Control vs Care: Coaching Small Group Leaders

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Had lunch yesterday with a potential coaching candidate.  We had a great conversation as we talked about the coaching concept, his background at a well known church in the area, and some important mutual respect for some of the early leaders in the small group movement.  It was very fun interacting with such an enthusiastic advocate for groups.

And then as I described the unique aspects to the environment at Parkview, the kind of people we attract, their level of biblical literacy, their background, etc., he made a comment that triggered an alarm in my brain.

The comment?  “Span of control.”  He said something like, “How will you not have a lot of wackiness in your groups if there isn’t the safety net of a healthy span of control?”

Now, I’ve been doing this a while…so I think my well-developed sniffer kicked in without him being any the wiser.  But believe me, I was listening for any further indication that the idea of control was part of his M.O.

Why?  What triggered the alarm?  Well, you need to know that I use the phrase span of care all the time.  It’s a great term and reflects my belief that “everyone needs to be cared for by someone but nobody can care for more than (about) ten people.”  A classic Carl George line that is right at the heart of my coaching philosophy that whatever you want to happen in the life of the member has to happen first in the life of the leader.

But it’s not about control.  It’s about care.  You’re not going to build healthy leaders by controlling them.  Health is a function of balance and you’re only going to help someone move toward balance as a result of care…not control.  Building an effective coaching structure is all about care, not control.

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