Can Coaching Work?


I get a lot of questions from other small group pastors about coaching. An effective coaching system is the most frustrating and most rewarding element to get started at a church. A lot of churches have given up on coaching, and it’s hard to blame them. It doesn’t always work well for us, but here are few ideas that I think can help coaching last:

  1. Don’t expect every leader to have a coach. I think that’s where we get bogged down the most. Not every leader needs a coach during every season. New leaders need them the most, and seasoned leaders need them occasionally. It looks great on paper to have every 4-5 leaders paired up with a coach, but that doesn’t always pan out in reality.
  2. Have a job description for coaches. This is also true for any volunteer role at a church. The first question that most newly tapped volunteers have is, “What is this going to require of me?”. People are already busy and they need to know upfront what the expectations are. Have a detailed job description written out with the weekly/monthly time requirements for their role.
  3. Ask the right people to be coaches. I outlined the characteristics of a great coach in this post. It is tempting to just go after the most successful group leaders to be coaches, but they are not always the right fit. It will be frustrating for them and you very quickly.
  4. Constantly recruit new coaches. If you are relying on the same set of people every semester, your coaches are going to get burned out. Even with “as needed coaching”, it’s still a time commitment and sometimes emotionally draining. Even your best coaches will need to take a breather every once in awhile.
  5. Allow your coaches to not lead a group. I don’t think every coach has to be leading a group at the same time. This could free them up to focus on the leaders in their care.

About Chris Surratt

Chris Surratt is a ministry consultant and coach with over twenty-three years of experience serving the local church. Chris served on the Executive Teams at Cross Point Church in Nashville, Tennessee, and Seacoast Church in Charleston, South Carolina. He is also the Discipleship and Small Group Specialist for LifeWay Christian Resources. Chris's first book, Small Groups For The Rest Of Us: How to Design Your Small Groups System to Reach the Fringes, was just released by Thomas Nelson.

Posted on February 12, 2013, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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