I’d another conversation yesterday with a church whose small group coaching system wasn’t working. Throughout the last few years I’ve gone to lots of churches who are getting down this road, or tried to decrease it and are starting over. The issues have grown to be so predictable that I couldn’t restrain myself from starting telling mode. “Let me guess,” I offered. “The coaches haven’t received any coach training, so they’re frustrated and don’t know how to proceed; and the tiny group leaders don’t want to be coached because they don’t want to be spied on.”
“Yeah, that’s more or less it.”
In my experience, they’re two of the biggest failure points for small group coaching systems. Generally what happens may be the church (or a leader in it) gets worked up about coaching and dives rapidly into instituting a coaching system. Often existing overseers or successful group leaders are just renamed “coaches” ;.There’s rarely a proper training program or coaching qualification required of coaches, and I’ve yet to find a church that screens people by any means for coaching aptitude. Generally, the ones chosen are available, faithful members who have successfully led a small group.
Once designated, these coaches are then assigned a number of leaders of existing small groups to work with. The coach’s first assignment is always to call them up and announce which they are in possession of a coach. As the roll-out of the coaching program has probably been talked about and promoted in the tiny group system, usually none of the group leaders have ever caused an instructor or even seen an instructor in action. So once they hear that a “coach” has been assigned for them, the questions begin:
Is this individual going to inform me how to operate my small group? I’ve been doing fine without that, many thanks!
Why did they assign me to this coach–I barely know her! Better check this out for some time before I share anything important.
Why are they putting these coaches over us at all? Do they believe I’m screwing up? Will my coach report back once again to the tiny groups pastor everything I say?
Because they’ve no real-life image of what coaching actually seems like, once they hear “coach” they tend to believe Counselor, or Mentor, or Supervisor, or even back once again to the senior high school football coach who used to berate them at every practice. No wonder they’re suspicious with this new coaching system!
If that is essentially what your church is performing, your system isn’t produce any benefit results than you had been getting when you tried coaching. Coachi find your life purpose ng has great promise for improving small group ministry, but without seriously investing in learning the coaching paradigm and the skills making it work, the same people who have the same skills are going to produce the same results no real matter what you call it. Your system needs some C.P.R.: Coach Training, Picturing Coaching and Resources for Coaches.
A good place to begin changing things for the greater is Coach Training. Coaching runs on the different expertise than mentoring, counseling or small group leading. For the leaders to coach effectively, they should find out the methods for helping people grow without telling them how to proceed: things such as how to generate SMART goals, develop options, ask powerful questions, keep responsibility with the best choice, generate committed action steps, and provide healthy, encouraging feedback and accountability. To coach effectively, your leaders need structured training and practice times to create competency in these skills.