Imagine If Your Coaching Structure Was Like This

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In yesterday’s post I described what I think are some key aspects of the end in mind when you’re developing a coaching structure.  Today I want to help you imagine your coaching structure as a finished–but steadily developing–product.  Sounds like a contradiction in terms, I know, but I just follow me for a moment.

I want you to imagine that in your congregation with an average worship attendance of 325 adults you’ve got 28 groups.  You want to add more groups this year, because you know that your Easter adult attendance of 475 adults means that you’ve got a lot of people who don’t come every week.  And you want to get as many of them in a group as you can.

I also want you to imagine that in addition to your 28 small groups you’ve got a coaching structure that’s coming along.  In fact, over the last two years you’ve built a team of 5 coaches and they’re all doing great.  They really are focused on encouraging and caring for their leaders in a way that helps the leaders experience first what you want happening at the member level in your groups.

Don’t forget that before you even got started on your two year effort to build this coaching team you had to do a few things first.  You had to develop and implement a coaching job description and then meet individually to talk through responsibilities and expectations with the 4 coaches you inherited.  See also, Diagnosis: The Coaches in Your System.

If you remember, you were a little squeamish about it at the time.  It was more than a little uncomfortable setting up the 4 meetings.  But you worked through those conversations and then over a 6 month period helped 3 of the 4 realize that they were a better fit for a different role.  In fact, 2 of the 3 that you helped reposition are now really excited about their new ministry opportunity.  One’s not your friend anymore…at least right now…but that’s the life of a small group champion.  See also, Recruiting Coaches: When Not to Compromise.

So you actually had to recruit and test-drive 8 coaching candidates in order to end up with the 5 that are doing great.  But…you were smart.  When you recruited potential coaches you invited them help you with an upcoming church-wide campaign and assured them that it was a 10 to 13 week commitment.  You gave them the launch-phase job description and evaluated their effectiveness during the campaign.  When the campaign was over you met individually with each of your launch-phase coaches, expressed appreciation for their efforts and commended the ones that had worked hard and done well.  Then, you asked them the key questions:

  • What did it feel like to know that 2 of their 3 campaign groups had decided to continue?
  • Did you enjoy working with these new leaders?
  • Is this a role in which you’d like to continue?

If they said yes, you got really excited, and began going over the responsibilities and expectation for an ongoing coach.  If they said no, you thanked them for helping and that was that.

And then there a few (3 of the 8 you recruited) that really didn’t do what they were supposed to during the campaign.  They came to the training.  They came to the new leader orientation.  But they really didn’t make their phone calls or follow up with their new leaders.  So…when you had their exit interview, you thanked them for helping with the campaign but didn’t offer them a chance to continue.  And they really didn’t care, because it wasn’t a good fit for them anyway.

And now, here you are!  You’ve got 5 coaches that are doing a good job.  But you’re hoping to add another 8 groups at the upcoming small group connection.  And you know you’re going to need at least a couple new coaches.  So what do you do now?  That’s the subject of the next post in this series.  We’ll cover that aspect next.  If you’re not signed up to get my updates, you can do that right here.

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  1. Larry Baxter on May 8, 2012 at 1:28 pm

    Can’t believe I missed seeing this one earlier! Wow, it’s like you visited my church and got in my head all in one post. 🙂 We’ll be making plans soon for doing a church-wide campaign this Fall. No details or topic/them yet, but this gives me a lot of ideas and encouragement for how to really jump start our small groups ministry (and virtually non-existent coaching structure). Thanks much!!

  2. Anonymous on May 8, 2012 at 4:17 pm

    Glad you found this one helpful! I’m closing in on 900 articles here at I repost because so many readers are joining “in progress” and missed everything that came previously.


  3. Andrew Mason on February 18, 2013 at 6:53 pm

    I am in the process of building our Small Group Coaching ministry. My church has never had a Small Group coaching ministry (been on staff for 18 months). I have 8 guys and 1 lady I’ve identified as coaches and I’m working with. I really believe it’s the key for us going from 35 groups to over 50 groups. Thanks for the article!

  4. markchowell on February 18, 2013 at 9:46 pm

    Thanks for jumping in here Anthony! God bless your work as you build an effective coaching structure!