Successful sports coaches come in all stripes and with wildly divergent personalities and philosophies. There are "old-school" tough guys like Vince Lombardi and Bear Bryant, "human volcanoes" like Bobby Knight and Mike Ditka, "gentleman teachers" like John Wooden and Dean Smith, "motivational gurus" like Phil Jackson, and "player favorites" like Duke's Mike Krzyzewski.
When it comes to successfully "coaching" small group leaders, it's important to remember that there is no one "right" way. (Though there are plenty of wrong ways! For example, it's probably not a good idea to heave a chair across the church foyer if your "players" aren't performing well … or get in a leader's face and scream at him or her!!)
We must take into account our own gifts, and our unique personality, ministry style and small group experiences, etc. as we offer encouragement and equipping to the shepherds under our care.
The acronym C-O-A-C-H serves as a good reminder of five essential functions of developing godly, well-rounded small group leaders:
A coach is one who …
Cultivates a personal passion for God and a contagious enthusiasm for His kingdom.
Oversees two to five small group leaders (as his/her primary church ministry).
Advances his/her church's small group vision/strategy (by regular communication & active implementation).
Consults weekly with those under his/her care—listening, advising, praying with, encouraging, training, trouble-shooting and supporting.
Helps current small group leaders identify and train the next generation of leaders.
In the same way that an athletic team probably won't win a championship without great coaching, our small group leaders are unlikely to succeed without consistent, overt and personal instruction ...