What image comes to mind when you hear the word, “coach”? Does the image of a sports coach barking orders at his players, or a voice coach working with her music student, or a business coach who is working with executives, come to mind?
Why would pastors be trained as coaches? Gary Collins in Christian Coaching writes, “Coaching is the art and practice of guiding a person or group from where they are toward the greater competence and fulfilment that they desire.” Dale Stoll adds, “Mentoring is imparting to you what God has given me; coaching is drawing out of you what God has put in you.” Scott Gress, who was the presenter at the coaching clinics in the ABC District says, “Real coaching is helping people change without telling them what to do.”
How does a pastor help people achieve greater competence and fulfilment in what they are doing without telling them what to do? Admittedly, that is a difficult challenge for a pastor who is used to telling people what to do and having members who expect him to tell them what to do!
The pastors who participated in the coaching clinics learned and practiced:
*Input skills: listening, observing, and receiving insight from the client or group and
*Output skills: asking powerful questions, verbalizing observations and thoughts.
The input and output skills learned and practiced at the coaching clinic can be used by pastors in pastoral care and when working with committees and boards and when supporting the work of a colleague.
Two coaching clinics were held in the ABC District during the week of January 30- to February 4, 2012. The coaching clinic facilitator was Rev. Scott Gress who works for Transforming Churches Network and for the Florida-Georgia District of the LCMS. One coaching clinic was held at Foothills, Calgary and the other clinic was held at Walnut Grove, Langley.
The coaching clinics are the product of the ABC District’s Transforming for Missions (T4M) initiative. In addition to the T4M church worker learning communities and T4M congregational consultations, missional leadership development seminars, like the coaching clinic, are offered to develop the skills of pastors and other leaders. There are currently six pastors who are coaching pastors and their congregations as these congregations work through their T4M consultation prescriptions.
If you would like to learn more about the type of coaching that the pastors where taught, you can visit the Transforming for Missions (TCN) website where Rev. Scott Gress explains coaching in two short videos.