It is easy to think of Jesus as a leader, a servant, and a teacher. However, can we see Jesus as a coach?
What exactly is a coach?
There are many different models of coaching. However, there has never been a model of coaching like Jesus? The New Testament shows that Jesus was the coach and facilitator of the learning of twelve men that he was helping to expand the Kingdom of God.
Coaching is a process that aims to improve performance and goals of other people. For the Christian coach, it focuses on the present but also looks into the future, for the expansion of the Kingdom. When Jesus recruited his first disciples who fished for a living, he said, “Come follow me and I will make you fishers of me.” (scripture verse)
There is a huge difference between teaching someone and helping them to learn. Jesus was an expert at this. In coaching others, Jesus was helping the individual to improve their performance by asking questions.
Good coaches ask great questions. Good coaches help those they coach to learn. Jesus was an expert at asking questions. Here are nine basic questions that Jesus asked his disciples as he coached them.
1 – Jesus as a Coach Addresses the Subject of Doubt
Asking questions about doubt can help create an environment of healthy answers. A person who does not experience doubt in the Christian faith at some time or another is simply not taking their faith seriously.
Doubt is not the opposite of faith. It is an element to help grow faith.
Doubt can be understood as a healthy catalyst when handled as Jesus addressed it.
Here are a few questions of Jesus about the subject of doubt:
- Why did you doubt? (Matt 14:31)
- Why are you testing me? (Matt 22:18)
- My God, My God, Why have you forsaken me? (Matt 27:46)
- You are a teacher in Israel, and you do not understand this? (John 3: 10)
- If I tell you about earthly things and you will not believe, how will you believe when I tell you of heavenly things? (John 3: 12)
2 – Jesus as a Coach Asks, “Do You Understand?”
Asking questions are the skills of all great coaches. Jesus once asked, “Do you not yet understand?” (Matthew 16:8). Jesus asked almost 100 questions when he was coaching his disciples? The goal of his questions was to coach his disciples in how to respond to the questions themselves rather than him giving the answer.
Here is a list of “how,” “what,” “where” and “who” questions Jesus asked others to respond to. These type of questions will lead people to give some thought to their answers and provide more information.
- How can anyone enter a strong man’s house and take hold of his possessions unless he first ties up the strong man? (Matt 12:29)
- How many loaves do you have? (Matt 15:34)
- What profit would there be for one to gain the whole world and forfeit his life and what can one give in exchange for his life? (Matt 16:26)
- How are you to avoid being sentenced to hell? (Matt 23:33)
- How many baskets full of leftover fragments did you pick up? (Mark 8:19)
- Salt is good, but what if salt becomes flat? (Mark 9:50)
- What king, marching into battle would not first sit down and decide whether with ten thousand troops he can successfully oppose another king marching upon him with twenty thousand troops? (Luke 14:31)
- If therefore you are not trustworthy with worldly wealth, who will trust you with true wealth? (Luke 16:11)
- For who is greater, the one seated a table or the one who serves? (Luke 22:27)
- How does this concern of your affect me? (John 2:4)
- How is it that you seek praise from one another and not seek the praise that comes from God? (John 5:44)
- Where can we buy enough food for them to eat? (John 6:5)
- Woman where are they, has no one condemned you? (John 8:10)
- What concern is it of yours? (John 21:22)
3 – Jesus as a Good Coach Asks, “What Do You Want?” (Matt 20:32)
This question is a strong coaching question of Jesus. It places the responsibility of the answer strongly into the hands of the one being coached.
Laziness and a disconnect will take place if someone else is doing everything. However, when someone needs the help of another stronger and wiser, this question must be asked.
To assume we know what someone wants from us without asking can lead a coach/leader in dozens of directions.
In Matthew chapter 20 the story that includes this question is found:
29 As Jesus and his disciples were leaving Jericho, a large crowd followed him. 30 Two blind men were sitting by the roadside, and when they heard that Jesus was going by, they shouted, “Lord, Son of David, have mercy on us!”
31 The crowd rebuked them and told them to be quiet, but they shouted all the louder, “Lord, Son of David, have mercy on us!”
32 Jesus stopped and called them. “What do you want me to do for you?” he asked.
33 “Lord,” they answered, “we want our sight.”
34 Jesus had compassion on them and touched their eyes. Immediately they received their sight and followed him.
4 – Jesus as a Coach Asks Questions From the Bible
Assuming that those we lead have a clear understanding of the scriptures is a major mistake. Many pastors and congregations make decisions and lead their fellowships in new directions without a scriptural foundation.
