One of the most frequent observations (nice word for ‘complaints’) is that coaching doesn’t work because existing group leaders almost always reject retroactively assigned coaches. If that’s an observation you’ve made…you’re not alone. If not a no-brainer, it is a fact of small group life. I often point out that it’s a form of survival of the fittest. If a group is still meeting beyond about 12 meetings, if they’ve made it this far without a coach, they won’t easily accept a coach after the fact. After all, if coaching was essential…they wouldn’t have made it this far! See the logic?
What is not intuitive to many group leaders is that while the optimum environment for life-change is a group, it is the life-on-life component that makes that true. I believe that whatever you want to happen at the member level needs to be experienced first in the life of the leader. I also believe that a healthy coaching structure is the most effective delivery system to accomplish that. So what do you do when you have existing groups but don’t yet have coaching? Here’s a three step approach:
- Commit to connecting new leaders to a coach. Start immediately building an effective coaching structure that will help new group leaders start off with a coach. I explain how to do it in my four part series right here.
- Begin building in a mutual care component to your small group leader meetings. Do it strategically. As your grouping your existing leaders, put the groups together in a way that makes sense at least for the next 12 to 18 months. Your groupings may be life-stage, geographic, or type of group. Give them a worksheet that includes a few questions (What’s working (in your group)?, What’s not working? What will you do next? How can we pray for you? If you do this a few times with the same groupings you will begin to notice that some of your leaders will become more than peers. They’ll begin to stand a little taller. This simple step can often lead to a natural coaching arrangement where the title follows much later (if at all). By the way, I got this idea from Brett Eastman and you can see my form right here.
- Add the Purpose Driven Life Health Assessment and Health Plan as part of the way your groups operate. Once you’ve added this component it will be easy to implement the idea that all of us need a shepherd? From there it is a short step to establish a more formal coaching arrangement among a few.
Have a question about coaching? Use the comments to ask it! Or you can check out my Top 10 Articles on Small Group Coaching right here.