The Send Network Church Planting Blog

A Great Mission Deserves Great Coaching

March 19, 2014 by Dino Senesi
Great coaches come alongside leaders so leaders can be transformed into the image of Christ and join Him on His redemptive mission. (From Transformissional Coaching by Steve Ogne and Tim Roehl)   Jesus described a great mission when He said, “As the Father has sent Me, I also send you” (John 20:21 HCSB). He modeled the mission as both the one “sent” and the “sender.” As the sender, Jesus developed leaders to continue that same mission. Great coaching is one way to develop leaders for the mission of God. As you consider your own coaching skills set the bar high. Although no one is a “10” in every coaching quality listed below, you have certain qualities now that will help you coach well. Others qualities will develop through practice. Evidence of the eight qualities in people around you will also help you discover future coaches, coach mentors, and coaching champions.

What are the Qualities of a Great Coach?

Serving – Serving and giving are core coaching practices. Coaches enjoy helping others win. Jesus’ mission was to serve and give: “For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life—a ransom for many” (Mark 10:45 HCSB). Transforming – People who are growing typically have a strong belief that God can help others grow too. They are learners who are constantly confessing their own inadequacies, while at the same time celebrating how God is changing them. Coaches are driven by a core belief in God’s ability to change people because they have experienced firsthand His ability to change them. Listening – People are not drawn to talkers; they are drawn to listeners. We can find people to talk to us 24 hours a day—If not in person, then via our iPods, phones, email, etc. But a great coach is a great listener. Great listeners ask insightful questions because they are genuinely curious about another person’s story. They also listen for what God is doing in the heart of the storyteller. Cheering – Barnabas was nicknamed the “son of encouragement.” He took John Mark on a mission trip even when Paul thought it was the bad decision. Great coaches can come alongside church planters and help them celebrate wins, no matter how small. Seeing those wins can help them out of demoralizing ruts to move forward again. Praying – Bob Logan said, “At its core, coaching is a spiritual process” (Coaching 101, p. 26). Great coaches invite God into the process of the coaching relationship, praying with and for the person they coach. Great coaches also understand that the only long-term wins in life and ministry come from God working in the heart. As a church planter’s heart is changed, his behavior is transformed. The target is not behavior modification but spiritual transformation.  Pressing – “Therefore, with your minds ready for action, be serious and set your hope completely on the grace to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ” (1 Peter 1:13 HCSB). Most of us lose focus when under pressure. Whether the pressure is family struggles, financial issues, or a fear of failing, a coach can help a leader gain clarity and take action. A coach not only will ask the right questions but also will hold the leader he coaches accountable for follow through. Understanding – Everything doesn’t work everywhere for everybody. This principle certainly applies to life and ministry. Variables abound: the location of a new church, the timing of a planting project, and the attributes of the planter (his background, giftedness, and experience) are only a few. What works in Vancouver may not work in the Bronx or Miami. A coach understands that his or her long-term goal is not to help a planter make decisions but rather to help him become a better decision maker. Relating Coaching is a relationship, and relationships take time. Coaching involves intentional, one-on-one conversations that require patience, listening, and asking questions. Coaching is more of a process than a conversation about a particular topic. A great coach is comfortable with an ongoing relational journey toward God’s purposes.

Review the Eight Qualities of a Great Coach

1. Serving– enjoys helping others win 2. Transforming– expresses confidence in God’s ability to transform 3. Listening– values and practices the gift of listening 4. Cheering– celebrates the wins, both large and small 5. Praying– embraces the Holy Spirit’s work in the life and ministry of a leader 6. Pressing– understands that the next step is the most important one 7. Understanding– believes there is no one-size-fits-all formula for success 8. Relating– engages a relationship with patience and persistence › What did you learn?Where are you the most ready?Where are you the least ready?

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