Effective Youth Ministry Includes Coaching

Her name was Tiffanie. She wanted to know what I thought of Brandon…. so I told her. Brandon chewed girls up and spit them out, ad if she went out with him she would just be next in line. I thought I was doing the right thing, but the telling paradigm pushed her into his arms. She was so excited he asked her out. She wanted to prove me wrong. So instead of helping her I burned the bridge of relationship we had built together. She was embarrassed, frustrated and ashamed when she did indeed become next in line. I was right, but I had lost so much. We were never close again and I was out of her life…

Coaching changes things. What if I had asked her powerful questions? What if I had listened to her heart?… What if I had even let her make a poor decision but remained her friend and left the bridge intact?


Michael Hyatt, President and CEO of Thomas Nelson Publishers says, “Everyone talks about leadership. Few talk about coaching. Yet, this is the missing paradigm that makes good leaders great.”  You might be wondering what the buzz is all about and whether it could help you out in youth ministry. So let’s talk about it.

What exactly is coaching? The actual word coaching comes from the old concept of a literal coach taking someone from where they are to where they want to go – like in Cinderella where the pumpkin turned into a coach or the coaches in the Wild West.

Coaching is a conversational leadership model where the person being coached is in the driver’s seat. Unlike other leadership models where growth is dependent upon a leader’s certain and specific pathway, coaching leans upon the core leading of the person being coached. I don’t know about you but when I first heard about it that sounded like scary or at least iffy stuff right? I mean what if Tiffanie choose poorly even after I asked her questions?

It might help to take a look at what coaching is not. Coaching is not a top-down leadership model where the leader decides what the problem is and tells the person what to do about it. While that type of leadership could work for some specific cases, as a norm it has many flaws and at times can even be unbiblical (if a leader takes a pseudo role as mediator.) It sure didn't work with Tiff.

Coaching trusts that the same Holy Spirit that raised Jesus from the dead is alive and well in all Christians today leading and guiding them toward rightness. We all know that God desires an individual relationship with each of us personally and yet if we are honest, sometimes we doubt that the Holy Spirit is able to “get through” to others. Coaching leans on the truth that even through there will always be stuff in this life, God always offers a plan and we have the option to make good choices. Coaching comes alongside an individual as a thinking partner helping them to choose well and move forward in whatever areas and whatever ways God is leading them. If I had truly coached Tiffanie should may have chosen not to go out with Brandon, but even if she did choose poorly we could have worked through that decision together and we would still be friends.

Where did coaching come from? Coaching starts with one of the first recorded conversations with God and man, so it is safe to say that coaching comes the Biblical model of God’s leadership. God could have told Adam what he did wrong and instead He asked powerful questions to help create awareness in Adam of what he had done.

Coaching can be seen all throughout scripture and especially with Jesus as He rarely told people what to do but for the most part just told stories and asked questions. He let the Spirit within them reveal truth to them.

Who could use coaching? Coaching can be used in families, work places, ministries, friendships and so much more. Pretty much if you are not a hermit you could use coaching.

How could it be used in Youth Ministry? Youth Ministers especially can use the coaching paradigm to help their young people grow from being dependents to being confident active followers of the faith. This is so important in current culture where many young people struggle with their faith when they leave home after high school. When people of all ages, but especially youth, grow to a place of making decisions not because they are being watched or being told what to do then their faith becomes their own and it is long lasting.

Where can I get more info on Coaching? There are two best-selling books I would recommend and of course there is my website www.cindyscott.org and other blogs written on this topic – see links below.

How can I get coach training? I thought you would never ask!  When I took coach training it was life changing for me and I could see people all around me that would be more effective and less stressed if they could get coach training. I also saw the coach training options available as cost-prohibitive so I wrote my own curriculum with multiple levels of engagement. Here’s how you could get involved.

Bridges Coaching offers:  (Click links for current info on upcoming events)

  • Classes starting at $150 (10 weeks, discussion based, basic coaching paradigm and skills)
  • Certification courses from $590 (16 weeks, homework and sessions each week resulting in Bridges Coaching certification)
  • Professional Training starting at $1200 (13-14 weeks – 3 separate tracks, homework and sessions each week, offered as a certified trainer for Lifeforming Leadership coaching, results in multiple Lifeforming certifications)

What would coach training give me? Coach training gives you the tools necessary for exponential growth – both for yourself personally, for your leadership team and for your youth. If you complete a certification course or professional training you would even have the tools necessary to open a coaching practice. The coaching paradigm provides a means for people to grow, moving them from where they are Building Bridges To What Could Be!

Want more: Check out these Links

Are Life Coaches Legit Or Just Hacks Without Real Degrees  by Mike Kim

Why On Earth Would I Want Coach Training?

What Is Coaching? Top Ten

I'm still sad about the very real interaction I had with Tiffanie and wish I had known more about coaching then. Here's to hoping you can learn from my mistake and not have to make your own. Coaching builds bridges to what could be!

Happy Bridging,


Cindy Scott.jpeg

Cindy Scott is a professional Life Coach, Coach Trainer and founder of Bridges Coaching. She has her roots in Elim - is an EBI grad and is ordained through Elim Fellowship along with holding a Masters in Ministry and Lifeforming Leadership Coach Training Certification. Cindy loves helping people or teams build bridges to what could be through the coaching paradigm and/or helping them understand their destiny by design!

She and her husband Eric, Care Pastor at Elim Gospel Church, have four grown children, enjoy biking on the Erie Canal Trail and love a leisurely trip to Starbucks.

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