Coaching is a Skill Set, Not a Magic Pill

Coaching is a Skill Set, Not a Magic Pill

Coaching skills can be learned and put into practice. I´m finding this approach works well with this generation of digital relationships.


What would happen if …

My leadership style has been so transformed by coach training. So, I wondered what would happen if I taught basic coaching concepts to small group leaders in our church?

I launched the idea to our weary leaders and they all readily agreed to go for it. The next step was figuring out the essence of what brought transformation in my own leadership style and relationships. Here’s what I came up with:

Key Concepts

  • Authenticity – instead of “holding down the fort”, “hanging on”, or responding with “glory to God, in Him I have the victory!”, we all needed a good dose of authenticity. We had to learn how to share victories, failure and needs in a way that invited others to freely express themselves in return. It took several risky practice sessions but finally a new sense of openness and encouragement began to bloom.
  • Open questions – The next skill-set we tackled was how not to turn our home groups into a Bible study, group counseling session, or even a mini-church service. One leader-trainee was moved to tears by having someone ask questions and actually listen to her responses!
  • The Heart of a Coach – imitating the heart of Jesus. Together we considered how God is already moving and working in whoever we engage in conversation. By believing they are capable of hearing and obeying what God is saying to them, we empower others to trust God instead of merely following our advice.
  • OREO feedback – We taught them how to self-praise, self-correct, and plan together as a team – how to affirm positive things happening in the group more than analyzing what is going wrong and trying to correct out of our weakness. This has created an excitement and initiative on the part of the leaders to keep ambience, questions, and listening skills intentional each week.

We began weekly lunch meetings because practicing these skills became more and more exciting. Learning to live in an authentic way, to listen and ask more questions and have others believe in you was so sweet. We wanted to take that experience to the small groups we all were leading.


In just a few weeks we were getting reports from our small groups: a young man we´d never met before rededicated his life to the Lord! A woman living in an abusive relationship was able to share her story and feel supported and accepted. She later broke off the relationship and is headed out to a discipleship school for 6 months!

A new person showed up and easily joined in the family ambience. Upon leaving the meeting she commented, “what´s going on here? I found myself sharing intimate details of my life story, and I had only wanted to sit back and observe!” She has become a member of the church and is leading another ministry.

Non-Christian friends are being invited into the groups and they are finding a place where they can observe Christianity in all its authenticity and they like it! Our groups doubled in the first 3 months I think because others began to see what was happening and wanted in on the “real thing!”

Get some training and put it into practice in every area of your life and watch the fruit multiply!

by Patricia Clewett, Leadership Coach & Coach. Bi-Lingual missionary to Spain, living in Barcelona for more than 20 years. Mother of 4 adult children. Married to the same man since 1978. Certified Professional Coach of cross-cultural and leadership coaching experience. Completed 3-year training including LCT 1 and MCT levels I and II. Now Completing Apprenticeship to train other coaches in the Spanish Speaking World.

The Mission Trip Jesus Failed!

The Mission Trip Jesus Failed!

It’s not a sin

Yes, the title was partly to get your attention. We know Jesus was perfect, so he must have been successful at everything he did, right? He wasn’t! If you define success as achieving a desired outcome then Jesus failed numerous times throughout his life on earth. You can fail to have desired effect on people because you can’t control a persons response. (Remember – failing to achieve a goal is not a sin, failing to obey God is a sin. BIG difference).

In Mark 5 Jesus shows up in the Gerasenes and displays God’s love and power in setting a demon possessed man free. Instead of receiving him into the region with open arms “the people began to plead with Jesus to leave their region”. So, Jesus honored their request and left! This had to feel like a total failure to spread the good news of God in that area.

Identity in relationship

Where have you done your best and walked away totally discouraged because it felt like a failure? Ask Jesus, “Jesus, what did you feel like when you left the Gerasenes?” Listen to the first thoughts that come to your mind. Follow this up with some relational questions like “Jesus, what do you think of me in this failure?” Listen to how Jesus speaks to your relationship with him and your identity.