On many occasions, Jesus coached his followers and his doubters to consider what the scriptures had to say about a particular subject. A good coach will do the same.
Here are a few examples –
- Did you never read the scriptures? (Matt 21:42)
- And why do you break the commandments of God for the sake of your tradition? (Matt 15:3)
- What did Moses command you? (Mark 10:3)
- What is written in the law? How do you read it? (Luke 10:26)
- If you do not believe Moses’ writings how will you believe me? (John 5:47)
5 – Jesus as a Coach Asks “Why” Questions
One the signs of a great coach are their ability to ask “why” questions. This type of question will cause the one being coached to provide the answer. Jesus was an expert at challenging those who followed him to respond to questions when he asked:
- Why are you thinking such things in your heart? (Mark 2:8)Why are you anxious about clothes? Matt 6:28
- Why do you notice the splinter in your brother’s eye yet fail to perceive the wooden beam in your own eye? (Matt 7:2)
- Why are you terrified? (Matt 8:26)
- Why do you harbor evil thoughts? (Matt 9:4)
- Why do you ask me about what is good? (Matt 19:1)
- Why do you make trouble for the woman? (Matt 26:10)
- Why this commotion and weeping? (Mark 5:39)
- Why does this generation seek a sign? (Mark 8:12)
- Why were you looking for me? (Luke 2:49)
- Why do you call me ‘Lord, Lord’ and not do what I command? (Luke 6:46)
- Why are you sleeping? (Luke 22:46)
- Why are you trying to kill me? (John 7:19)
- Why do you not understand what I am saying? (John 8:43)
Jesus had a strategy of asking “why” questions that created a process of deep thinking.
6 – Jesus as a Coach Asks Faith Questions
Jesus engaged people in a coaching way that examined their faith. He did this by asking questions that made them search their own hearts for the answer. He knew that faith was weak without the person knowing what they believed in their own hearts, not the hearts of others.
Here are the questions that Jesus asked about faith:
- Where is your faith? (Luke 8:25)
- What do you want me to do for you? (Matt 20:32)
- O faithless and perverse generation how long must I endure you? (Matt 17:17)
- What are you thinking in your hearts? (Luke 5:22)
- If even the smallest things are beyond your control, why are you anxious about the rest? (Luke 12:26)
- Will not God then secure the rights of his chosen ones who call out to him day and night? (Luke 18:7)
- If I am telling you the truth, why do you not believe me? (John 8:46)
- Have you come to believe because you have seen me? (John 20:29)
- Does this shock you? (John 6:61)
7 – Jesus as a Coach Asks “Do You” Questions
Jesus often asked questions of those he coached by asking “do you” questions.
- Do you realize what I have done for you? (John 13:12)
- Do you also want to leave me? (John 6:67)
- Do you say [what you say about me] on your own or have others been telling you about me? (John 18:34)
- Do you love me? (John 21:16)
- Do you believe I can do this? (Matt 9:28)
- Do you see anything? (Mark 8:23)
- Do you believe this? (John 11:26)
- Do you want to be well? (John 5:6)
- Do you think I cannot call upon my Father and he will not provide me at this moment with more than 12 legions of angels? (Matt 26:53)
- Do you see these great buildings? They will all be thrown down. (Mark 13:2)
A “do you” question will require the one being coached to provide the answer.
8 – Jesus as a Coach Asks, “What Are You Discussing With Other People?”
A good coach asks the right questions. A productive coach encourages a person’s development as a thinker. The values of other people and their opinions are recognized by excellent coaches.
- What are you discussing as you walk along? (Luke 24:17)
- Who do people say the Son of Man is? (Matt 16:13)
- But who do you say that I am? (Matt 16:15)
- What were you arguing about on the way? (Mark 9:33)
9 – Jesus as a Coach Asks “What Are You Trying to Find?”
Helping someone discover what they are looking for is essential for every coach. Everyone is looking for something in life. A good coach can help those they lead to finding those things that mean the most to them. Jesus asked –
- What are you looking for? (John 1:38)
- What did you go out to the desert to see? (Matt 11:8)
- Whom are you looking for? (John 18:4)
- Do you have eyes and still not see? Ears and not hear? (Mark 8:17-18)
What do you think about these nine characteristics of Jesus as a coach?
What would you add to this list of nine?