Friday, December 15, 2017

Tell Me About Coaching

Sometimes we get so involved in our pursuits that we assume everyone understands what we are talking about.  As a leadership coach, I am often surprised when a person says, “Tell me about this coaching thing.  What’s it all about?”

In Growing Agile Leaders, Bob Dale writes, “Coaching is a growth-oriented, strategic relationship.  Coaching links two peers, equals who are in distinct roles, to collaborate as thought partners and to find the way forward for the person being coached.”  I love Dale’s definition because it applies to a number of ways that coaching can be used in the church.

First, practically every professional leader (including ministers) would benefit from working with a coach.  Unlike many conversations, the coaching conversation is all about the client.  The coach provides the framework and monitors the process, but the person being coached sets the agenda.  In this case, it really is “all about you” and the person you want to become.

Ministers often find it difficult to open up to others, even other clergy, fearing they will appear either inadequate and unsure of themselves or egotist and self-centered.  A coach provides a safe place to reflect, dream, plan, and work for a better future.  The client is challenged to achieve deeper insights and to respond accordingly.

Second, clergy leaders can be more effective if they add coaching to their “tool box.”  Too often, lay leaders go to the pastor for their answers.  This allows them to avoid finding out things themselves and, often, avoiding responsibility.  When the pastor uses coaching skills, he or she is encouraging lay leaders in self-leadership and to use their talents to discover answers for themselves.  A good athletic coach takes a talented team and makes it better by investing in individuals.  A coaching pastor can do the same.

Third, lay leaders in the congregation can use coaching skills to lead teams and groups as well as equip the other leaders with whom they work.  The Disciple Development Coaching © training provided by Pinnacle Leadership Associates prepares laity to use a coach approach to call out, encourage, and empower others.  One does not have to be a professional to use coaching skills effectively.

Coaching can be an effective tool to develop all types of leaders in the body of Christ.  If you would like to learn more about coaching in church, contact Ircel Harrison.

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