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Developing Coaches in the Church by Brian Rhen

May 28th, 2009 | By | Category: Coaching Ministry Leaders - Guest Posts

staffmeetingIt was the last Saturday in April of this year (2009) and I was sitting in the warm sun on a side porch of a house in San Carlos, California when a phrase entered my mind, “Stop trying to control everything and just enjoy the ride.” It was day two of our 2nd annual marriage coaches training and I was in the middle of being coached by Karen and Kevin, one of our church’s six marriage coaching couples, about my role as a father and husband. Upon later reflection, I realized though this phrase of fresh awareness related to my coaching focus that this was the attitude I wish I had sustained while attempting to inject coaching into the DNA of our church over the last four years.

Truth be told, developing coaches within the church had been a long, challenging, yet worthy journey that I was really starting to enjoy. It has something to do with the fact that on that April day I experienced the fruit of nurturing the coaching soil in others over the course of this journey.

Karen and Kevin were some of our best coaches, in competence and heart. They weren’t ICF–certified and most likely never will be. However, they were two of the 100 folks trained through our church so far in a basic COACH 101 philosophy (Change desired, Options identified, Actions determined, Constraints acknowledged, Hope recapped) and understood the core coaching competencies of developing the relationship, active listening, powerful questions, creating awareness, direct communication, designing action and managing accountability. By day, Kevin works as Oracle software engineer and Karen is a Bible teacher at a local Christian high school. Besides being passionate about following God and raising up their twin teenage boys, they have huge hearts for maximizing marriages. Post their initial coach training they were released to work in their area of passion with couples married seven years or more who were seeking to enrich their marriages. Quarterly check-ins, the option to join our monthly coaching learning community and annual coaching trainings kept them sharp.

With all this said, why has it taken me so long to enjoy the journey? The reality is that shifting and bringing change within the church is an arduous and very deliberate task; plus, coaching is easily misunderstood and under-appreciated. Yet the church is in need of a better vehicle to help folks integrate the Kingdom information they hear each week and day, be it from God, friends or paid professionals. Moreover, until life coaching skills infiltrated the seminaries, most pastors and volunteers were never taught any skills of how to help someone personally discover how to get from their present situation to their desired future.

My journey as a pastor of almost fifteen years, and as a growing coach over the last four, is marked with frustrations, missteps and some early success in bringing coaching into the local church to help enhance the people development challenge we all face. Hence over the next 12 months, I would like to share how God graciously enabled us to develop and experience the early fruit of coaching as our paid and unpaid staff embraced this much needed skill.

Check in next month as we focus on how vital it is to sell the problem and expose the solution to fellow staff.

Brian Rhen is a pastor, coach and communicator of almost 15 years, who based on his experiences of dysfunction and death, loves to help others recycle suffering and discover God’s best pathway for their lives. Author of one unpublished manuscript “A Short Walk with Emma” and many other unfinished works.

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