(This is part four of a series. You can read part one right here.)
Once you've developed a clear job description for your coaching team, carefully selected the right people and recruited them skillfully you're in position to help them get off to a great start in their coaching relationship. This is a very important step that makes or breaks many coaching strategies. Done well, you're off and running. Implemented poorly and you're toast before you begin. Here are some keys to beginning well:
- Remember that it's always easier to connect a new coach with a new group leader. Attempting to retrofit a new coach with an existing small group is only occasionally effective. Groups that have survived on their own (without a coach) rarely clamor for a coach. More often, they are resistant to the idea that it could be helpful.
- Great opportunities to connect a new coach with a new group leader are at new leader orientations or host orientations. Seating new leaders at a table with their coach, recognizing your coaches and highlighting the advantages of having a coach, then releasing the tables to get to know each other is a very effective first step. In fact, I've often set up first contact as the invitation (or reminder) phone call to attend the orientation. Let the new coach make the call. Here's the basic script: "Hi, this is __________ calling from __________. Just wanted to remind you about the new leaders orientation this Saturday at 9:00 a.m. Are you going to be able to make it? Great! Why don't you guys sit with me? I'm hosting a table at the orientation and would love to hear a little of your story." Important: Notice that they don't introduce themselves as a coach.
- With new leaders seated with their new coaches it's a slam dunk to recognize coaches as a real value add. "We're so excited about the new groups that are beginning in the next week or two. We really want you to get off to a great start. One of the things we've found makes a big difference is to connect each of you with someone who has done what you're about to do. We've spent the last few months recruiting a great team of experienced small group leaders who will be available every week to help you when you need any help. These guys and gals have led really effective groups, they've been through it, and you'll really benefit from their knowledge and experience. If you're on our coaching team would you raise your hand? Why don't you take the next few minutes at your table, just to get to know each other." If you build up your coaches in the eyes of your leaders it will make it much easier to get them connected. Important: Notice that you recognized and recommended your new coaches.
- Connecting existing leaders with a coach poses a greater challenge. I've found it much easier to focus on connecting brand new leaders with a coach and develop a strategy that assists existing leaders to connect with other leaders in a way that leads to a kind of mutual care.
Take advantage of Building an Effective Coaching Structure - 2019. It comes complete with 4 video sessions, job descriptions, and other handouts.