Ministry and Coaching: An Odd Mix or Needed Addition?

Ministry and Coaching: An Odd Mix or Needed Addition?

This post introduces the idea of how coaching knowledge can be useful in the area of ministry.


In January 2019 Columbia Theological Seminary is launching a coaching training program, The Coaching Institute (TCI@CTS), as part of its commitment to lifelong learning.

Years ago I received coach training under the same faculty who will be leading TCI@CTS.

That training was one of the most valuable continuing education efforts I’ve pursued!

And it’s not just for folks who want to become a professional coach!


The church can clearly use people who are equipped and trained to be coaches.

They see practically every problem known to man such as abuse, neglect, family dysfunction, counseling, team/committee organizations, needing food and shelter, and the list goes on and on.

So as you can imagine, clergy burnout continues to be a challenge.

Choosing to engage a coach is among the best practices for pastors who are serious about self-care. 

Pastors who feel stuck in ministry—either because they’re brand new and are still forming healthy habits and boundaries or because they’re mid- or late-career and need clarity about next steps or new challenges—can benefit from a skilled coach.


A good coach can help you clarify your goals, tap your creative energies, and hold you accountable for the client-centered and client-driven solutions you uncover in the coaching conversations.

Because of the value I place on coaching, I not only have engaged a coach of my own, but as a judicatory leader, I also incorporated coaching as an element of the presbytery’s first-call pastor program and encouraged first-time heads of staff to engage a coach as well.

So if you’re a judicatory leader, TCI@CTS will be a sound introduction to the values that coaching can provide for your pastors.  If you want to become a coach, the church can use your skills, and this program is the place to begin.

And if you’re a pastor who simply wants to be better equipped for leadership, this program will be a valuable addition to your toolkit.


Good coaching rests on the premise that each person is a beloved child of God who is creative, resourceful, and whole.

At its core, coaching training teaches you to listen carefully and to ask powerful questions that unlock the resourcefulness and gifts of the other person.

Honing that skill will make you a more effective leader, a more effective personnel manager, and even a more empowering friend.

In short, with the coaching skills learned in this program, you can help a person recognize and unleash the Spirit’s gifts within them!


If you’d like to know more about how TCI@CTS can help benefit your own ministry work, click HERE.

Rev. Dr. Jane E. Fahey is a Columbia Theological Seminary alumna who formerly directed CTS’s “Faith and the City” program.  She has pastored churches in Atlanta, and served as the Interim Executive Presbyter for the Presbytery of Greater Atlanta.

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