God has been up to some amazing things with the leadership at Oasis Church in Maumelle. Under the Leadership of the Holy Spirit and Directional Pastor Todd West, they have decentralized their staff and planted four churches simultaneously with one more on the way very soon. One of the reasons for this church expansion is the quality of leaders that Oasis has assembled on their staff.
So, what’s the secret to finding and developing good leaders who would enable them to accomplish such a bold endeavor? Coaching. Todd has been the beneficiary of some great coaching down through his years in ministry and saw great value in building leaders in the same way.
What is it about coaching that makes it vital for everyone and what are some key elements for helping everyone become a coach?
Coaching is not just a one-on-one endeavor.
Coaching is not simply a life-on-life relationship for the purpose of moving someone through a key decision or process in ministry. Coaching is a dynamic relationship between a coach, the coached and the Holy Spirit. It should go without saying that the Holy Spirit needs to be involved in anything we do, but even more so in coaching. Coaching is the art of listening and asking good questions. It is vital to hear from the Lord as the coaching relationship progresses. If the Lord is not in it, then derailment is imminent.
Coaching is about asking good questions.
Coaching is all about asking good questions. In reality, coaching is about asking the right questions at the right moments. This is a skill, empowered by the Holy Spirit, that can be developed and honed. Todd was the beneficiary of such good coaching early on in his ministry that he sought out to develop the skills to be able to coach others like he’d been coached.
So, how do you get at the right questions? Todd says to always start with a “trigger” question: “What do you want to talk about today?” This question removes any assumptions on the coach’s part concerning what needs to be discussed. The person being coached drives the discussion and the coach facilitates with questions along the way.
If the one being coached needs help with a specific issue and is seeking advice on how to solve it, some great questions to ask would be
- What ideas have you thought of so far?
- What have other advice have you received from Godly people?
- What do you see in scripture that can shed light on your decision?
- In your quiet moments, what does God seem to be saying?
These questions will go a long way in helping the coached discover what God is already saying and what god has already put in them.
The purpose of coaching is to draw out rather than pour in. God is already at work in the person being coached. They may simply need a guide to help them discover what God is already doing within them.
Expertise is not required, but Training is.
One of the major assumptions about coaching is that a coach has to be an expert in the field in which he is coaching; this is not the case. Successfully coaching a church planter doesn’t require the coach to have successfully planted a church. Since coaching is all about asking the right questions and guiding a person to a decision, no prior expertise is required. While expertise is not required, training is.
There is an art to learning how to coach. The urge to give information rather than ask questions is a strong urge to fight. Every situation and context are different. What worked in one situation under one set of circumstances in one context may not translate to another. There are different personalities involved in each situation that have to be considered among other mitigating factors. The ability and leadership capacity of the planter being coached may be far less than that of the coach. If the planter doesn’t have the skill necessary to follow the advice it could be very damaging. Simply telling limits the possibilities of what could happen and what the Holy Spirit could be doing in the situation and in the life of the planter. Asking questions allows the Holy Spirit to do his work in the life of the planter and take them where they need to go.
Everyone needs a Coach, and Everyone is a Coach
Everyone needs regular coaching in life. This is all part of what scripture calls seeking wise counsel. The simple act of processing situations with someone else can go a long way to preventing unwise decisions and actions.
Not only does everyone need a coach, but everyone is a coach. The big question is whether the coaching is good or bad. Seek out some training in how to be a good coach. It will help in ministry, friendship, family dynamics, etc… Learning to coach and developing good coaching skills is a great way to see the Holy Spirit do some incredible work far beyond any great advice that might be given.
Seek out good coaching. Develop some skills to be a good coach. Take the journey and see what God might do.