“Coaching does not work here.”
I’ve heard that line many, many times. Maybe you’ve said it yourself! Very often, though, there are some incorrect assumptions that undermine coaching success. See also, 5 Assumptions that Set Up Small Group Coaching to #FAIL.
There are also some real obstacles to building an effective coaching structure.
5 Obstacles to Building an Effective Coaching Structure
- Recruiting the wrong people. Coaching is an essential ingredient of small group ministry that can only happen when you have the right people on the team. You cannot build an effective coaching structure if you end up with anything less than high capacity people who are both fruitful and fulfilled in their role. See also, 6 Essential Characteristics of an Effective Small Group Coach and How to Recruit a Small Group Coach: My “Secret” Formula.
- Asking your coaches to do the wrong things. It’s not unusual for mall group coaches to be recruited to the role of an accountant or a hall monitor. Instead of mentoring group leaders, caring for them in a way that encourages leaders to follow Christ, coaches end up being asked to ensure that rosters are up to date and only approved curriculum is being chosen. If the job description you use for small group coaches describes anything less than “doing to and for your small group leaders whatever you want your leaders to do to and for their members” you have the wrong job description. See also, Life-Change at the Member-Level.
- Assigning coaches to the wrong leaders. It’s very common for small group pastors to decide to try coaching one more time and simply assign every small group leader to a coach. Doing this underestimates the power of one of the most important obstacles to understand. Experienced leaders who currently don’t have a coach know intuitively that they do not need a coach. They reason, “Obviously, I already know what I need to know. If I didn’t need a coach when I was beginning to lead a small group, why would I need one now?” This logic is nearly irrefutable. We have rarely painted an accurate picture of the role of a coach and it is difficult for leaders to see anything other than what they’ve always imagined. Better to assign coaches to new leaders and adopt another strategy for caring for experienced leaders. See also, How to Provide Coaching for Experienced Group Leaders.
- Insufficient investment in your coaches once recruited. If your pattern is to recruit coaches and then release them on their own recognizance to coach small group leaders you face an insurmountable obstacle. This obstacle can only be overcome by changing your pattern and beginning to invest time and energy in doing to and for your coaches whatever you want your coaches to do to and for the leaders they are coaching. See also, 7 Practices for Developing and Discipling Your Coaches.
- Failure to evaluate the performance and fit of your coaches. If your coaching structure has the feel of the Supreme Court (lifetime appointments), you will have great difficulty building an effective coaching structure. If you want to build an effective coaching structure, you must become wiser about who you recruit and how you recruit. You must also begin to evaluate the performance and fit of your coaches. See also, Diagnosis: The Coaches in Your System and How to Recruit a Small Group Coach: My “Secret” Formula.
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