Author Archives: Joe Donaldson

About Joe Donaldson

Christ-follower, married 42 years to Julie, father to Kelli, father-in-law to Jordan, and grandfather to Lucy, Jacksen, and Bodie. I am a christian leadership coach, coaching men & women to become better leaders, spouses, and neighbors; and coaching pastors - especially those in transition. As a licensed Real Estate broker I work as an Associate Agent with Redfin.

Coaching Resources – Joe Donaldson Coaching

What Coaching Is

Coaching is about you – your goals, your learning, and your growth. Together you and your coach will listen to God to hear his voice about you.

Coaching is about learning – rather than teaching. You are the expert on your life. Your coach uses coaching techniques such as active listening, open questions, encouragement, challenging a bit, and always remaining supportive. All to assist you in discovering insights and taking next steps.

Coaching is about action – your action. Each session you will determine 1-3 actions steps you will take before the next session. You may be surprised how quickly you progress toward your goals.

Coaching is about all of you – not just your work or ministry. We all know that changing old habits and thought patterns are difficult. Your coach recognizes these patterns and will support you as you change and grow.

What Coaching Isn’t

It’s not therapy. Although many of the communication techniques are the same, like active listening, reflecting, use of questions, limited advice giving, etc., therapy focuses on the past to bring healing and unblock a person to move ahead. Coaching is future and action-oriented, for people who are basically clear of psychological and emotional issues.

It’s not mentoring. Mentors are experts in a particular field who seek to pass on their expertise to a person. Mentors provide knowledge, advice, guidance, correction, and encouragement to people who are newer and junior—by experience if not by position or age. They may use some coaching techniques, but mentors usually play the roles of advisor and teacher to guide and impart knowledge and wisdom.

It’s not training. In training, the trainer sets the agenda. Change comes from outside the participant, via the trainer. In coaching, you set the agenda. Coaches use adult learning principles of self-discovery to motivate change from within you.

It’s not authoritarian. Did you have a tough sports coach who used to yell at you and make you do a million push-ups if you made a mistake? That’s not coaching. Your coach will push you beyond what you might think you can do but will always be supportive. You are in control. The responsibility to decide and act is yours. 

Why Does Coaching Work?

Coaching works because it brings out your best. Coaches believe you can create your own best answers and are trained to support you in that process.

Specifically, this is what your coach will do during coaching sessions:

  • Listen. Your story is central. Coaches fully engage in what you are saying. 
  • Ask questions. Coaches use questions to stimulate your thinking and creativity. Questions are about possibilities and the future.
  • Encourage. Everyone needs encouragements, and usually we don’t get enough. Your coach will hold up your vision, your progress, and your efforts.
  • Facilitate while letting you lead. Coaches facilitate your learning and problem solving. Yet, they are never fully leading – you are, with your agenda and your approach.

Why Use a Coach?

The reasons people want coaching are endless, and as unique as the person. Here are a few examples that motivate people to use a coach.

  • To make significant changes
  • To better deal with uncertainty
  • To make better decisions
  • To set better goals
  • To reach goals faster
  • To grow spiritually
  • To become more financially stable
  • To improve their relationships
  • To make a bigger impact on the world
  • To become a better leader
  • To simplify their lives
  • To reduce stress
  • To keep up with the speed of life
  • To address transitions in location and employment
“You will never maximize your potential in any area without coaching. It is impossible. You may be good. You may even be better than everyone else. But without outside input you will never be as good as you could be.”  —Andy Stanley, The Next Generation 

How is Christian coaching unique?

Coaches, Christian or not, will use many of the same communication tools. The big difference is that Christian coaches bring Christian beliefs and practices to the coaching relationship. 

“I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened…” Ephesians 1:18

Christian coaches will encourage you to listen more to the Holy Spirit and then act. Together you will look at how God has called and equipped you in life and achievement. You can feel comfortable sharing your spiritual needs, doubts, and desires. Christian coaches will support you where you are and encourage you in the direction you want to grow.

Personal Development

1. You have a unique calling

God uniquely created you to become someone special and to do something special. This is calling. Calling is not just for certain people. Every Believer has a calling in at least three areas of his or her life: calling to character or personal holiness (Eph 1:4), calling to relationship with God (Eph 1:5), and calling to ministry—a unique contribution to God’s Kingdom (Eph 2:10). 

2. You are responsible for your own development

You, not others, are responsible for your own development, your own learning. You must not wait to be taught. You must find ways to learn and grow. Opportunities are everywhere. 

3. It is best to develop holistically

Many people focus only on growing their skills or the areas of life that come easily to them. They can become unbalanced, with the weaker areas causing trouble in their life. Developing in a holistic way is more effective. Luke wrote, “And Jesus grew in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man” (Luke 2:52). Four areas of personal development are mentioned in this verse: intellect, physical, spiritual, and social. Mark 12:28-31 says we are to love the Lord with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength, and love our neighbor. These two examples give us a framework for holistic development.

4. Others can help you

It is very difficult to grow and mature all on your own. You need other people to help you, think with you, ask you hard questions, and to encourage you. That’s the way God designed you.

5. Be learning focused, not teacher focused

Adults learn better through dialogue and discovery rather than someone teaching them. The normal method of a student passively listening to a teacher is not the best learning style. The learner should be active in choosing the learning topic, reflecting, asking questions, searching for answers and applying the learning. Coaching facilitates this kind of learning.                                    

Personal Development Needs Worksheet

This worksheet is for your personal use and reflection. Fill in your growth needs using the chart below. Focus on your desires for growth, not someone else’s expectations for you. Don’t worry if you don’t know how you are going to achieve this growth. That will come later. First, identify in what ways you want to grow.