You’re Doing What?

 In Featured, Pastor Jeff's Blog

by Jeff Marian

Last Sunday morning someone asked me what I was going to do in retirement. I responded that I was going to be coaching. He looked at me quizzically and asked, “What sport?”

As badly as I wanted to tell him that I was going to be the defensive coach for the Minnesota Vikings, I thought I’d better not confuse him further. So, I explained what the discipline of coaching is all about. As I left church that morning, I realized that he may not be the only one confused about coaching, so let me tell you a bit more.

What is coaching?

Coaching is a relationship built on trust and accountability. Coaches accompany clients on the journey of increased self-awareness, discerning and clarifying dreams and goals, charting a path forward and celebrating every step of the journey. Along the way a coach uses reflective listening and powerful questions to help clients discover and dance with obstacles like limiting beliefs, thought distortions, self-defeating behaviors, and the ever-present inner critic.

How is coaching different from consulting, mentoring and therapy?

A consultant is an individual who provides professional or expert advice in a particular field of science or business to either an organization or individual. Hire a consultant when you need answers to technical questions.

A mentor is a seasoned professional who informally helps guide a lesser experienced person in their professional endeavors. Hire a mentor when you want someone to direct and advise you in your professional development.

A therapist is a licensed mental health professional who helps clients develop better cognitive and emotional skills, heal from trauma, reduce symptoms of mental illness and cope with various life challenges. Hire a therapist when you to want to be evaluated and treated for a mental health concern.

A coach is a partner on the journey of self-discovery. Together, coach and client clarify goals, set intentions, explore obstacles and celebrate each step of the journey. Coaching assists people in not only imagining a greater reality but claiming and living that reality from the inside out. Hire a coach when you want to engage in a self-driven, creative process of personal transformation.

I was certified as a coach practitioner in 2015 and an Advanced Narrative Coach Practitioner in 2022. While I hope to do some teaching and consulting in retirement, I plan to invest most of my time and energy into coaching individuals, groups and teams in the church, non-profit sector and the business community. You’ll find my website at

And for now, the Minnesota Viking’s defensive unit is safe in the hands of Ed Donatell. But if this other coaching gig doesn’t work out for me…

Pastor Jeff is the Lead Pastor at Prince of Peace Lutheran Church.

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