Looking for help building a coaching structure for your small group ministry? You need to take a look at Coaching Life-Changing Small Group Leaders by Bill Donahue and Greg Bowman. Game changing when it was originally released in the early 90s, the expanded and updated version is out and it is the complete package.
I really like the design of this new version. Interspersed with stories that illustrate the concepts, there are also frequent built-in opportunities for reflection. Very readable, it’s easy to imagine this book as a manual for every coach in your system. Making it even more training friendly, Equipping Life-Changing Leaders (a companion DVD resource) includes four segments that introduce the four content sections.
The content is divided into four sections:
- A Vision for Coaching: If you’ve ever worked at building a coaching structure before, you know that one of the major stumbling blocks is an inaccurate or incomplete understanding of the purpose of coaching. Coaching Life-Changing Small Group Leaders provides an in-depth look at the vision that will open your coaching candidates eyes to coaching’s full potential. You’ll find yourself referring to the ten qualities of highly effective coaches as you shape the values of your coaching system. In fact, the 360 degree review idea included at the end of the chapter might be worth the price of the book.
- Coaching’s Core Practices: At first glace, you might think that the three core practices (discover, develop, dream) are an oversimplification. Upon further review I think you’re going to find that executed correctly this simple framework is going to make a big difference in the way your coaching structure functions. The detailed explanation is very good and I found a number of practical ideas that I’ll be implementing in our own system.
- The Coach’s Toolbox: The simplicity of Coaching Life-Changing Leaders might be what I love the most. Thoroughly explaining how to use the three simple tools of coaching conversations, leadership gatherings, and group visits will make a very real difference for many small group ministries. The extensive collection of included examples is a great resource that will get a lot of use. Clearly long-time practitioners, Donahue and Bowman very effectively recount their own practices. You’re going to be looking at this section and using it again and again.
- The Coach’s Life: The shortest section, this might be the most important for many churches building small group ministries. The encouragement and guidelines to help small group coaches pursue Christlikeness and build sustainability form the foundation and the three essential personal spiritual practices provide a good review for most coaching candidates.
A simple but very helpful appendix includes some resources you’re going to end up using (I especially liked the “coaching hot potatoes” appendix).
If you’ve been struggling to build an effective coaching structure, you’ll want to pick up a copy of Coaching Life-Changing Small Group Leaders. It might even be the training manual you’ve been holding out for. I like this resource and I think you will too!