Coaching Tool: Asking Questions for Jesus

coaching toolQuestions for Jesus has become my most-used coaching tool, because it is so simple and so transformational. The idea is to help people to have an experiential encounter where Jesus speaks directly to a coachee’s heart—right in the middle of the coaching conversation. Jesus wields a power to change people that I can’t even approach, so I’ve learned to step back and take people right to Him. I just take my ability to formulate coaching questions, and instead of me doing the asking, I give the client questions for Jesus that they’ve never thought to ask. And Jesus answers—prolifically, usually in less than a minute! I’m so committed to this that I’ve even made a free Mobile App to help coaches use this coaching tool to help coachees learn to do this.

The key to the coaching tool Questions for Jesus approach is changing what you ask. Most Christian prayers are about the business of the Christian life:

  • “What is God’s will for my life?”
  • “What am I supposed to do?”
  • “Help me do the right thing.”
  • “I’m sorry for what I did.”

In other words, we pray to our boss. But here’s the secret: Jesus would much prefer to relate to you as the lover of your soul! Questions for Jesus invites Him to give you your heart’s deepest desires—our longings for love, significance, belonging, freedom, security, and more. And instead of asking for a thing or outcome in this world to fill that desire, we are asking him to speak a word to us that directly touches our heart, and fills it with Himself. It’s talking to him like a lover instead of an employee.

This one simple change in focus using this coaching tool makes an amazing difference: instead of mostly asking about what you ought to be doing, you’ll find yourself carrying on a conversation with Jesus about what he most loves about you, or how your life is significant to him, or why he longs to be known. There is no easier way I know of to hear Jesus’ voice (my own percentage of answered prayer went up about 1000% when I started praying this way).

The 16 DesiresI’ll give you a quick primer on how to do it. First, I help the coachee identify his or her desire. The desire is what a thing or outcome gives you—what it satisfies in you at the deepest level. For instance, if a person wants financial security, ask, “If you had that, what would it give your heart?” We’re looking for one of the 16 desires (see diagram). If the person’s answer is “freedom,” then we want to ask Jesus a question that allows Him to fill the desire for freedom with Himself. We might ask, “Jesus, what am I free to choose today, that you don’t care either way?” or, “Jesus, show me a picture of how I am free in you;” or even, “Jesus, lets have a play-date: what do you want to do for fun today?”

And Jesus loves to answer this kind of prayer! Usually the breakthrough begins in five minutes or less. Jesus does all the heavy lifting, He makes me look like a coaching genius, I get paid the same, and the coachee gets rocked. It’s a lot of fun.

I can’t teach you to fundamentally alter the way you relate to Jesus in a one page article. For an in-depth explanation of how to coach desires, pick up a copy of The Invitationfrom, or check out the other (mostly free) resources below:

Tony Stoltzfus is a best-selling author, leadership coach, master coach trainer and the founder of the Leadership Metaformation Institute.