Interview with Keith Webb: How to Become a Coach

I had the opportunity to interview Keith Webb. Keith is a Professional Certified Coach, author, and speaker specializing in leadership development. He founded and leads Creative Results Management, a global training organization focused on equipping ministry leaders to multiply their ministry impact. For 20 years, Keith lived in Japan, Indonesia, and Singapore where he designed and delivered leadership development programs. Keith created The COACH Model®. He is the author of The COACH Model for Christian Leaders and Coaching In Ministry. Keith lives near Seattle and blogs at

Could you briefly share your story of how you found your calling as a coach?  

I write, speak and coach people on how to solve problems on a larger, systematic scale. I’ve been fascinated by the question: “How do we communicate in such a way that we can actually learn, create new knowledge, solve problems, and get past personal barriers?”

I began coaching when I lived in Indonesia where I worked with 18-25 year-old Indonesians in nonprofit organizations. Because of social hierarchy I had status and they asked for my direction. I was happy to give advice. They were good at understanding what I thought was best, which is quite common in a hierarchical societies. But, one day I realized my advice could get one of these people killed, beaten or thrown of the places they worked because Indonesia was a volatile and tense environment. I realized I had to find another way of working one-on-one with them. And, that’s where coaching came in.

Can you share how you professionally developed as a coach?

Well, I came across a passage in the Bible where Jesus said he will send a counselor, the Holy Spirit, to teach and remind us (John 14:26). As I reflected on that, if the Holy Spirit will teach and remind, then I don’t have to. This was the biggest mindset shift I had to make as a coach. People have resources other than me to solve their problems.
I started by reading books (which is actually a terrible way to learn to coach) around how to have these conversations and dialogues. I constantly asked myself: Am I sharing my story and my ideas or am I drawing out theirs?

What advice would you give to Millennials who aren’t exposed to coaching?

I think everyone is aware of the word “coaching” but applications are quite different. In professional coaching, coaches draw out instead of putting in. Millennials are very attracted to receiving coaching. They want someone to draw them out and cause them to think. They don’t want to be micro-managed. They want mentors, but they don’t want the person guiding them in the sense they are they telling exactly what to do. I’ve found that Millennials aren’t any better than Boomers when it comes to coaching. They are still sharing their ideas and advice with the other person. Coaching draws out the other person’s thinking and ideas. Young leaders are busy doing things themselves. When they receive greater authority, they’ll have to do things through other people. That’s when young leaders especially need to use coaching skills.
Can you share with me The COACH Model® that you developed? What does the methodology like it?

The COACH Model® is a five step model of how to have empowering and effective conversations. The reason why we need a model is because most people are lopsided in conversations. Some of us are all action and little reflection, others are all about ideas but have little focus on action. This model promotes both.

Step 1: Connect with the person. Sounds obvious, but we often jump straight into the work. Also, connecting includes following up previous action steps. I ask, “What progress did you make and what’s your next step?”

Step 2: Outcome of the situation. If I’m coaching you, I want to know what you want as the end result of the conversation. This is so important because my tendency is to tell you what I think you should be thinking about.

Step 3: Awareness. This is about fostering reflective dialogue intended to produce greater perspective for the other person.

Step 4: Course. Ask, “What actions could you take to move forward?” This helps people get into action

Step 5: Highlights. I ask, “What insights do you have now that you didn’t before?  What did you find meaningful in our conversation.” This solidifies the learning and puts it in a few bullet point.

What are some pitfalls people experience when coaching?

We are too stuck on our own thoughts and ideas. We’re not being present and listening enough. It’s quite easy to have solutions in our head when we ask questions and listen. We miss out on the opportunity to help them form their own solutions. Because if you think you already know, you’re not curious anymore. Curiosity is a key leadership trait.

So, where we do we go from here? What are some steps to become a better coach?

Training is the key. Going through rigorous practice and feedback is paramount. For instance, you need an instructor to help with you these skills,

• How do I ask powerful questions?
• How do I become more curious?
• How do I generate feedback instead of giving feedback?
• How do I get people to take actions without telling them what to do?
With provide live training and feedback from a coaching instructor, you will learn these skills and see your blind spots.

Enter The Free Giveaway Contest

I am giving away 4 copies of Keith’s book, The COACH Model for Christian Leaders. Follow the instructions below to enter the giveaway contest and then spread the word to others! The contest ends at midnight on November 11th midnight (PST) and the winner will be announced on November 12th.


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2)    Leave a comment on bottom of the post. (Answer the Question below)

Question: Why is coaching important in your leadership?