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Clarity through Coaching

Im slowly working my way through an excellent book on small group ministry titled The 7 Deadly Sins of Small Group Ministry by Bill Donahue and Russ Robinson. As I continue to get my feet wet in the small groups world, I am more and more thankful for the work of experienced men like Donahue who has a clear passion to see people discipled in life on life relationships. The first “sin” in the book, and the most deadly, is unclear communication. Basically, you will never get anything done if you don’t clearly communicate what it is you are trying to get done. This has been a wake-up call for me. Not because I never knew that, but because I tend to assume our group leaders understand everything about our vision for their small group because I said it once or twice in an email or at a training forum. The challenge for me is to communicate in a simple, clear fashion to our leaders and not go all over the map with ideas I have that sound good in my head. In an effort to clean out the gunk in the communication pipeline and focus our groups towards a united mission, we are introducing a coaching element to our small groups at the Summit Church. (I tackled more of the reasoning behind adopting a coaching strategy in the post Biggest objection to small groups and a solution in BETA )

A coach is simply a seasoned SummitLIFE group leader who is charged with supporting 2-3 other SummitLIFE group leaders. Practically, this looks like a phone call or a cup-o-joe twice a month and the occasional sit-in by the coach on the small group leader’s meeting. Not surprisingly, Donahue and his team created a set of expectations they place on the coach-leader relationship at their church which they published in Coaching Life-Changing small group leaders. I took our coaches through this list at our monthly meeting earlier this month.

What do leaders expect from coaches?

  1. Provide support and care
  2. Make a commitment to the person, not the position
  3. Create an environment of trust

What do coaches expect from leaders?

  1. Fulfill their responsibilities as a leader
  2. Maintain truthful communication
  3. Maintain a humble, teachable spirit

So there you have it SummitLIFE group leaders. I hope you are encouraged by this. This is not some sort of new or additional program, but an effort to create intentional relationships that lead towards gospel-centered growth in the life of the Summit Church. I have the privilege to meet monthly with these coaches and listen, they are some awesome people. And as a leader of a new small group, I greatly value their encouragement towards me while my group works its way through that awkward beginning phase.

One last word, if you don’t know who your coach is yet, let me know!

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