How Companionship Transforms a Coaching Relationship

April 26, 2013

Paul’s letter to Timothy in the Christian Bible is an example of how Paul provided encouragement to Timothy as a companion would do. Paul knew what spiritual gifts Timothy had, and Paul gave encouragement and instruction. This is something we must practice if we are serious about effectively coaching future Christian leaders.

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In Paul’s last days, he hoped to have Timothy’s companionship and help in ministry, as shown when he wrote, “Timothy, please come as soon as you can” (2 Timothy 4:9 NLT). When writing to the Roman Church (7 years before writing letters to Timothy), Paul mentioned Timothy in this manner: “Timothy, my fellow worker, sends you his greetings. . . .” (Romans 16:21).

Paul showed his partnership with Timothy by mentioning Timothy 13 times in his letters to other churches and individuals. 1 Paul mentioned Timothy so often in his writings because Timothy traveled with Paul on many missionary journeys and was one of Paul’s most trusted assistants. John C. Maxwell explains in his Maxwell Leadership Bible that the companionship between Paul and Timothy as a coaching relationship similar to “Elijah and Elisha . . . Paul invested in him for a long time, taking him on short-term mission trips, letting him preach, leaving him to pastor a young church, and writing instructional letters to him while apart.” 2

This type of companionship can also be described as friendship. Friendship is a sign of a good coaching relationship because “good coaching relationships include openness, candor, trust, and dialogue.” 3 Coaching relationships characterized by these traits provide a safe place for the coachee to share thoughts and ideas.

Part of the companionship element of the coaching relationship is the simple idea of knowing each other well. The coach should allow the coachee to get to know him so the coachee can imitate his good behaviors and practices.

Paul’s message to Timothy showed the ability of Timothy to teach and lead because Timothy “knew” Paul. Paul showed this to be true when he wrote to Timothy,

But you, Timothy, certainly know what I teach, and how I live, and what my purpose in life is. You know my faith, my patience, my love, and my endurance. You know how much persecution and suffering I have endured. You know all about how I was persecuted in Antioch, Iconium, and Lystra—but the Lord rescued me from all of it (2 Timothy 3:30-11).

The reason Timothy could teach others as Paul taught was that they were companions who spent years traveling and doing ministry together.

Regardless of if the coaching relationship takes place within or outside of an organization, companionship is important to the success of the coachee. With no companionship, there is no room for the necessary types of ministries to happen.

Question: Why do you think companionship is an important element in the coaching process?


  1. Those references are 1 Corinthians 4:17; 16:10; 2 Corinthians 1:1; 1:19; Philippians 1:1; 2:19,20; 2:22, Colossians 1:1, 1 Thessalonians 1:1; 3:2; 3:5,6, 2 Thessalonians 1:1, Philemon 1:1, and Hebrews 13:23.
  2. John C. Maxwell, The Maxwell Leadership Bible, 2nd ed. (Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson, 2007), 1497.
  3. Doug Riddle and Sharon Ting, “Leader Coaches: Principles and Issues for In-House Development,” Leadership in Action 26, no. 2 (May/June 2006), 18.

Christopher L. Scott

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Christopher Scott is Small Groups Pastor at Rocky Hilly Community Church in Exeter, CA. He has more than ten years of experience leading volunteers, running nonprofit programs, and teaching the Bible in small group settings. He holds a bachelor's degree from Fresno Pacific University and master's degree from Dallas Theological Seminary.

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