Coaching is not a term we often hear in church circles. We’re familiar with ‘mentoring’ and ‘discipleship’ – but ‘coaching’ is largely a foreign concept for New Zealand church leaders.
We think of sports-teams being coached, business owners being coached, actors being coached – but we never think of pastors being coached. However, over the past few years, we’ve discovered the impact coaching can have on pastors, elders and church leaders – which is why CCCNZ has quietly trained a range of coaches across New Zealand, who are investing in the lives of pastors and church leaders.
So – what exactly is coaching?
In short, coaching is a process of helping enable leaders to move from where they are to where God wants them to be. It’s not mentoring – pouring wisdom and advice into the leader. It’s not consulting – providing models and frameworks for change.
Instead, it’s a powerful relationship that seeks to discover what God has placed on the leader’s heart, and how the leader can best move towards this call.
Our monthly coaching engagements are times of asking questions, listening and praying – with the belief that a supportive and objective coach can help encourage growth and change in the leader’s life.
All of our coaching is grounded on the Scripture, “The purposes of a person's heart are deep waters, but one who has insight draws them out.” Our coaches help make sense of the purposes God has placed in your heart, and help draw them out so you can continue to grow.
So, if you’re a pastor or an elder, and are aware of your need for continuing growth – here’s five quick reasons you should consider finding a coach.
1. Coaching Gives You A Cheerleader.
Church leadership is hard work. Research from Lifeway in 2015 revealed 80% of pastors anticipate conflict within their church, 84% are on-call 24 hours a day, and 54% said they’re frequently over-whelmed by their role.
In the midst of this challenging role, it can be helpful to have an outside voice to both help you grow into the challenge – and cheer you on in the midst of it.
Several of our leaders who are being coached have mentioned the benefit of a supportive coach, who regularly encourages and champions their growth. Their celebration of successes, encouragements with Scripture and prayer, and outside-of-the-church smiles can be a refreshing breath, and a helpful addition to your team.
Coaches are super star encouragers, who will help point out the successes that God has brought you into, and shed light on how far you’ve come in your journey. Our coaches are also experts at hearing when your heart may be heavy, and providing an encouraging word in season to remind you that you are not alone!
2. Coaching Motivates Your Growth
Coaching isn’t just about encouragement! Every leader who requests a coach does so because they recognise there’s more growth required. They have a quiet sense that there’s a gap between where they currently are and where God wants them to be. And they are challenged to respond to this.
The primary role of a CCCNZ coach is to support the growth in your own life. They will help you to find clarity in what your calling for this season is, and will help you recognise what growth is required for the leadership challenges ahead.
This may be spiritual growth – but it may also be growth around how you communicate, lead out of your marriage and family, how to budget effectively, or how to grow a team. Regardless of the challenge – our coaches help you to focus on what’s needed for the future – and motivate you to take steps towards achieving this.
Our leaders have grown in preaching skills, study ability, self-management, approaches to discipleship, understanding their identity in Christ, managing leadership meetings – and a whole lot more!
This leadership growth is built into coaching, because of our focus on accountability…
3. Coaching Provides Accountability
Coaching lives and dies on accountability. Our coaches help you determine what it is you need to do, encourage you to chose what action you are going to do – and then follow up to see if you’ve done it.
Research from the American Society of Training and Development has suggested that you have a 65% chance of completing a goal if you commit to doing it, with someone. That jumps to 95% if you have an accountability appointment arranged – to follow up on the actions discussed.
This accountability is often a highlight of the coaching session, as leaders share their successes, learnings and the surprises that have happened as they’ve set about fulfilling their goals. They are often delighted at how much faster – or easier! – a task was they have been putting off – and are motivated for more growth.
Our CCCNZ coaches think this kind of accountability is a good thing! There’s no moralising, legalism or eyebrow-raising here – just a trusted advisor providing an ear and an encouragement to see how you’re going in your growth.
4. Coaching Offers Options
One of the things our coached leaders appreciate most about coaching is a simple fact. Our coaches listen.
The best coaching session is one where the coaches ask powerful questions, and then listen deeply to the leader’s responses. Our aim is to be listening for 90% of the session – with the leader being the one discovering, sharing and growing.
But – we don’t stay totally silent! Our coaches have a wide range of experience and connections, which prove invaluable for our leaders. They can provide a few suggestions for considering of ways of meeting the growth required – that perhaps you hadn’t considered.
When our leaders are feeling road-blocked or stuck-in-a-rut, a fresh set of eyes, ears, and a range of new options can be just what is required to motivate new change and energy for the sake of the gospel.
Whether recommending a book, a technique, a person to contact or a more prayerful approach – our coaches are fantastic at knowing when to speak in with suggestions, and offer options to motivate your growth.
5. Coaching Focuses on Christ
At the heart of our coaching is a core conviction: the more we come to seek to know Christ and soak ourselves in the gospel, the more our leadership and lives will become what God desires. Our coaching is prayerful and seeks to point our leaders to Christ, through the Scriptures, so that we may continually recognise how our needs can be met through Him.
We believe God calls us to roles and places, and desires us to grow into these roles – but He doesn’t leave us alone to do this! Through the work of His Spirit, and the long obedience in following Christ, a powerful transformation of our heart and life can take place.
As coaches, we don’t want to interrupt this work – but to encourage it! Our coaches continually point to what God is doing in our leader’s lives, pause to pray throughout a session, and seek to encourage the leader to keep knowing Christ deeper and deeper – as that is where our life, joy and purpose is found.
We really believe that all leaders – whether in formal or informal roles – can benefit from regular coaching. If you’d like to explore this further, please contact the CCCNZ Coaching Co-ordinator, Jeremy Suisted, at firstname.lastname@example.org