Preparing New Coaches

By Joel Comiskey, Spring 2020

I am often asked the questions, “how do I raise up new coaches?” “What do I look for in a coach?” I tell people that developing new coaches should not be a complex process, full of mystery and intrigue. Rather, it should be simple and straightforward. Here is a checklist that will help you develop new coaches: 


Character counts. I’m referring to a person’s walk with God and integrity before others. Is the potential coach walking with Jesus and seeking to live in holiness? I didn’t say “perfect holiness” because I don’t believe perfect holiness exists this side of heaven. How can you tell if a person is walking with God?  Often, you don’t need to look any farther than the marriage or close relationships. Is there harmony? Coaches should already be known in the church, since they will have already passed through the basic equipping and have led a cell group. But Paul also talks about a leader having a good reputation with those around him and especially those outside the faith (1 Timothy 3:7). 


The best coaches have already led and multiplied a cell. It’s hard to coach someone effectively in an area outside the person’s experience. For example, most football or basketball coaches at one time played the game. They didn’t have to be as good as Michael Jordan, but they should know the game and have a passion for it. Concerning multiplication, I counsel fruitful cell leaders to coach the daughter cell leaders who multiply from their cell groups (up to three cell leaders) while they continue to lead an open cell group. Multiplication leaders know their daughter cell leaders and have a special motivation to want to see them succeed. 


If a cell leader is not willing (or doesn’t have the time) to coach the daughter cell leader, then upper level leadership (pastor, elders, etc.) needs to appoint another coach to care for that leader. Even though I highly recommend that the mother cell leader coach the daughter cell leader (s), this isn’t always possible. The lead pastor and team need to make sure that all leaders are coached, and thus, they will need to find a coach to coach the new leader.


All coaches should go through the basic equipping. Usually this lasts from 4 months to one year. Mario Vega’s basic equipping takes six months while mine takes nine months. Of course, the basic equipping  can be accelerated if they are taught in a concentrated period, like a retreat setting. But what about advanced equipping? I have a book called coach, that is part of the advanced equipping. This is a eight week course that teaches a person how to coach. My book How to be a great cell group coach is also a great took to prepare people to coach others. 

We need more coaches! The sooner you can instill in future cell leaders the possibility (and blessing) of coaching others, the better prepared you will be for the future. Coaches are the glue that make the cell system work and we need to prioritize their essential role!