The Fine Art of Coaching Small-Group Leaders

There are at least three critical tasks good coaches master.

Coaching appears to be the "next big thing" when it comes to church leadership. It seems almost everyone either (1) wants to be a coach, or (2) wants to be coached. The fact is, everyone needs a coach, but a great teacher does not necessarily make a good coach. Indeed, being a great practitioner of a skill does not automatically mean someone is going to be a good coach. A good coach can be difficult to find, even in a large pool of talented leaders. Coaching is both a skill and an art. It takes discernment, observation, and a knack for asking the right question at the right moment.

However, there appears to be some confusion about what coaches actually do. Many "coaches" in the church are convinced their role is to teach their team members the newest techniques, methods, or even doctrines. However, coaching is not about transplanting knowledge from one brain to another. For instance, it would be pretty presumptuous for anyone to try and teach Michael Jordan much about basketball, even another professional ball player, and yet throughout his illustrious career, Jordan needed (and received) coaching. Coaching is the art of bringing out the best in someone—their very best.

The good news is that the skills to become a good coach are teachable. The bad news is that it is work and it is not an easy study. If you can learn to ask good questions, learn to listen, and learn to withstand silence, you can coach your small group leaders effectively.


Before you can coach, you have to have a coachable player. That may seem obvious, but many leaders are not actually in the "game." They are either in the stands watching or on the sidelines waiting. Many coaches fail because they ...

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