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September 2020

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Coaching: How Inviting Another Leader Into "Your Space" Is Healthy

More than a dozen years ago, I “happened” into a seminar at a conference I was attending. It was a pre-conference session scheduled to last eight hours over two days. I paid the extra money, so I was determined to find a seminar to attend. The first one I tried was standing room only, and I quickly decided I could not sit shoulder to shoulder for eight hours!

I decided to choose a different one.

I found an open door with more than ample seating and went in and settled down for the two-day teaching. Little did I know that session would have a huge impact on my ministry. I didn’t know the presenter. I had never heard of him. I didn’t even know the content of the material until he began.

Coaching. That was the topic. If you know me, you know that’s not in my wheelhouse. I’m not much of a sports fan and certainly not a coach. I quickly learned that “coaching” in this context was not what I was thinking. I was relieved. The word coach is derived from the stagecoach. A stagecoach was used to move passengers and packages from point A to point B. Coaching in Christian discipleship helps move people from where they are currently to where they need to be.

I believe every pastor and Christian leader needs a coach. A coach doesn’t give answers. In fact, their main job is to ask questions. By asking good questions, a coach can help someone think through a problem within the context of the situation.

Here are five good question asking techniques:

  1. Explore the problem. Talk it through.

  2. Consider the options you have.

  3. Determine necessary decisions. What decisions must be made to move forward?

  4. Set goals. Determine specific goals and how to be accountable for meeting those goals.

  5. Anticipate the outcome you can expect and actions to get there.

Asking and answering questions is a powerful tool in ministry. A coach asks questions about where we are and helps us figure out how to get to where we need to be. Questions force us to rethink where we are and think in new ways to reach new destinations.

In church revitalization, a coach is invaluable. If your church is stuck, then you will be stuck as a leader. Coaching may be just what you need. It isn’t complicated. Find a trusted person. Share your dilemma or the issue holding you back and encourage him or her to ask questions to get you thinking. For example, you aren’t seeing any new first-time guests come though the church door.

Talk it through. Possible discovery questions: What are you doing specifically to let the community know about your church? What does outreach look like in your church? If you are hosting events, what are you doing to move people from the fall festival in your church parking lot into the sanctuary on Sunday morning? After asking the initial exploration questions, look for options. Talk through those options until some decisions are made and so on.

Coaching is a powerful ministry tool. I hope you will consider finding a trusted friend to coach you through ministry from point A to point B.

About the Columnist: Dr. Brad Ransom is director of church planting and chief training officer for North American Ministries. Contact Brad:

©2020 ONE Magazine, National Association of Free Will Baptists