Discipling, Mentoring, or Coaching

Recently a conversation was started on Twitter by @flowerdust (Anne Jackson) with this question: “This may make people mad. Sorry. We wonder where the mentors have gone. Has mentorship been monetized into coaching networks? Thoughts?”

Anne’s question is legitimate. It is a discussion that is appropriate and a topic that needs to be thought through as the current trend among high profile leaders is leading a coaching network. Many of these can get quite expensive.

The conversation that ensued was lively and respectful. There was definitely some emotion from a few, but they kept the sarcasm and judgment out of it for the most part.

This subject needs more than 140 characters can cover. I wanted to weigh in with a few thoughts of my own. I will stretch this over more than one post.

Starting Point

Let’s start with an understanding that we are called to go and make disciples (Matthew 28:19). I weighed in on this some a few posts ago. From there we need to determine if these terms are interchangeable or if there is significant difference between them. I think there is significant difference. Here is a brief definition of each:

  • Discipling – command of God given to all believers to help those far from God move to a vibrant life with and in God
  • Mentoring – imparting of knowledge, wisdom, and experience from one to another based and built on relationship. the relationship usually comes first. can be formal or informal
  • Coaching – formal and intentional arrangement where one person who has achieved shares lessons learned and principles with 1 or more persons. This is usually with set time frame and agenda.

Again, these are brief summary definitions and by no means exhaustive or even official. They are the definitions we will use in this post and those that will follow.

I believe each of these is vital and important. They serve different purposes and will play out individually based upon each circumstance and persons involved. I also believe that every one of us who is seeking to grow in God and fulfill His design for our lives must be regularly involved in these from both sides. It’s important that we disciple and are discipled, that we mentor and are mentored, and that we coach and are coached. Coaching is specifically important for leaders.

More to come including my take on coaching networks in the posts to follow.

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