Friendship: The Simple Secret of Coaching

The principle behind effective coaching is simple: be a friend.

"My coach never spends time with me," the hurting leader confessed. "He administrates me, directs me, and even continues to exemplify small group leadership. But what I really want is a friend. I want someone to take me out for coffee, to occasionally 'hang out with.'"

As a researcher, I've spent many hours trying to discover the principles behind effective coaching. I've searched for secret formulas and hidden mysteries. When I finally found what I consider the KEY, I was embarrassed by its simplicity.

I felt like the famous German theologian who boiled down all his years of research into one phrase: Jesus loves me this I know for the Bible tells me so.

Friendship. We often overlook this simple, yet powerful principle. I believe it's the key to successfully coaching small group leaders.

Jesus, the ultimate coach, revealed this simple KEY in the book of John when He said to His disciples, "I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master's business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you" (15:15).

Jesus, entered a friendship with twelve sinful human beings, whom He mentored for three years. He ate with them, slept with them and answered all their questions.

The gospel writer, Mark, describes the calling of the twelve this way, "He appointed twelve—designating them apostles—that they might be with him … " (Mark 3:14). Jesus prioritized "being with them" over a set of rules or techniques.

My Own Experience

I learned this the hard way. I coached seven small group leaders over a period of three years. They often came to my home for skill training, goal assessment and care.

When we gathered, I hooked up my computer to my TV, ...

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