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The Best Books on a Coach Approach to Discipleship

Adopting a Coach Approach to Discipleship

Jesus spent an amazing amount of time with people. Yes, he spent time with the crowds of people who came to hear him teach. But much of his time was spent in people’s homes, walking with them along the road, and in one-to-one conversations. He spent time with Nicodemus at night—after business hours (John 3). He engaged in a life changing conversation with the Samaritan Woman (John 4). He gave the12 disciples time with him as a group and one-on-one. It could be argued that deep, transformational discipling was happening every time Jesus spent time with people.

It would be wise for us to consider how to add the one-to-one, relational discipleship back into our hectic ministry schedules. In fact, it may be the most effective way for us to disciple today. Below are some incredible resources for adopting a coach approach to discipleship. I have also include a few (non-coach specific) books about discipleship that are worthy of your time.


Relevant Discipleship Pathway… a framework for intentional transformation and multiplication is a book by Nelson Roth, PCC about a coach approach to discipleship. He also has a second book called Nehemiah Response… a coaching model. Both books are helpful resources for adopting a coach approach to discipleship. These books help coaches or leaders who are adopting a coach approach to discipleship learn to ask the right questions, listen carefully, and provide a pathway for people to pursue greater growth and maturity in their walk with God.

Stride: Creating a Discipleship Pathway for Your Church by Mike Schreiner and Ken Willard refers to coaching as “the secret sauce in the church’s discipleship process.” The authors fully admit that it is possible to have a discipleship process without coaching. But they encourage a coach approach simply because it is so effective in helping people take next steps. One-to-one coaching conversations help people move forward faster. Their book is more directive than pure coaching but helpful for those who are looking at a coach approach to discipling people.

4 Chair Discipling: What Jesus Calls Us To Do by Dan Spader is an excellent book on Discipling. Coaches can use the four chair pathway and as they coach individuals who want to grow in their walk with Christ. The four chairs are a helpful picture of a disciple’s journey to maturity. 4 Chair Discipling isn’t a coaching book. It is a Discipleship Pathway that coaches can use as a pathway with the people they are coaching. Sonlife Ministries does offer coaching in the Discipleship process written about in 4 Chair Discipling. From what I can gather though the Sonlife coaching is a mixture of teaching and consulting (not pure coaching). Coaches will need to figure out how these books can help them adopt a coach approach to discipleship while adhering to the ICF Core Competencies.

There are other outstanding resources available on discipleship. Jim Putman (Real Life Discipleship) writes, speaks, and provides training for those people who are interested in taking discipleship seriously. Most of his coaching analogies refer to sports which isn’t the kind of coaching talked about on this site. His book, Real Life Discipleship is recommended often by those who have read widely in this area. I have his book Discipleshift and found it well worth the read. Bill Hull of the Bonhoeffer Project has written more books on discipleship by a single author than anyone else I know.

There is an abundance of pretty good books on discipleship. There are fewer on how to adopt a coach approach to discipleship. Coaching4Clergy.com offers a certificate in Discipleship Coaching. The Certificate in Discipleship Coaching is a twenty-four hour course taught by Nelson and Pam Roth (PCC) whose books are listed first above. For those who want even more training there is a more advance Discipleship Coach Training. Both programs our approved for coach training hours by the ICF (International Coach Federation). My only disclaimer is that I am not as familiar with coaching4clergy.com. That said, they seem to have a great reputation.

If you’re new to coaching or want to know more about how to add coaching skills to your skill set them you may want to look at my post on The Best Books for Christian Leaders on Learning Coaching Skills. If you want hand’s on experience then The Coaching Workshop for Christian Leaders is a great introduction.

The Coaching Workshop for Christian Leaders

Consider attending The Coaching Workshop for Christian Leaders. Coaching skills will increase your effectiveness as a leader regardless of whether you work in the marketplace or in ministry. People who take this workshop see significant advancements in their impact, while seeing their stress and busy-ness go down.

Based on the book, The COACH Model for Christian Leaders, this workshop is made for those who are experienced as well as those who are not-so-experienced in coaching skills.

If you’re interested in know more about coaching or in The Coaching Workshop for Christian Leaders, schedule a no obligation coaching conversation with me.