Because Jesus kept his identity and worth in his relationship with God, situational failure never diverted him from continuing his life purpose. In fact God used it to advance his purpose. The healed man became the missionary to the people of that region. Making disciples was a main purpose of Jesus in his time on earth.

Abandoned by Jesus

The man that Jesus healed wanted to go with Jesus, but Jesus didn’t let him. Jesus abandoned him and left him there!
Have you ever felt like Jesus left you stranded?

Talk to Jesus about this:

  • What is the truth that Jesus saw in this man that the man didn’t see in himself?
  • How was the greater presence of Jesus manifested because Jesus left the man behind?
  • How was the love of Jesus demonstrated to the people of the region because Jesus was willing to leave him?

Now make it personal. Ask Jesus questions like:

  • “How did you feel when you left the man there on shore?”
  • “What do you see in me that I don’t see in myself?”
  • “How can I demonstrate your love to others by staying in the is place that I felt abandon by you?”
  • “How are you still with me even in this place?”

I just prayed that you will encounter the heart of Jesus in a transforming way.

by Jonathan Corbin – Owner of Corbin Business Coaching. Jonathan has been through the Life Leadership Coach Training with Coaching Mission International. He provides coaching for small business owners with a emphasis on how the internal perspective shapes the external reality that one creates. Jonathan has run a tree trimming business for 11 years and lives in Northern Indiana with his wife and four children.

The Asking Experiment

The Asking Experiment

During CMI’s one year Foundational Coaching Skills course (FOCOS), we recently asked trainees to read author and Master Trainer Tony Stoltzfus’s “Top 10 Asking Mistakes” (part 1, part 2).* Students then identified a mistake that they struggled with; and for 48 hours, used a coaching approach instead. This exercise is usually an eye-opener! It’s amazing how often leaders use questions that close down creative thinking or create defensive reactions.

Asking like Dr. Seuss

Here is one trainee’s experience: “This assignment was more difficult than I realized. First, I couldn’t seem to narrow it down to one mistake! I ramble on and on, getting nowhere fast! (mistake #4) I need to stop and think before I talk and be comfortable with short periods of silence. I caught myself with solution-oriented questions using words which sounded like a Dr. Seuss book: “would you, could you, should you?” due to the fact that I wanted to control what I thought was best for the person I was talking to (mistake #2). This happened with my husband, my daughter, and my granddaughter all in the last couple days! I also caught myself interrupting them due to what was on my agenda (mistake #9).

As I became aware of all three of these asking mistakes, I also became aware of my family’s reactions: defensiveness and shortened conversations that didn’t lead to the results I desired.”

What a difference

“So I started experimenting intentionally with the coaching approach. I was astounded by the difference! My family members dropped their defensiveness and immediately opened up. I started asking “what” and “how” questions which gave them more control of their decisions. I stopped using the word, “you” in my questions, and listened more, without interruptions. Our conversations became much more effective because I was empowering them to come up with their own goals and how they were going to achieve them.

I saw the light

This assignment turned on a light bulb for me! The change in my approach is going to take some much needed practice to become automatic and natural. I know eventually it will free me from taking on responsibility for others and give others the responsibility to solve their own problems. It will build stronger and deeper relationships. Before, my asking mistakes shaped conversations that were about me and what I thought others should/should not do. Using a coaching approach demonstrates to others that I believe in them and love them unconditionally.”

What would happen if you identified your number one asking mistake and chose to use a coaching approach instead? Take the plunge and do the Asking Experiment for 48 hours and see how your world changes!

*for more information, check out Tony’s book, Coaching Questions

Coaching is the art of asking questions that help a person discover deeper insights, greater awareness and the opportunity to live more fully the life they were meant to live. Learn more about what Coaching or Coach Training could do for you!

Tinaby Tina Stoltzfus Horst, founder and Executive Director of CMI.  A Master Coach and Trainer, Tina is a thought leader for cross cultural coaching in the missions context and designed CMI’s Cross Cultural Coaching course.  She has been coaching cross culturally for over 10 years and travels regularly to provide coach training for missions leaders. Her book, “Culturally Intelligent Coaching: Cross Cultural Coaching for Missions and Ministry” is expected to come out in late 2016. Subscribe to CMI’s “Insights for Impact” blog to keep informed about this and other recommended resources.

