I get questions. I get a LOT of questions. Sometimes they come directly to me via email or a comment here on the blog. Other times they come to me via a Facebook post or some other indirect route.
Here's one that is asked very frequently:
I'm trying to recruit some potential coaches but the best candidates are also some of my best small group leaders. Do they have to be one or the other? Can they be both a coach and a leader?
Great question! Don't you think? I bet you've asked it yourself!
Here's my answer:
First, the best coaching candidates are almost always existing small group leaders.
Since the best coaching candidates are almost always existing small group leaders, this is actually a fairly common situation. And it's a good thing, not a bad thing.
In the early days, weeks and months of a new coaching assignment, the main contribution of a coach is helping new leaders understand how to lead their groups. A new coach's primary contribution in the first few weeks and months of their assignment is about technique. For example:
- "I have this one guy that won't stop talking! How do I help everyone else get a word in?"
- "How can I help the least talkative folks get involved in the discussion?"
- "How can I help everyone participate when we pray together?"
A new coach's primary contribution in the first few weeks and months of their assignment is about technique. And who knows best how to do the things a new leader needs to know?
Second, a new small group coach can also continue to lead their own group but must meet TWO important conditions.
1. The role of a coach must be "the biggest hat they have on."
That is, you can do both (i.e., serve as a coach AND continue to lead your group), but whenever push comes to shove the responsibilities of a coach come first. The responsibilities of a coach become their primary responsibilities.
Example #1: If 15 minutes before the coach's small group meets one of the small group leaders in their huddle calls from the hospital where one of their members is in the ER...the coach must be able to help the small group leader (who is their primary responsibility).
Example #2: If a coaches huddle is planned for the same day and time as their own group meeting, the leader/coach must choose the activity of their primary responsibility.
2. They will need to recruit a co-leader for their own small group who can assume two important responsibilities:
- The co-leader will need to be able to lead the group when the leader/coach needs to miss the group meeting (see examples #1 and #2 above).
- The co-leader will need to pick up some or all of the care needs within the group. As the new coach's huddle (the leaders they are assigned) becomes full (ideal is a 1 to 5 ratio) their "span of care" capabilities will become stretched. See also, Span of Care and Take a Look at Your Coaching Structure Through 3 Lenses.
- Further Reading: