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Recruiting Coaches for Lay Coach Training

Oct 31st, 2009 | By | Category: Coaching and the Church, [None]
Could I be a Coach?

Could I be a Coach?

I’m not sure who to attribute this quote to – maybe I made it up – but it goes, “If things don’t start well, they don’t end well.”  How true that is when you are starting a coaching ministry in the local church.  It is so important to get off to a great start.  Programs come and go in the church all the time, and if you’re as passionate about training lay coaches as I am, you will want your first training to have a good reputation and a life-changing impact for the long-haul.  The best way to do that may be to carefully think through how to recruit your first class of potential coaches.
I recently had a good experience recruiting and training lay discipleship coaches in my own church, so here’s a first-hand summary of what seemed to work:
1.  I went directly to the pastor to talk about the potential ministry.  Without his permission and passion for this somewhat unorthodox, one to one ministry, we would have always been operating under the radar.  Fortunately, he was very open to the idea, but if he hadn’t been, it would not have been wise to proceed in a “bottom up” fashion.
2.  The pastor and I agreed to introduce the idea to the leadership staff in their weekly meeting.  I explained to the staff what coaching was and how it could be used for one on one discipleship relationships.  The pastor was ready with some questions and comments of his own to show that he was engaged in the subject and onboard with the idea of training coaches.  Now I was feeling really pumped.
3.  I met with the pastor and the educational minister to discuss recruitment of coaches.  Both of them felt that it would be better to hand-pick the first group of coach trainees to make sure we had the respect of other church leaders.  I agreed and provided them with a profile for an effective coach (things like: mature believer, loves people, good listener, loves asking rather than telling, excited about helping others reach their God-given potential, supportive, loves one on one conversation, safe and confidential, loves to learn, and open to personal coaching).  They then provided the names of high-potential trainees.
4.  I wrote a letter of invitation to the potential trainees asking them to come to an orientation meeting where we would preview the discipleship coach training.  The pastor signed off on it and then sent it to the prospects by email.  He then did something totally unexpected – he also called all 40 people on the list and emphasized his support for the ministry and told them that they had been handpicked for the opportunity by the church staff.  What a huge blessing that was!  I wouldn’t count on that happening every time I start a ministry.
5.  We then provided a two-hour orientation meeting and almost every person the staff had invited was there.  Not all of them had the availability to commit to the ministry, but think about it – 40 people got a good understanding that day of coaching and how it could be used in the church.  That will pay dividends in the years to come.
6.  For those who indicated an interest in the upcoming twenty-hour training course, we suggested they take an inexpensive assessment (see PLACE assessments at after the meeting so they would have a better idea if they were a good fit for the ministry based on their personality, spiritual gifts, strengths, experiences, and passions.  Each person was invited to have a phone conversation with me if they had concerns about their assessment.
7.  We had a goal of getting twelve solid persons in our first training class and that’s exactly what we got.  Ordinarily when a ministry is in the start-up phase, you could expect a few “misses” in terms of everyone being a good fit for ministry, but this group are all “keepers”. 
So, we were very pleased with the recruitment process described above.  If you have had a good experience recruiting lay coaches for training, we would love to hear about your experiences and your feedback on this article as well.
Russ Rainey, Ph.D.
Life & Leadership Coach
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One Response to “Recruiting Coaches for Lay Coach Training”

  1. CoachNicole says:

    Hi, Dr. Russ. I have submitted a proposal to deliver coach training to a ministerial training class at my old church. The original plan is to make the coach training available to all of the ministerial trainees. Do you think that the approach you describe in this article is more beneficial in terms of ‘delivering’ high-quality coaches to the church? Should we separate the coach training from the ministerial training to ensure that all coach trainees are a good fit?

    Any suggestions you have would be welcome.

    Thank you!
    Nicole Kirksey

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