Teaching is How You Coach Leaders

May 1, 2013

While walking through elements of a coaching relationship the last few weeks on my blog I believe it is also important to note that teaching is an element of coaching. Why?

pic of bird teaching a bird

Flickr Photo Credit: foxypar4

Teaching is an element of coaching because there are circumstances when being an encouraging role model will not suffice so the coach must also teach. A coach may do so through questions, direct instructions, apprenticeship, etc.

One observable way Paul instructs Timothy is by telling him what to do and what not to do. In the two New Testament letters to Timothy, Paul teaches Timothy what to do 24 times 1 while only saying what not to do 10 times 2. Contained within 2 Timothy is found one of the best and most well known verses about teaching and coaching others. Writing to Timothy, Paul states, “You have heard me teach things that have been confirmed by many reliable witnesses. Now teach these truths to other trustworthy people who will be able to pass them on to others” (2 Timothy 2:2). After the necessary time of teaching Timothy and coaching him, Paul tells Timothy that it is Timothy’s turn to go and teach others.

One scholar gives great insight about this verse and its literary connection to the topic of teaching,

Though the noun “teacher” does not appear in this verse, the contents of the verse as well as the infinitive διδάξι (to teach) unmistakably establish the fact that Paul has the image of a teacher in mind. The fact that this image stands first in Paul’s series indicates his recognition of the importance of the teaching function in furtherance of the Christian faith. It was part of his own apostolic work in relation to the gospel (2 Tim. 1:11). In both of his epistles to Timothy, Paul stipulated that the Christian worker must be “able to teach” (1 Tim. 3:2; 2 Tim. 2:24). 3

Paul certainly lived this out as a Pharisee who was extremely devoted to the teachings and adherence of the Mosaic law. This topic of teaching is woven throughout the fabric of Paul’s ministry.

Paul displays the need not just to teach and encourage the coachee, but the need of the coachee to begin teaching and encouraging others. Paul writes to Timothy, “Teach these things, Timothy, and encourage everyone to obey them” (1 Timothy 6:2). Teach and encourage that is precisely what Paul is doing to Timothy, teaching and encouraging him to teach and encourage others. Not only did the apostle Paul say this with his words, he also lived it out by sending Timothy on special assignments to several different churches over a period of fifteen years.

Teaching a coachee might look slightly different for every coachee based on her individual needs and situations. However, the biblical example of teaching as part of the coaching process is one which must be done in order to raise up Christian leaders.

Question: Why do you believe teaching is important in a coaching relationship?


  1. 1 Timothy 1:3, 1:18-2:4, 4:4, 4:7-10, 4:11-13, 4:15-16, 5:1-7, 5:17-18, 5:20-21, 6:2-3, 6:11-14, 6:17-18, 6:20; 2 Timothy 1:13, 2:1-8, 2:14-15, 2:22-25, 3:14, 4:1-2, 4:5, 4:9, 4:13, 4:19, 4:21.
  2. 1 Timothy 1:4, 4:4, 4:7, 4:14, 5:11, 5:19, 5:22-23; 2 Timothy 1:8, 2:16-17, 4:5.
  3. D. Edmond Hiebert, “Pauline Images of a Christian Leader,” Bibliotheca Sacra (July-September 1976), 214

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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