Business, Coaching & Packers with a Purpose

Business, Coaching & Packers with a Purpose

Northern Indiana, not North India

There is a phenomenon at our work place that I like to call, “Packers with a Purpose.” Even though my company is located in Northern Indiana (that’s Indiana, as in the USA, not India, as in Asia), CMI plays a part in this “phenomenon”.

I work in a manufacturing company that makes cabinets. That is the short version! We are a high tech, just-in-time, custom manufacturing company. We make stuff for a lot of people, and there is a lot of pressure for high performance and getting things right.

A Pay Check and a Back Ache

Every day we move a lot of parts through our facility. We pack and ship about 16,000 – 20,000 lbs. of material every day. There are two packers that count, handle, and stack every part onto pallets. They stack, wrap, strap and ship, then they stack, wrap, strap and ship, and stack, wrap, strap and ship some more. All day long, every day, every month. It is an endless, repetitive unrewarding process with two results: a pay check and a back ache.

So when we had to have “a talk” with one of the packers about his performance, why did he respond by saying that he was determined to do better, because he likes working here so much that he wants to retire from here? Seriously? He is only thirty years old and he wants to work here for the next 30 years? Packing pallets?

What is that about? Connection to Purpose!

My answer:  I believe it has everything to do with connection to purpose. And I think that connection is on two fronts. There is a connection to purpose within the company and also to purpose that goes far beyond the company.

It has been said in our shop that the best thing about working here is that everyone gets to make decisions. This gives everyone a role in the growth of the company and an investment in personal growth, team dynamics and successful outcomes.

It is also said in the shop that the worst thing about working here is that everyone gets to make decisions. It requires personal responsibility and accountability. This connection with purpose within the company is about personal growth as well as shared responsibly for the growth of the entire team as we seek to make good decisions together.

What does CMI have to do with any of this?

CMI is all about transformational coaching. I work with CMI as a volunteer coach and trainer an average of 5 hours per week. In fact, I sometimes take entire weeks off from work to volunteer with CMI, receiving or conducting training.

“If you ever get it in your mind that you want to transform your business, your marriage, your church culture, your work relationships, or your personal relationships, learn about coaching!”

As a company we have embraced coaching values from CMI, such as: high performance, personal responsibility, bringing the best and most out of a person’s potential, support, encouragement, and empowerment. These values are a strong force in the transformation of a person’s life, a corporate culture, a church culture, or the effectiveness of a missions effort in cross cultural contexts. These values, when put into practice create a powerful environment of purpose.

A Purpose Way beyond Our Company

CMI also connects us to a purpose that goes way beyond our company. We give to a number of organizations and individuals both locally and globally. Everyone that works with us gets to help decide who we partner with through giving – the owners, packers, everyone!  CMI is one of those partners.

We also partner through prayer during our staff meetings. If you were to visit us you could actually hear conversations at break time about things that are happening around the world…and about football, too, of course. We are fascinated, and quite frankly surprised by the growth and impact that CMI is having around the world with things that matter to us. It’s a privilege to know that we are part of the impact CMI is having.

We Pack for the Kingdom

So while we work our machines and pack our pallets, we do it knowing that we are working for a much larger purpose. One that goes far beyond any one of us, beyond us as a group. We pack for CMI. We pack for the Kingdom. We pack for Jesus. We pack with a purpose. Phenomenal!

Question: What would have to change for the culture of your company to be focused around a global, kingdom purpose? What would be a first step you could take toward making that change?


garyh-100by Gary Horst, CMI Consultant Coach & FOCOS Trainer; Mission Woodworking, Part-Owner
Learn more about getting involved with CMI: Volunteer, Partner, Donate
Connect with Gary on Linkedin

Supporting the Messengers

Supporting the Messengers

How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of the messenger bringing good news, Breaking the news that all’s well, proclaiming good times, announcing salvation, telling Zion, “Your God reigns!” – Isaiah 52:7 (The Message)

We live in a complex world

We live in a complex world full of challenges and it’s easy to focus on the bad news: deadly diseases ravaging a continent; genocide, terrorism and poverty; inequality, racism, and abuse. The bad news can be overwhelming! What’s the good news?

