

Bottom line! To get the kids to the place from the conception of an internship it began with a curiosity in the work, which progressed to an interest to the point of taking action. These steps were all necessary and important to enter into a work environment as an intern. Our part – listen to the processing they were going through in their heads until they came to a point of taking action.  

Here is a simple framework that helps breakdown Shift #1 – Talker to Listener.

Assume a Listening Posture

Key Question: How can I ignore my tendency to share my wisdom and seek to listen?


  •       Take the posture of a learner

o   A coach must believe that they don’t know it all.

  •       Remain silent

o   Stay in a quiet place while your son or daughter processes what they sense the Holy Spirit is saying to them.

  •       Be patient

o   Actively remain in a non-anxious state

 Real – time Actions:

  •       Summarize

o   Without contaminating what your son or daughter is processing

  •       Ask the other person “Is there more?”

o   No other question is needed at this time

Following are two opportunities that can help you refine your disciple-coach skills!

5 Disciple Coach Habits webinar – Monday, October 11 from 10-3 PST


Cost: $250.00

The full package includes the webinar AND triad sessions:


Cost: $475.00



In Jesus’ ministry, he always met people where they were on their journey towards the Lord. Look at the disciples; before He asked his disciples to follow Him, each disciple was at a different place in their lives and their faith… wherever they were, that is exactly where Jesus started discipling them. He began the discipleship process before they were even aware of it; in the harvest. 

We all have our own story of how we came to follow Jesus, and we will have taken different paths to reach where we are today. All our journeys are unique to who God designed us to be; but there are certain critical elements that are always the same in the process; that is the discipleship cycle. We can see clearly that Jesus had a method in his mission to make disciples:

  • STEP 1 – “I do – you watch.”
  • STEP 2 – “You do – I watch.”
  • STEP 3 – “You do – someone else watches.”

Jesus used this simple method to make disciples who made disciples. He understood that everything He did was reproduced in the lives of His disciples from the day he met them. Jesus’ mission was to catalyze disciple making movements through his disciples. He modeled the inner work of being a disciple and the outer work of making disciples. This cycle is the key to multiplying the Kingdom of God. It means we are making disciples that will make disciples, who will make more disciples. 

Real-life Journey

My friend Glenn shared the following about his journey:

I have several friends that I consider to be accountability partners. They help me grow in my faith and hold myself to the standards that God would want of me. We spend a lot of our focus on discipleship and how to become better disciple coaches. As I became more aware of, and committed to, developing relationships with people who don’t yet have a spiritual connection with Christ, we were thrilled to see people growing in faith and being added to our discipleship group. It was exciting to see this progress, yet although this process was reproducible, our efforts were only additive. We shifted our approach to the framework of a “cycle” and are now seeing our efforts multiply. For example, one of our initial group members is branching out to start a Hispanic discipleship team, reaching a group of people that would be almost impossible for me to reach. It is exciting to see where the multiplication effect takes us next!

Reflection Questions: 

  1. Who have you shared your disciple-making cycle with in the last 90 days?
  2. If you haven’t shared your disciple-making cycle recently, what is getting in the way?
  3. What changes do you need to make to your disciple-making cycle?
  4. How transferable is your discipleship cycle?
  5. Who have you discipled that is using your cycle with other disciple coaches?
  6. What elements need to be refined further or added to make your cycle more transferable?

If you still haven’t taken our FREE Disciple Coach Quiz, CLICK HERE.

Check out the 5 Disciple Coach Habits training coming up October 11 – CLICK HERE!

3 Questions to strengthen your Relational Connections

3 Questions to strengthen your Relational Connections

Relational connections are really the foundation of discipleship. God created us as relational beings, we thrive when making connections, and are at our best when we feel supported and loved. A relationship between a disciple and their teacher can be a life-long and powerful connection, but it always just starts with simply getting to know each other. From the relationships we make, we can build true friendships and from friendships, discipleship can grow. 

So let’s think about our friendships: When it comes to our Christian friends versus our non-Christian friends, it is easy to emphasize the importance of one over the other. What normally happens when a new Christian follows Jesus, is their relationships with “outsiders” begin to shrink while their relationships with “insiders” begins to expand. We only have a finite amount of time and it’s easiest to spend it with the people who already fit within our normal routines. When looking to disciple others, it seems natural and easy to draw from those who fit neatly into your life already. It’s all well and good to draw from your Christian community (we all need a mentor at certain points in our lives!) but where we really need to begin is outside of the walls of the church; with our friends who don’t fit so neatly into our lives. After all, we can’t share the good news with people who already know it!

If you realize that you have very few non-Christian friends, you can start with building meaningful relationships with people that God has already placed in your life. We should intentionally be looking to disciple people different from us; people who believe differently, and live different lifestyles. These connections build bridges, not just between yourself and your disciple, but between larger communities; plus we have more of a chance for growth within ourselves, than if we stick to what we know. As we begin to enter a less familiar world and build relationships with people who make choices we might not choose, who think in ways we don’t, we can fall into judgement very quickly. It is necessary to remember we all have our own path to Jesus. We’ve all struggled with doubt, we’ve all given into temptations. We are not there to judge. We are there to seek to understand. All healthy relationships are built on respect and authenticity. Building relationships is not a job or task; it’s just about letting God work through you in the natural relationships you already have.

Here are some questions to ask yourself:

  • Who are you intentionally forming discipleship relationships with in your life?
  • Where in your life could you develop authentic relationships with not-yet Christians?
  • What skills do you need to develop and apply to move your relationship or friendship forward to discipleship?

If you still haven’t taken our FREE Disciple Coach Quiz, CLICK HERE.

Check out the 5 Disciple Coach Habits training coming up October 11 – CLICK HERE!