Posted by: everynation | February 26, 2009

Coaching, Consulting, Mentoring & Discipleship – What’s the Difference?

wsmleaderscircle.jpgby Steve Murrell

Pastors and spiritual leaders wear many different hats. Sometimes it can be confusing to know when to wear the coach hat, the consultant hat, the mentor hat or the discipleship hat.

After listening to Kevin York last week, here’s my summary of the difference between coaching, consulting, discipleship and mentoring – that will hopefully help pastors know which hat to wear in each situation:

Consultant = an expert adviser Pastors do not need to be experts; they just need to find experts and listen to them. Over the years, we have sought and listened to expert consultants in the following areas: kid’s ministry, campus ministry, worship, admin, partnership development, communications, IT, law and finance. Pastors should become experts at listening to experts.

Mentor = an experienced adviser A consultant has expertise; a mentor has experience. Experience and trust are the keys in an mentoring relationship. My marriage and the way I raised my sons was greatly influenced by trusted mentors who were a few years ahead of me. I listened to them b/c of their experience.

Coach = a guide Consultants and mentors lead and give input; coaches guide and draw out. A coach does not need expertise or experience to help you. Coaches need listening skills that lead to good questions that draw out and help clarify dreams, goals and passions.

Discipler = a spiritual adviser Discipleship is the process of helping someone follow Jesus, fish for people and fellowship with others while carrying their cross. Therefore a discipler is a spiritual advisor. Developing consulting, coaching and mentoring skills can be a huge help in the discipleship process. Like coaching, discipleship does not require expertise or experience. It is simply helping people find and follow Jesus.

I’m thankful i have had all of the above at the right times and seasons in my life.

Steve Murrell is a missionary, pastor, and the author of “The Reluctant Leader” and “The Accidental Missionary.”

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