What do you think of when you hear the word “coach?” I think of my 8th grade basketball coach who pushed us hard and yelled constantly. Being a pretty sheltered 13-year-old, he also introduced me to new and awkward “bad” words in the process.
My experience, as well as my images of a coach, are probably similar to yours. Coaches bring out the best in their players and help build winning teams, right? But when we talk about a “church planter coach” or a “leadership coach” the meaning goes well beyond those images.
Coaching is an intentional, ongoing relationship that helps people move forward to the place God wants them.
Help with the Voices
One of my favorite illustrations from the One Day Coaching Map helps with the “what” and the “why” of coaching. I draw a picture of a stick man representing a church planter and ask, “What kind of voices are speaking into a church planter’s life?”
Quickly the answers flow – “spouse, mentors, core team, church attenders, conferences, websites, books, denominational leaders, Holy Spirit.” Over time we conclude that all voices are not equal in value and some are can be negative. Another conclusion is, however, that an overwhelming number voices are already pouring into the church planter on a daily basis.
The Role of the Coach
The unique role of the coach is not to be another voice pouring into the planter (as important as some of those voices are). A coach comes alongside the church planter to “draw out” what is already being poured in. His most basic tools are listening well and asking questions.
A church planter coach fulfills his role on the team by providing a safe place for an often overwhelmed church planter. The purpose is to move forward in four mission critical areas:
- Get clarity from God
- Set priorities
- Take action
- Be accountable
Every Leader Needs a Coach
Teachers, mentors, counselors, and advisors are important people to help us forward in living out God’s unique assignment for His kingdom. But don’t leave out the coach — every leader needs one. Someone needs to play the role of intentionally and incrementally asking the questions that no one else might be asking like:
- What does God want?
- What’s next?
- What’s most important now?
- Who can help you?
- When are you going to start?
A great blog describing the history of the word “coach” with further definitions of coaching by Keith Webb can be found here. E-mail me at email@example.com to talk about how we might be able to work together to provide more church planter coaches from your area. Let’s continue the coaching conversation.
Published March 19, 2014