FAQ: What’s the Best Way to Connect a Leader with a Coach?

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conversationI do get a lot of questions and this is a very frequent question.  Usually this question is one of a rapid-fire list of questions about small group coaching.  See also, 20 Frequently Asked Questions about Small Group Coaching.

What’s the best way to connect a leader with a coach?

The Best Way to Connect a Leader with a Coach

Important Note: All of this assumes that you have done the hard work of recruiting the right men and women to serve as coaches.  See also, 6 Characteristics of an Effective Small Group Coach.

Here’s how I answer.

First of all, the best time to connect a leader with a coach is when the leader is brand new.  When a leader is brand new they almost always have a little anxiety, have a lot of questions, and are very open to the idea that they need help.  This stage only lasts for about three months.  In the first three months a new leader either figures out how to do the basic things that keep a new group alive…or the group often dies.

If the new leader makes it through the first three months without a coach it becomes much more difficult for them to believe they actually need a coach.  Most commonly, once a new leader develops confidence that they know how to do it, they know intuitively that whatever a coach might provide…they already know.  This is actually not true, but it is a belief that is very hard to shake.  See also, See also, Small Group Ministry Myth #5: Only New Small Group Leaders Need a Coach and The Big Misunderstanding the Dooms Most Small Group Coaching Structures.

Second, the best way to connect a new leader with a coach is in person.  It is absolutely a major advantage when the introduction is face to face.  Especially when someone the new leader respects (like the senior pastor or small group pastor) is able to provide an introduction, a face to face meeting is a game changer.  “Joe, I’d like you to meet Bob.  Bob is one of our coaches.  He’s led a great small group for a number of years and he knows a lot about small groups.  I’ve asked Bob to be a resource to you as your new group gets going.”

Third, the best way to connect a new leader with a coach is with the right first conversation.  Once the introduction happens, a short conversation between coach and new leader is essential.  This face to face opportunity allows them to begin to know something about each other.  The coach can share a little of their story with the leader, modeling an appropriate answer.  And then the coach can ask the leader to “tell me a little bit about yourself.”  They can swap contact info (it’s helpful if the coach has a card or an info sheet with their contact info preprinted).  The coach should have a notebook or add info directly into their cell phone.

Fourth, the best way to connect a new leader with a coach is with a prearranged check-in.  One of the things that should be arranged during the first conversation is how and when is the best time to talk again.  “I’d love to check back with you in a few days to see how things are going.  When is the best time to talk for a few minutes?”  Follow up should be in person (i.e., right after the 9:00 a.m. service) or on the phone (lunchtime, morning commute Thursday night after your kids are asleep, etc.).  The key is a prearranged conversation.

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

Image by Kathleen Tylor Conklin

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