Coaching as Servanthood

Cell Coaching

Fall 2007

by Joel Comiskey

I’ve watched some coaches over the years set themselves up as authority figures. They arrived at the place of commanding their leaders what do to. They fell into the “you must submit to me” mentality. Such aberrant behavior places leaders under bondage rather than liberating them to serve. Coaching focuses on the latter.

How do you know if you’ve been effective as a coach? The only way I know is to practice coaching and then evaluate whether or not you’re meeting the needs of the leader. My advice is to step out and coach and then get feedback from those who you are coaching. Is the leader satisfied with your coaching? If so, green light. You’re on the right path. However, if months later, the leader is not getting his or her needs met, you might need to do some radical adjustments. How will you know? By asking the leader and getting feedback. Those who you are coaching are your best resources to determine if you’re meeting needs or not. Through their feedback, you can began to shape your own coaching style.

I ask all the leaders I coach to give me an oral evaluation. In fact, I start out the coaching process by telling them that I’ll be asking them to evaluate my coaching. I find that all advice is helpful and makes me a better coach—even when they say things I didn’t necessarily want to hear. I want to know if I’m on the right path, so asking for advice is preferred to the silent, uncomfortable knowledge that something is wrong.

The difference between a good coach and a great coach is a listening, learning spirit and willingness to improve. Better coaches have learned from their experience and made mid-course corrections to better meet their target audience.

More information: My new book Coach discusses many of these issues and will be part of the Advanced Training series that will train cell leaders to coach new leaders.