Raising and Multiplying Quality Coaches

How can you really make a sustainable difference in critical areas like discipleship, leadership development, church health, and ministry involvement? Coaching can function effectively as the core discipline for engaging high quality growth in those areas. Imagine the strength of having coaches available in every church so everyone is getting the help, connection, and resourcing they need – the local church leaders, the small group leaders and the new converts. Imagine the potential for growth.

What is coaching?

Coaching is the process of coming alongside a person or team to help them discover God’s agenda for their life and ministry, and then cooperating with the Holy Spirit to see that agenda become a reality. Coaches come alongside to help, just as Barnabas came alongside Paul, and then Paul came alongside Timothy and others. By encouraging and challenging others, coaches empower them for ministry. Barnabas may never have been in the starring role, but without him many others would not have been able to accomplish the great things for God that they did. Through his investment in people, his impact was exponential.

The goal of coaching is helping someone succeed. And what is success? It’s finding out what God wants you to do and doing it. Given that definition, success will certainly look different for different people, but it will all be tied into accomplishing God’s mission. Far from a top-down program designed to accomplish pre-conceived ends, coaching empowers each individual believer to listen to the Holy Spirit and act in accordance with the mission they sense God calling them toward. Coaching is essentially listening to the Spirit and taking action accordingly.

What makes coaching so powerful?

People are more fruitful when in coaching relationships. Consider some of the benefits and functions of coaching:

  • Provides encouragement for the journey
  • Cultivates wisdom and strategic insights
  • Discovers breakthrough opportunities
  • Maintains focus on the truly important
  • Transforms vision into reality

Consider some of the potential applications:

  • Discipleship of new Christians
  • Personal and ministry development for volunteers
  • Personal and ministry development for existing and emerging leaders
  • Encouraging senior leaders in cultivating church health
  • Encouraging potential Church Planters

What does coaching accomplish?

Quality coaching is about much more than individual skills – it’s about orchestrating those skills together to accomplish a process. Five R’s sum up the coaching process:

  • Relate: establish coaching relationship and agenda
  • Reflect: discover and explore key issues
  • Refocus: determine priorities and action steps
  • Resource: provide support and encouragement
  • Review: evaluate, celebrate, and revise plans

By taking someone through this coaching process, a coach can help that person accomplish their goals. Skills are needed to achieve that process, but must be used with this bigger picture in mind to achieve the desired ends.

How does a coaching system work?

Because coaches are so central to resourcing mission, you’ll need a lot of good quality coaches. You’ll need to know clearly what you’re trying to produce and you’ll need to engage in intentional coach development. To capitalise on the vast potential of coaching and sustain that effectiveness in the long term, raising and multiplying coaches needs to become a priority. Every leader needs a coach – and every leader needs to be coaching. Being proactive and intentional will allow you to increase your coaching capacity, allowing further growth and multiplication in all areas of ministry.

So the question becomes: How do you raise and multiply quality coaches? If you’re going to need a lot of coaches, certainly you don’t want to outsource coach training indefinitely – you want something you can use, reproduce and adapt within your ministry. The quality needs to remain high, while still being reproducible. What is the process for multiplying high quality coaches within your ministry?

1. Start by being trained yourself

If you are a Senior Pastor or Church Planter, spend time personally working with a coach and then become trained as a coach yourself. Spend the time to understand and become competent in coaching. This will give you the right platform to multiply coaching in your ministry.

2. Select the right people

Before multiplying anything, you’ll want to know that what you’re multiplying is of high quality. Carefully select those people you want to train as coaches – start with your best people. Begin with only a few candidates and invest in them. We recommend starting with no more than 12 coaches-in-training. Many leaders are tempted to short-circuit the coaching process by running as many candidates through the training process as possible. This results in spotty quality, which then undermines commitment to coaching. But in ministries that start small and go deep, the multiplication potential is huge.

3. Know what qualities you’re trying to produce

If we want to reproduce high quality coaches, you need to know first what a high quality coach looks like. We need a way to measure coach quality. Then we need a proven process that produces that kind of quality. In your training you will be introduced to the outcomes of an international qualitative research project that has been done in the area of coaching that has yielded nine core coach competencies. These competencies will help you to measure the quality of your coaches in an ongoing process.

4. Make the learning experiential

Once you know what we’re aiming for, how do we accomplish that? To make sure the coaches you train exemplify these qualities, the training process itself must be experiential and hands-on. Most coach training is not coach training at all – it is downloading of content. Placing people in a content-based seminar doesn’t result in transformation. That’s at best an orientation, but people don’t change their behaviour or improve their skills by sitting in a seminar.

The pattern that works best is to have coaches-in-training come to the seminar having already mastered the content by having read the material beforehand and having talked it through. If they come in with that piece already in place, the training time doesn’t need to be used to download the content. It can be used interactively to walk through how to apply coaching to their setting. People engage in coaching each other during the training, and gain helpful feedback and tips that are relevant to the skill areas they’re working on.

5. Coach people as they practice coaching

Good training also offers hands-on coach. The principle behind this is that you learn coaching best when you’ve experienced it. After the training event, the coach-in-training coaches two people while you as coach help walk them through that process. Together, they reflect on the coaching process while doing it.

Whatever you want to accomplish as a ministry, coaching is the central thread that helps you get there. The only limiting factor is the number of qualified coaches – potential for expansion is directly tied to coaching capacity. Fortunately, there are a number of potential coaches in your ministry already and those people when trained in coaching will find others that they are coaching who also have the potential of becoming coaches. In this way, the system is sustainable. When the pool of future coaches comes out of those who’ve been helped, that’s how a movement starts developing. If you need to increase the effectiveness of your ministry then make contact with us for further information. We run regular Coach Training events in Australia. You can contact us at or you can contact Gary Hourigan directly at [email protected] or 0412 110 087

By Colin Noyes

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