Iron sharpens iron, So one man sharpens another. Proverbs 27:17 (NASB)

1. What is coaching and how does it differ from “mentoring” or “counseling”?

Coaching is a one-on-one method of helping another person grow and change. Instead of teaching a set curriculum, a coach starts with wherever you want to grow and then helps you get there. Dealing with current, real-life challenges and opportunities you are already motivated to work at making coaching fun, effective and highly applicable. Counselors listen and advise, while coaches ask questions to aid in self-discovery. Mentors train and counsel based on their expertise or life experience. Coaches may not have any topic expertise, but are trained to help guide and coach to personal change and growth.

Coaching is based on the idea that leaders take responsibility for their own growth. So instead of giving advice or telling you what to do, coaches ask questions to help you sharpen your own discernment of what God has for you. Once you’ve settled on a growth goal, a coach will help you design a plan to achieve it, then provide the support, encouragement and accountability you’ll need to see it through. Anywhere you need to change — from organizing your life, to discovering your life purpose, to building a consistent devotional pattern — a coach will make you more likely to succeed.

2. Why does Vanguard Ministries value coaching as one of their membership benefits?

The presence of authentic coaching leading to peer relationships are key factors in whether leaders finish well and fulfill the call of God on their lives.  Vanguard believes a commitment to accountable coaching relationships will provide vital support, encouragement and accountability.  It is one way of applying our core value of lifelong learning and ensuring that our members have not fallen into unhealthy patterns or traps.

3.  Is coaching required for all members or just recommended?

Obviously, no one can be forced to receive coaching. However, it is important for prospective members to understand that it serves as the most useful and fruitful strategy we have found. We are passionate about our members growing and remaining accountable through a supportive relationship. We believe anyone will discover the value for themselves.

4. Where does VM acquire their coaches?

Most coaches will be trained and certified by LifeForming Leadership Coaching (http://lifeformingcoach.com).  All coaches have been through an intensive training process and are equipped with a wealth of practical change resources.  A few senior VM leaders will be coaching as well.

5.  How does the VM Coaching Director assign coaches to clients?

The Coaching Director reviews your “Finding a Coach Questionnaire” carefully and then assigns a coach based on the areas you would like to work on with a coach.

6. Once VM assigns a coach, what can we work on?

Virtually anything.  You make the decision on your personal growth area and a coach will help you set realistic objectives and help you stay on track to meet those goals.

7.  I am interested in learning more about coaching and getting trained as a coach, how do I do that?

We recommend that you contact a ministry that specializes in coach training, like LifeForming Coaching.

8. What if I have a session or two with my coach and we just don’t “mesh”?

If you have any problems with your coaching relationship or desire outside perspective on it, you are free to contact the Vanguard Coaching Director at anytime to talk things through and to resolve the issue. If necessary, VM will reassign a coach where the chemistry works for you.

9.  What are the specific benefits of coaching?

Support, Encouragement, and Accountability. We have heard many testimonies from leaders whose lives and ministries have been strengthened, rescued, or upgraded through our coaching program.

10.  What steps do I need to take to start my coaching experience?

The first step is to complete a “Finding a Coach Questionnaire” (link to questionnaire).  By taking a few minutes to complete this questionnaire, it will help Vanguard provide you with the best match for a coach

11. What does a coach deliver, what will it do for me?

An effective coaching relationship provides support, encouragement and accountability. The fruit of this should result in transformational growth and the ongoing improvement of your leadership.

12.  Why don’t coaches give more advice or counsel?

There are times when a coach will give directive, input and feedback, but the primary approach for coaching focuses on guiding the client to self-discovery. Our experience has demonstrated that leaving responsibility with the client helps bring perspective and personal growth.

13.   If I find that I need some consulting what do I do?

VM does not provide consulting, but our founder, Dr. Bobby Hill, started a consulting firm that specializes on churches, ministries, and Christian leaders. Visit their website at www.hillconsultinggroup.org

14. What if life happens and I find that I don’t have time for my coaching appointments?

We ask that you communicate with your coach about your current situation.  Let them know this is not a good season for you to begin coaching.  You can reconnect when it is more convenient for you. Just remember, anything of value takes commitment!