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Injecting the Church with Coaching? Part 5 – Train the Staff

Oct 13th, 2010 | By | Category: Coaching and Discipleship, Coaching and the Church

The staff had self-diagnosed the problem – too many congregants with issues. Our lead pastor had agreed that even he was at his wits’ end on how to handle other’s issues well. But they all had the same question, “Could this coaching thing really be helpful?”  Hence the next step of getting our staff initially trained in coaching was obvious, but the concern about who should train them became the next challenge.  Though they needed to develop a basic competence in coaching, I realized the first goal of training was still about getting their buy-in. One training session is not enough to gain coaching competence, but it is enough to determine its value in ministry. So picking the trainer who fit our context the best became of the utmost importance.

Back then (2007), while there were many coaches training in the field of life coaching, not many were involved with training in church ministry setting. Consequently, through my training at Western Seminary, I was connected with The Columbia Partnership, who provided several excellent trainers and materials that fit our church context. Over the course of the next year, we trained our paid and a few unpaid staff twice with the course entitled Coaching 101 and Coaching 201 – Discipleship and Evangelism.

Keys to success in these trainings were the following:

1. The trainers had worked in ministry settings as paid and unpaid staff

2. The 1 ½ day trainings were mandatory for all staff

3. The training consisted of ministry setting role plays and personal coaching sessions

In the end, as with all trainings, a third of the staff loved it and saw its next-day application.  The second  third liked it, but had questions and needed more practice. Meanwhile, the final third pushed back. However three years later, I look back on those initial trainings and view them as essential to integrating coaching into our church, for it was the catalytic spark the really gave fire to our current coaching methodology and ministry.

For those looking for staff training as soon as possible, the resources and trainers are much more available through the likes of Tony Stoltzfus , Russ Rainey and Chad Hall

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


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