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Developing Coaches in the Church: Part 2 by Brian Rhen

Jul 7th, 2009 | By | Category: Coaching Ministry Leaders - Guest Posts

Naming the Problem

Naming the Problem

In the Spring of 2007, I asked for “Coaching” to be put on the agenda a week prior to our next senior pastoral staff meeting. Then I got really scared. My colleagues on the senior staff knew I was into this “new coaching thing,” but it was still just my thing that I had been getting trained on and theorizing about a lot. I was fearful that they would not take me seriously and compare it to the worship guy’s “new thing” of saving the world through blogging. In reality, I wanted them to understand that coaching was the key skill that every paid and unpaid staff on our team needed in order to properly support the development/discipleship of those they were in relationship with, be it in a formal or informal setting.

Our organization was so ripe for this new skill, based on the leadership of our church (50 years old, including preschool, afterschool care) and community center (swim, tennis, fitness—80% unchurched) shifting to a people development approach versus our standard program approach. However, I was not convinced that even with this new shift in mindset they would personally buy into the fact that they needed to master coaching skills along with the rest of our staff.

Fast forward two days later, as I sat in a coaching session. As I was being coached on the next steps to bring coaching to our organization (14 coaching sessions in all, which I will detail in part 4), what popped into my mind was a simple phrase, “expose the problem and solution to key staff.” This became a solvent for my fears. I believe my coach, Kathy Sandquist (New Day Ventures), actually said the phrase during our brainstorming session, but I grabbed onto it and believed it was the right approach, knowing that the Holy Spirit would have to do the rest.

Over the next few days, I gathered a key article, “Pastor as Coach” by Linda Miller, MA, MCC and detailed the following rationale regarding the problems and solutions. The problems:

1. The majority of our people are not integrating the kingdom information we are dispensing in our programs and sermons
2. Our staff (paid and unpaid) is emotionally burdened in solving people’s problems, based on not being trained in how to develop people
3. Our people are lacking ownership of their issues and an understanding that the Holy Spirit holds the answers within them

The solutions:
1. Add a coaching layer to our people development process that supports integration, personal ownership and self discovery
2. Train staff (paid and unpaid) in coaching and hold them accountable to using and enhancing their coaching skills
3. Develop a coaching culture, both formally and informally

The following Monday, a miracle happened at the senior staff meeting—unity about coaching. We opened with reading the article and every one of them related to it. Next, I conveyed the problem and the heads continued to nod. Finally, I laid out the solutions and how they related to the greater shift we were making from programming to people development (The Present Future by Reggie McNeal) and I was given the green light.

Next month: Part 3 – Convincing the Big Kahuna : how to get Lead Pastor buy-in

Brian Rhen has been a pastor, coach and communicator for almost 15 years at Peninsula Covenant Church located in the San Francisco Bay Area. Based on his experiences with dysfunction and death, he loves to help others recycle suffering and discover God’s best pathway for their lives.

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