So far, I’ve focused on the importance of the:
- Spiritual: Discern the will of the Father, helping those you coach to do the same
- Relational: Value the other person
- Personal: Embrace your unique contribution
- Interpersonal: You can’t want something for someone else more than they want it for themselves
- Inspirational: Help people tap into their creativity
This week I shift focus to the strategic aspect of coaching.
Lesson #6 – Challenge for Clarity
There is a wonderful dynamic when a leader or team moves from:
- confusion and perhaps discouragement to agreement on an issue
- a rough idea to a vision
- good intentions to action
In coaching, the moment when shifts occur, the leader moves to greater clarity.
Let’s talk about a real situation. I was coaching a team to help them navigate their vision. One of the big components of their vision was church planting. As I facilitated the visioning process with them God was doing something that forced them to clarify – He was preparing a team to plant a church in another part of the country.
As we met it became more and more obvious. Rather than talking about some day planting a church; this team began asking an entirely different set of questions:
- Who will be going?
- What commitments will we (the parent church) ask of the team planting the new church?
- How will we communicate with the rest of the church body?
- What resources will we provide?
- How will we relate to the new church?
In this situation, the team realized that God was already at work, and the leader(s) needed to cooperate. They had a choice: would they support the work He was doing, or would they resist?
The more leaders are willing to put themselves in a posture of responding, to what the Lord wants from them, the more He asks of the leader(s) – according to their level of obedience.
Coaches can be immensely helpful. When leaders struggle to clearly see what God is doing, a coach can help clarify where they need to focus. As leaders clarify, they must be challenged to take action. Here are five tips a coach can implement to assist leaders to maintain an open posture to the Lord:
- Celebrate the “wins” (ways God is at work)
- Pray to thank God for His goodness
- Clarify current reality
- Brainstorm actions
- Challenge to take the next step
One resource I’ve found extremely helpful in clarifying vision for church planters and pastors is the vision frame. This is a great resource that defines the key components of vision. Check out Will Mancini’s book, Church Unique, for more information.
The conversation goes something like this.
Coach asks: “Who is doing effective ministry in your area?”
- Leader responds: “Everyone is struggling with the same issues.”
Coach asks: “What other models of church are you familiar with in your region or in other parts of the country?”
- Leader: “I’m not aware of other models.”
Coach asks: “Who do you know that could introduce you to a different way of doing church?”
- Leader: “I don’t know anyone.”
Coach asks: “Would you be open to learning about one leader who has an effective model?”
And the conversation continues. I use that question as a last resort so that I don’t short-change the self-discovery process. The guiding principle I follow when I provide feedback is:
- The leader must exhaust all their resources.
- There is the possibility the leader could do some real damage.
- Permission has been given by the leader to the coach.
Honestly, the temptation to give advice is always present. But I know deep down that “struggle” is the best teacher!
What do you do when you come to that juncture in your coaching? Under what circumstances do you give advice? I would love to hear what you do.
If you are interested to hear about a different approach to doing church, watch this 17 minute video with Dave Ferguson interviewing Ralph Moore. Ralph discusses some of the tensions accompanying church planting as a movement leader. Learn how a church committed to reproducing disciples, leaders and churches keeps the main thing, the MAIN thing!.
I have used self-assessments, 180’s (self + colleagues) & 360’s (self + colleagues + supervisor) for many years now. It is exciting to receive the data and process this information with leaders. Sometimes the data affirms, other times it challenges and in some situations, the information can be surprising.
Awareness is the first step to change!
Let me explain. A number of years ago I was assessing a leader’s management style to determine if he had the skill-set to take more responsibility in supervising key staff. He was an excellent speaker in a large, growing church. But was unaware that his management style was driving people away. In conversation with members of his team, they were open with their feelings which were confirmed by the data. When I administered the assessment the leader was confident his scores would reveal his expertise in empowering his team; unfortunately, it exposed glaring weaknesses in his ability to manage those around him. In fact, that assessment, along with anecdotal evidence, thoroughly convinced his boss that he was not the man for the job and eventually, led to his resignation.
This was NOT the intended purpose of the exercise, but it illustrates the power of a 360. Data does not lie – it simply is! Here are a couple of questions to determine if an instrument, like the Management Effectiveness Profile (scroll down the page to Management) could be a helpful exercise for you and those you coach..
