Coaching with Faith

Faith plays a big role in coaching. Coaches frequently talk about “trusting our process” or “believing in our philosophy.” You will struggle to be successful in coaching over the long haul if you lack faith that your approach will actually bring results.

Faith is crucial if you want to experience coaching success that is about more than just trying to win games. True success in coaching comes with being a transformational coach: a coach who cares about helping your players grow into the people God created them to be rather than only being concerned with how they perform as an athlete. You will struggle to coach in transformational ways over the long haul if you lack the kind of faith that enables you to lead in this way.

Here’s the thing with faith: faith is only as good as its object. Faith isn’t about trying really hard to believe in something. It’s about recognizing what – or more accurately, who – is worthy of being the recipient of our confidence because of who they are, what they’ve done, and what they are capable of doing. There is One who is supremely worthy to be the object of our faith: Jesus Christ.

We trust Jesus because of who he is (Son of God, Savior, Lord over all), what he’s done (through his life, death, and resurrection), and what he’s capable of doing (because of his authority, power, wisdom, love…). Colossians 1 reinforces why we put our confidence in Jesus Christ: “Christ is the visible image of the invisible God. He existed before anything was created and is supreme over all creation, for through him God created everything in the heavenly realms and on earth. He made the things we can see and the things we can’t see—such as thrones, kingdoms, rulers, and authorities in the unseen world. Everything was created through him and for him. He existed before anything else, and he holds all creation together…  For God in all his fullness was pleased to live in Christ” (vv. 15-17, 19).

There is no one greater than Jesus Christ! So what does it look like to live out our faith in the Lord in all areas of life? In his book Small Faith, Great God, N.T. Wright says, “Faith means totally relying on God and committing ourselves to God for time and eternity, trusting his promises, obeying his commands, not trying to make ourselves good enough for him but trusting in the fact that he accepts us as we are because of the work of Jesus Christ on our behalf.”

When we make Jesus Christ the object of our faith, we’re now trusting his work in and through us – including in our coaching. We live for Jesus, seeking to reflect his character and his ways as we coach. We trust his presence with us and his promise to enable us to lead and serve our players well as we coach. We’re confident that Jesus will bring about long-term results by his power and grace as we care for our players and intentionally guide them toward becoming people who live the right way, not just athletes who make the right plays.

Faith plays a big role in coaching, especially if you want to be a truly transformational coach. Coach, make Jesus Christ the object of your confidence above all else. Daily commit yourself to relying on him and following him. Know the joy of trusting Christ’s work in and through you!