The good news is that God cares about our world and He cares about us. He values our friendship and he wants to help us maximize opportunities to grow and become more like him! He offers us the chance to use our gifts to partner with him in extending his love around the globe! I want everyone everywhere to hear that: it’s really good news! It’s good news that can change the world!

Our passion at CMI is to pour into leaders who are sharing God’s love cross culturally. These leaders, both from the majority and minority worlds, often live out their calling in lonely places; under challenging circumstances, with little support.

They must overcome language and cultural barriers, illness, fatigue, lack of resources and spiritual opposition. They have few options for personal development and often long for consistent care and encouragement. Their calling is difficult and over a five year period, 50% of them return home.

But what if…?

  • What if these leaders, wherever they are, had access to a coach who could walk alongside them?
  • What if through a simple, regular phone or skype call, each leader could receive personalized leadership development for goals they set themselves; and encouragement, support and care along the way?
  • What if they had someone to debrief with them after difficult circumstances and who encouraged them to engage God and grow through their challenges?
  • Even better, what if those coaches were highly trained and experienced in coaching for transformation? were cross culturally adept, with understanding and experience in serving across cultures?

At CMI we believe that…

At CMI, we believe that the best way to see God’s family grow and his love spread around the world is through supporting the messengers: those who are already on the field. CMI’s vision is that EVERY frontline missions leader and organization, every developing world leader serving people groups in his or her own country, every aid worker, missions pastor or sending organization worker, would have access to the transformational impact of cross cultural, Christ-centered missions coaching.

We believe that by upholding leaders, nations and continents will be impacted with God’s life changing love. We believe at CMI that God is creating a wave of influence, a missions coaching movement. It’s bigger than what any one person can do, and bigger than CMI. But God changes the world through people, as we join our gifts with his love and vision.

If this is a vision that speaks to your heart, become involved in the movement! Your gifts and talents are needed. Let’s impact nations by upholding leaders!

tinash-100by Tina Stoltzfus Horst, CMI Executive Director




I’ve heard you are a Coach!

I’ve heard you are a Coach!

“I’ve heard you are a coach. Will you coach me?”

Every time I’m asked that question, I think of “Johan”.

When I met Johan*, he and his family had lived in an isolated location amidst an unreached group for more than a decade. I had heard of his dedication from his colleagues, and of the high level of resourcing he provided for the 100 workers he supervised. He was a well -respected leader, a man of integrity, perseverance, and faith.

Johan approached me at a conference and asked his question.

“What do you want out of a coaching relationship?” I asked.

He responded, “I see a sharpness of focus and skill in other leaders who have a mentor or coach. I feel blunt in comparison. I lead and mentor many other leaders. But I myself have never had a coach. I’ve never had a mentor. I’ve never had a spiritual father.”

Each time I tell this story and remember those words, my heart is impacted.

How is it possible that…

…a man like this, giving so much to others, does not have support himself?

But, this is an all too familiar story for cross cultural workers. Leaders who cross cultures to extend the borders of God’s family make immense personal sacrifices; leaving home, family and everything familiar. They battle illness, culture stress, language issues and spiritual opposition.

At times lonely, and often isolated, they long for growth and encouragement, but their development as leaders and as brothers and sisters in Christ is often limited by heavy ministry loads, remote location, and lack of finances. Some have resources through their sending organization, many do not. And first generation Christians from the majority world, who often comprise the cutting edge of missions, are frequently the most needy – lacking support from family and home – relationally and financially.

Those who minister cross culturally in order to show and tell God’s love to others; who serve widows and orphans, the sick and the poor; who pour themselves into empowering and developing others: those are the people I want to serve!

How about you? Who are you serving?

How can you use your gifts to serve those who serve others cross culturally?

* name has been changed to protect identity

– Tina Stoltzfus Horst, CMI Executive Director