Keep Coaching Simple

By Joel Comiskey

“But what coaching model should I use?” asked the bewildered pastor. He had heard of 5×5, G12, and G12.3, and yet he had no idea what was best for him. He didn’t know where to start and was ready to throw in the towel. I told him not to worry about the exact coaching structure. “First you have to raise up leaders to coach. When you have leaders to coach, the coaching structures will make sense to you. Right now, the most important thing is to concentrate on the content of coaching.”

We have a phrase in North America, “Don’t put the cart before horse.” The idea is that the horse carries the cart. The cart is the coaching structure and the horse is the coaching content (e.g., listening, encouraging, developing, etc.). Yes, the cart (coaching structure) is important but the horse (content) is critical.

Jim Egli, Ph.D., researched small-group churches around the world and discovered that coaching is the key element for long-term success. Egli did his research among 3000 small-group leaders in twenty countries and discovered that great small-group-based churches prioritized prayer, practiced proactive coaching, and established a culture of multiplication. Yet, when all three components were analyzed together, coaching was the key factor. The difference between groups that start and fizzle and those that make it over the long haul with a vibrant life of multiplication can be summed up in one word: coaching.

Even the best leaders and players need a coach. Michael Jordan needed a coach. Jordan’s coach spotted the opposing team’s strategy, defended Jordan against over-zealous referees or players, and knew what drills and skills Jordan needed to improve. A coach sees the big picture and can help the player reach his or her full potential.

Coaching is critical in making disciples who make disciples. For the month of February, we’ll be blogging about the biblical base for coaching, the content of coaching, pastor’s involvement in coaching, and coaching structures. Experienced pastors and leaders will write twenty blogs on this topic. on the topic of coaching. If you’d like to receive these blogs in your email inbox, please click here. We’ll cover:

  • February 02-08: biblical base for coaching. Leadership coaching is plentiful in Scripture Jethro/Moises, Elijah/Elisha, Barnabas/Paul, and Paul/Timothy.
  • February 09-15: principles of coaching. I’m referring to principles such as listening, caring, developing, strategizing, and challenging. In other words, the content of coaching.
  • February 16-22: involvement of the coach in cell ministry. This includes the coach leading a cell while rotating among cells as well.
  • February 23 to February 29: structure of coaching. How many cells should a coach care for? Does the cell leader care for the leaders who have multiplied from their cell?

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