How to Build an Effective Coaching Structure, Part Three

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Building an effective coaching structure is a huge challenge.  In fact, it's so tough that you'll hear many small group pastors from around the country admit that they've given up on the idea.  Oh, there are plenty that are still chipping away at making it work.  But it's no picnic.  If it was, you probably wouldn't be reading this article!  I believe it is very doable, so I'm glad you're along for the journey.

Have a Clue When You Recruit "Who."

So far in our series about building an effective coaching structure we've talked about First What, Then Who (the principle of defining the role first) and Opening Your Eyes to What Doesn't Work (getting real about what's not working).  Once you're clear about what you want a coach to do and your eyes are open to anything less you're ready to think about how to recruit the right people for your team.  And let's just say that how your recruit the right people is very important.  It sets the tone.  It gets their full attention.  And it establishes a much better trial run.  Ready to hear more?  Here goes.


How to Recruit Coaches

So you've put together your simple job description, complete with a very clear statement identifying what a win will be.  Good job!  Way to start...but it's only the beginning.  Hopefully you've also identified the best possible candidates.   Rather than succumbing to the temptation of accepting 30 or 60 fold players, you've targeted a group of real killers.  In fact, some of them will be a challenge to get they're so busy already.  That's also good.  You're on the right track.  Now it is time to recruit.  Here's what needs to happen.

  1. Create a "toe-in-the-water" way that a person can try on the role.  I like the idea of a 10 to 13 week commitment.  What you're looking for in the beginning is a period of time that you get to see whether they're fruitful and fulfilled in doing the job. Ideally, you're creating a situation that needs their help for 10 to 13 weeks without any further commitment on their part.  If they're performing well, you'll invite them stay in the role.  If they're a
    bomb for whatever reason, you'll have the freedom to thank them for helping without offering them a continuing role.  You'll need diplomacy...but that's a better problem to have than the one where you've invited them to a role that has no ending date.
  2. Schedule a time when you can talk one-on-one with each candidate.  It's not, "I just need 2 minutes of your time!"  Instead, it's, "I'd like to talk with you about a very important part of our small group strategy.  Could we meet for coffee and talk about it?  I'd need 45 minutes to an hour."  See how that feels?  Not rushed.  Not minimizing the importance.
  3. Bring the "toe-in-the-water" job description to the meeting and go over what you need them to do.  Clarify what a win will be.
  4. Let them know why you've identified them as a candidate for the role.  This should be easy for you to do.  If you're genuinely focusing on hot and qualified hundred-fold leaders you should have no problem letting them know how they ended up on this list (By the way, it is a HUGE red flag if you can't genuinely let them know what you think about their heart, their gifts, and their potential).
  5. Don't minimize the role.  Be prepared to cast a vision for the actual role you envision.  If it calls for 2 to 5 hours a week, let them know that the expectation is 2 to 5 hours a week.
  6. Don't be afraid to ask for their full commitment.  If you need all of their available bandwidth, now is the time to ask them to step aside (temporarily) from any other commitment that might get in the way.
  7. Be very careful not to talk about a longer-term role.  Focus on the 10 to 13 weeks.  "We want to sustain 70% of the new groups we're about to launch.  We want the new leaders to feel supported and encouraged.  If you could help us by helping them feel supported, resourced, and encouraged, I just know it will make a huge difference."
  8. Let them know that they can expect detailed training and steady encouragement.
  9. Let them know that you will be talking with them regularly during the 10 to 13 weeks and will scheduling regular debriefing opportunities along the way.
  10. Ask for a commitment.  You may want to give them 48 hours to pray and consider the commitment.  You may want to give them a week.  The key is to ask for a commitment and expect a commitment within a reasonable amount of time.

So you've developed a clear job description for your coaching team.  You've carefully selected the right people and even recruited them skillfully.  Now the question is, "How to help the new coach make first contact in a way that raises the probability of getting off on the right foot?"  And that's the subject of part four of our series.


Need help?

Take advantage of Building an Effective Coaching Structure - 2019.  It comes complete with 4 video sessions, job descriptions, and other handouts.

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