I realized one day that it is instinctive for a father to think, “I need to find a baseball coach for my son who loves...
I realized one day that it is instinctive for a father to think, “I need to find a baseball coach for my son who loves to play the game and wants to win place on the team.” It’s just as natural for a mother to think instinctively, “If my daughter really hopes to excel in ballet, I need to find her a coach.”
Then I began to think about and research what others I respected said about getting a coach: That it is natural everywhere but inside Christian circles. I also had thought how reaching out to a coach, as a pastor, might be unusual. However, here are a few quotes I considered:
“As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.” Solomon
“I need a coach, everybody needs a coach.” Eric Schmidt, CEO Google
“I never cease to be amazed at the power of the coaching process.” J. Russell, Harley Davidson
Not all coaching and not all coaches are equal. So I looked for a coach. The first time I had a professional coach some years ago I actually didn't feel it helped much. However, I didn't give up on the concept and later I had a breakthrough. My second attempt at being coached was a success. My coach clarified for me the distinction between different kinds of practices. When he used one particular bicycle riding metaphor, things clicked for me.
If someone asks, "Can you help me learn to ride a bike?" These four people-helpers would answer in very distinctive ways:
1. A Therapist would ask, "Why do you want to ride a bike?"
2. A Mentor would say, "Watch how I ride a bike and do what I do."
3. A Consultant would say, "Here is what you are doing wrong and what you can do differently to ride better."
4. A Coach would ask, "Where do you want to go that you believe God is directing?"
I loved the forward direction that a second coaching experience afforded me. I especially appreciated the level of clarity my coach was able to help me achieve. My view is that clarity is “the well” from which so many good things come from. Clarity is power and energy for the leader and those she/he leads.
Once a leader becomes crystal clear about their direction based on a deep and pragmatic understanding of their God given strengths; that kind of leader is going to break through barriers, overcome obstacles, and more importantly, that kind of leader will have people wanting to step-up and follow them on the journey God laid out for those people before the foundations of the world. Good coaching that’s not only reflective but also engaging and sometime directive gives leaders an Advantage, a Ministry Advantage, that the majority of pastors, clergy, and lay leaders have never have the chance to experience.
If there is one over-arching purpose in a coaching relationship it should be to clarify what God wants done next, what role is he asking me to play in it. If you are a pastor (or church leader) who would like more information on securing a personal coach please contact us at http://www.ministryadvantage.org.
From my earliest days in ministry I can recall my older pastor friends saying, “Never forget, every young Timothy should have...
From my earliest days in ministry I can recall my older pastor friends saying, “Never forget, every young Timothy should have an Apostle Paul, and every Apostle Paul should have a Young Timothy.” If that is not enough biblical evidence to motivate pastors and church leaders to seek out some form of coaching, then just look to Ephesians 4:11-15.
Pastors often don’t want to use the method of coaching because they perceive it as remedial. As a result, they picture that going to their congregation or session and saying, “I’ve engaged a coach to help me in leadership” that they will be then perceived as, ‘I’m doing something wrong, I’m not very good at my job, I’m really on the edge here ... I need somebody who’ll help me shore up the things that I don’t do well so that maybe I can skate by.” That’s often people’s perception of coaching, and it is the antithesis of what coaching is supposed to be.
Coaching is about identifying strengths and building upon them. It’s about using strengths in the best available way. The best business leaders, athletes, singers, and high performers in general all use coaches not because they’re doing things wrong, but because a coach helps them enhance their performance. Coaching, therefore, is developmental — it is not remedial.
Gary Collins, one of the gurus of Christian coaching, gives these 8 reasons why anyone would want a coach. I see great applicability for anyone in ministry. Here's what he writes when he answers the question, "Why would anybody want a coach?"
To get unstuck
To build your confidence
To expand your vision
To fulfill your dreams
To unlock your potential
To increase your skills
To move through transitions
To take practical steps toward your goals
The best evidence that a mentoring model is working ultimately has to be the effect. One of our Ministry Advantage Pastors recently wrote to us and said:
“This coaching experience has changed my ministry in so many positive ways, and I cannot thank you enough for making it possible for me to have this amazing opportunity. My conversations with my coach have been so helpful. He is encouraging, yet challenging as he helps guide me through the steps of transition. He provides great insight, and he is willing to share his experiences (positive and negative) in his efforts to help me become a better pastor and leader in my church and my community. While the coaching has been such a tremendous help to my ministry, the materials from Ministry Advantage have been a game-changer. For the first time in our church’s 35 year history, we have a clear plan. We know what we are trying to accomplish, and we have a plan as to how he hope to make it happen. I cannot put a price on the value of this experience. It has truly changed my ministry, which has changed our church, which will change our community, and in turn, our little part of the world!” Pastor Brian Newell
For some brief video stories of the effects of what I believe is a biblical mentoring model, just click the link to a four-minute video on Coaching that you might find helpful, insightful, and encouraging: click here.
Pastor Newsletter Archieves
Click to read past articles --->
Praying for Peace And It Does Not Come--->
What Pastors Should Look For in a Safe Relationship--->
Turning a Little Criticism into Major Carnage--->
Why Smart Pastors Stumble--->
When You Don’t Know What To Do, Find Someone Who Does--->
A Biblical Mentoring Model--->
When Ministry Knocks You Down--->
Introverts in Ministry--->
Should Pastors Repent Publically?--->
Guilt Producing Questions Pastors Secretly Ask Themselves--->
Saving Your Family Without Killing Your Ministry--->
Eight Healthy Ways To Respond When People Leave Your Church--->
When You’re Challenged, How Do You Respond?--->
Making the Move from Conflict to Cooperation--->