Leaders want to know what is different about coaching.

I was asked this question recently and I gave my standard answers – click here.  I like the illustration of wearing hats. When I am using a coach approach I have my “coaching hat” on. But when the focus shifts to another approach like counselor, adviser, teacher or mentor; I should be aware the leader may not see the shift they are asking me to make OR, that they may need help finding the assistance they really need OR, explain that I am willing to switch my “coaching” hat for some other hat.

The clearer we can be, the more confident people become when the shift occurs during a conversation. This is especially helpful when using a coach approach in disciplemaking and church planting/multiplication to avoid confusion, for the coach and the person being coached. I found the chart illustrated in Sending Well: A Field Guide to Great Church Planter Coaching by Dino Sinesi – to be extremely helpful to make the distinctions between coaching and other people-helping approaches. He breaks down the different roles in three categories: Function, Key Word & Scripture.

Here are the Roles with the Function and Key Word describing the outcome each role provides:

  • Counselor: ER DoctorRelief
  • Advisor: Auto MechanicSolutions
  • Teacher: LibrarianInformation
  • Mentor: Personal TrainerImitation
  • Coach: Taxi DriverService

Reflect on these for a moment.

Below are three questions to help you clarify what approach is needed, and if you need to change your “coaching hat”…

  1. What kind of assistance is the leader/team asking for in this moment?
  2. Are you the best person to provide that type of help?
  3. If not, how can you help them find it?


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