The difference between Training and Coaching is that Training is with those who are not part of the game yet. Coaching is with the people who are already in the trenches and need sharpening. What better people to sharpen than your shepherding leaders?
Outside of my passion for the Kingdom is my involvement with coaching competitive youth soccer. I have spent much of my life having the joy of playing the game of soccer, and enjoyed getting to play through my college years. As I have gotten older, my body has decided that it is no longer willing or able to perform the way it used to. Though my body was finished with the game, my mind was not willing to give it up. Getting to coach kids is very similar to coaching leaders within a church context. Both are wanting to lead, both are in need of improving and sharpening the gifts that they bring to the team.
There are more similarities between coaching youth soccer and coaching shepherding leadership within the church than you might think. In both cases, you are developing individuals to become better and more focused. You are coaching your shepherding leadership toward putting the Values, Mission and Vision of your church into practice. You are equipping them to serve better, love better, be better. If your leaders are well-coached, they will be pouring into their flock to move people from non-believer to believer, to worker, and eventually into leadership.
Take a minute and read Mark 9:14-29. Looks at Jesus’ example as he coached his disciples on the importance of prayer . He explained prayer to them, but first he practiced and perfected it in his own life.
Whatever you coach your Leaders to become, you should also be practicing. And whatever they encourage the congregation to be become, they should already be in the habit of doing. Here are 4 principles to keep in mind as you deliberately coach your leaders to leader the church.
4 Principals of Coaching Your Leaders:
1. Major in principles rather than methods. Love. Obey. Pray. Serve. Teach the principles, but allow each leader to develop a personal skill set. It is amazing how God overlaps different people's talents to make one fully functioning body of believers.
2. Major in meeting the needs in people, rather than on developing and imparting techniques. Specifics on how to do ministry can shift with seasons and culture. Love is timeless. Hope has no expiration date. Care doesn't go sour.
3. Major in developing the thought processes, rather than the skills. Help your leadership keep the big picture in mind, even when urgent matters crop up. As God prepares the soil of your leaders' hearts, he will bear fruit in them and through them.
4. Major in how to trust God, rather than teaching theories on God. Does your leadership find strength in knowing about God or in knowing God? Do they function out of who and whose they are or how well they understand? Are they passing these truths along to the rest of the congregation?