FAQ: What Does a Coach Need to Know from a Small Group Leader?

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I get a lot of questions.  Most of them come to me via an email, but there are some that come in as a Facebook or Twitter message.

Here’s a question I got over the weekend:

@MarkCHowell What might a group leader’s #coach NEED or NOT NEED to know from the leader?

This is a good question and it is a frequent question that is often asked from a slightly different angle.  It has to do with the role of a coach and the coach’s relationship with the leader.  See also, 6 Essential Characteristics of an Effective Small Group Coach.

Here’s my answer:

Great question, but my answer takes a little set-up.

First, the role of the coach is primarily about caring for the small group leader.  Although there is often an initial need for coaching (i.e., “what’s the best way to lead a discussion?” or “how can I keep this one member from dominating?”), the role of the coach is mostly about caring for the small group leader.

What do I mean by caring for the small group leader?   Essentially I mean “doing to and for the leader” whatever I want the leader to “do to and for their members.”  I want the coach to:

  • know the leader
  • pray for the leader
  • mentor the leader
  • give them a sense of family
  • etc.

I want the coach to do to the leader and for the leader all of the things I want the leader to do to and for their group members.

Second, the role of the coach isn’t about supervision.  A coach isn’t a monitor or an accountant.  Group leaders don’t report to their coach.  Instead, the role of a coach is primarily about care and while “how many new members have you added?” may come up in conversation…it’s not the point of the conversation.

What might a coach need (or not need) to know from a small group leader?

A coach needs to know the leader.  A coach needs to know the leader’s family.  They need to know how the leader is doing spiritually, what their struggle are and how they’re growing.  See also, 8 Habits of a Life-Changing Small Group Leader.

A coach doesn’t need to know how many attended Thursday’s meeting or whether they’re signed up for the upcoming leader training meeting (these things will come up but they aren’t the point).

See also, What Is the Role of a Coach?

What do you think?  Have a question? Want to argue?  You can click here to jump into the conversation.

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