- Have you assessed your management style?
- Have you helped those you coach, assess their management style?
- How could the Management Effectiveness Profile help people in your team or organization understand their strengths and weaknesses?
What about you?
It is easy to measure the low lying fruit. For instance, church leadership will measure things like worship attendance, offerings, and baptisms. But what if you looked below the surface. At my home church an important metric we track is the percentage of adults who regularly participate in a small group. Annual engagement in 2016 was 94% (click Crosspoint Church for report). The church launched over a decade ago with the goal of focusing resources (time, energy, people) to do a few things well; which has paid off at Crosspoint – a church of small groups vs. a church with small groups!
Consider the following challenge:
- Reflect on the measures below the surface that will have the greatest impact on the health and growth of your:
- Then tie those to outcomes you are striving to achieve e.g. making small groups a priority in my example.
- Brainstorm ideas of how you can impact that area over the course of the next 30-60-90 days.
Effective leaders understand the principle: “Say No – to say Yes to What Matters!” Leaders who focus their time, energy and people; regularly assess their ministry, make adjustments and forecast the future with a high degree of accuracy. This surfaces the strategic question: What are you measuring?
Remember – you measure what matters!
It is easy to get excited about coaching or a training initiative without understanding the true impact.
How many times have you heard colleagues discuss a new training process or coaching resource? And then get partway through the experience without understanding the impact on you or your organization. Wouldn’t it be worthwhile to consider the potential Return on Investment (ROI) before you start?
Consider a coaching relationship. When you or I establish a coach agreement we ask the leader to create goals. Over the course of the next year we work towards achieving those goals and assess the progress at the conclusion of our time together. Using the six levels described below you can see that we moved from Level 0 (scope, in my example) to Level 1 (reaction to the coaching process) to Level 2 (learning that occurred) to level 3 (applying the knowledge to the leader’s ministry).
There is a process to measure the ROI on training and coaching. Most of the coaching and training done in organizations settle for Level 1 or Level 2 evaluation – a few take it to Level 3. Here are the six levels:
- Level 0: Inputs
- Level 1: Reaction
- Level 2: Learning
- Level 3: Application
- Level 4: Impact
- Level 5: Return on Investment (ROI)
Review the descriptions above and consider a coaching or training process you are leading. Let’s say it is a leader development process that involves quarterly workshops with coaching in-between. Whatever it is that you are currently working on (developing small group leaders), or anticipate in the near future – what level of measurement are you incorporating in your process.
I’ve discovered that leaders are eager to know the ROI on some of the training and coaching that they are engaged. When they realize that it is possible to calculate and monetize the impact of their investment, it transforms the significance of the training/coaching because they are clear “why” they are making the investment.
Places where ROI is helpful:
- Organization-wide leader development training
- Coaching pastors, church planters, regional network leaders and movement leaders
- Coach training for church planting, parent church coaches or disciple-making movements
A helpful book on ROI, entitled “Show Me the Money” provides a more complete explanation. If you have questions, please e-mail InFocus for more information.
I’ve trained leaders around the world in the coaching process (commonly known as the 5 Rs – see below) who are catalyzing disciple making movements, planting churches, empowering leaders, leading teams and pioneering networks. A conversation with one missionary reminded me that the five elements of the coaching process are more descriptive than prescriptive. It was evident this gifted woman was wrestling with the process. When I gave her freedom to come up with her own language to describe the process she uses, she lit-up!
- RELATE – Establishing a coaching relationship and agenda
- REFLECT – Discover and explore key issues
- REFOCUS – Determine priorities and action steps
- RESOURCE – Provide support and encouragement
- REVIEW – Evaluate, celebrate and revise plans
That is the way I present the 5-R coaching process. Once people become familiar with the five elements then I challenge them to personalize it so that is fits their context. Find language that captures the essence of what they do and how they do it. And most of all – begin using it!
Below are five questions to help you identify the coaching process you use:
- How do I connect with people I coach?
- How do I help people analyze their situation?
- How do I help them envision the future?
- How do I help people identify resources to implement their plans?
- How do I help people I coach review their plans, celebrate success and capture insights?
Answers to these questions will help you uncover your coaching process. The more transferable, the better. If you have a process you’ve created, I’d appreciate you e-mailing me or sharing it with the InFocus coaching community below.