The Five Essential Character Traits of a Christian Life Coach

Note: This content offers an abbreviated glimpse into the ICCI course “Christian Life Coaching Foundations I: Creating the Right Environment”—You can purchase the course here.

Coaching, like many things God calls us to do, is a sacred trust, and therefore our character matters. Being a successful Christian Life Coach requires us to have Christ’s character formed in us by the Holy Spirit. Character is defined as a mark or a distinctive quality. We can develop the distinctive qualities of a Christ-follower in our lives only through the guidance of the Holy Spirit. We can’t cause change in ourselves or others without God’s Spirit. We can’t even fashion someone else’s character. As coaches, we are called to introduce people to the God who can accomplish all those things. Then we cooperate with the Holy Spirit as He works to transform our lives and the lives of those we are coaching.

Here are the five qualities that distinguish a Christ-following coach:

1 – Faithfulness

Faithfulness is the mark of a person being transformed by Christ. Scripture says, “One who is faithful in a very little is also faithful in much, and one who is dishonest in a very little is also dishonest in much” (Luke 16:10 ESV). Take time to consider carefully if you have been faithful in the small things God has put before you. Evaluate how God has equipped you to take the next steps and follow where He leads.

Ask yourself these questions:

  • What have I been faithful with in the past?
  • Has my faithfulness in small things warranted God entrusting someone else’s life to me?

2 – Teachableness

Teachableness is the ability to keep learning. A teachable heart maintains a willingness to learn. If you assume you know everything you need to know, you will miss new perspectives and all kinds of new insights. Coaches expect their clients to learn new skills and ways of handling life’s challenges, so they should model how to be lifelong learners. In Proverbs, we read, “Let the wise listen and add to their learning, and let the discerning get guidance” (Proverbs 1:5).

Ask yourself these questions:

  • What obstacles keep me from learning?
  • What topics do I want to learn more about, and what steps can I take to start the learning process?

3 – Genuineness

Genuineness is the capacity to be authentic, real, and transparent. To build trust with those you are helping, you need to be who you really are at all times, not changing who you are from one moment to the next. The apostle Paul reminds us to be genuine in our love: “Let love be without hypocrisy” (Romans 12:9 NASB).

Ask yourself these questions:

  • Where do I need to grow in knowledge of myself?
  • In what situations am I tempted to be inauthentic, and how can I overcome that temptation with the help of the Holy Spirit?

4 – Humility

The power and authority of Jesus came from His humility. Only Jesus is worthy to open the scroll sealed with seven seals, and yet, He is the gentle Lamb who was slain for our sins (Revelation 5:1–14). As coaches, we should emulate His humility by walking in wisdom and treating others with gentleness, kindness, and patience.

Ask yourself these questions:

  • What kind of example do I set for others? Do I count others more significant than myself?
  • What motivates me to coach others? Am I seeking glory for myself or for God?

5 – Unconditional Love

God’s greatest commandments are to love God and love people. God is love, and He calls us to do all things—both big and small—with great love. Jesus said the most important thing is this: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these” (Mark 12:30–31).

Ask yourself these questions:

  • How can I grow in loving the Lord with all my heart, soul, mind, and strength?
  • How am I demonstrating the love of God to others? How can I help other people develop in love?


The Lord says, “Now it is required that those who have been given a trust must prove faithful” (1 Corinthians 4:2). Coaching is a weighty assignment. You will be held to a higher standard as you take on this leadership role of providing guidance for others. If you feel overwhelmed by the responsibility of coaching, remember, “The one who calls you is faithful, and he will do it” (1 Thessalonians 5:24). God will equip you to do what He has called you to do.

To learn more about the character qualities of a Christian life coach, sign up for our Christian Life Coaching Foundations courses:

Eric Scalise, PhD, currently serves as Senior Vice President and Chief Strategy Officer (CSO) with Hope for the Heart. He is also the President of LIV Consulting, LLC, the former Senior Vice President for the American Association of Christian Counselors (AACC) and former Department Chair for Counseling Programs at Regent University. Dr. Scalise is a Licensed Professional Counselor and a Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist with over 42 years of clinical and professional experience in the mental health field, and he served six years on the Virginia Board of Counseling under two governors. Specialty areas include professional/pastoral stress and burnout, combat trauma and PTSD, marriage and family issues, grief and loss, addictions and recovery, leadership development, and lay counselor training. He is a published author, adjunct professor at several Christian universities, conference speaker, and frequently works with organizations, clinicians, ministry leaders, and churches on a variety of issues.

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