A comprehensive coaching process – anchored in Christ

A comprehensive coaching process – anchored in Christ

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:

  1. How do I connect with people I coach?
  2. How do I help people analyze their situation?
  3. How do I help them envision the future?
  4. How do I help people identify resources to implement their plans?
  5. 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.


Creating a Disciple Making-Coaching Culture

Creating a Disciple Making-Coaching Culture

Normally I’ve seen one or the other emphasized:

  • Disciple Making
  • Coaching

This last year I’ve been part of a two-pronged training process combining Disciple Making Movements (DMM) with Coaching in 5 regions around the world beginning with India and Turkey, followed by the US, then concluding with Spain and Hong Kong.  Each event lasted 5 days with the morning dedicated to DMM and afternoons focused on Coach training.  Participants were forced to live in the tension of learning the technical side of DMM utilizing Discovery Bible Studies (DBS) in combination with the relational side of Coaching.

Why was this approach taken?  For obvious reasons, I won’t reference the organization nor the leaders because they are planting churches in under-resourced and under-served areas of the world (10-40 Window); however, this is what they learned when they interviewed other mission agencies taking this approach:

In talking to other organizations that have implemented DMM training each and every group has said they should have taught coaching principles in coordination with DMM to give their workers the skill of coaching.

Typically, I present coaching as a non-directive process; however, in this training approach the “content” is assumed to be the Bible in the context of a DBS.  Further, when a person is ready to reproduce a DBS into the second and third generation, the focus of the coaching relationship shifts to leader development.  Through this process, churches are planted with coaching embedded in the DNA.

Here are three lessons I’ve learned:

  1. Synergy – utilize practitioners from each discipline to maximize the strengths of both systems.
  2. Progression: explain how the two disciplines are distinct – then show how they compliment one another.
  3. Structural Tension – allow participants to live in the tension of making disciples AND coaching leaders to reproduce.

What lessons have you learned training leaders to catalyze disciplemaking movements?  I would love to read your reflections.  Please share your insights below.

Focus – the gift a coach gives a leader

Focus – the gift a coach gives a leader

What do you provide those you lead?

When you coach those you lead, you have the opportunity to help them focus.  Whether you are helping them:

  • see where they fit in a larger vision
  • understand where they are in the mission God has entrusted
  • take the next step to help them clarify a vision God is revealing to them

Focus is the gift you give to those you are developing, influencing, empowering.

I am in Hong Kong as I write this blog – training leaders who are making disciples and planting churches in under-served and under-reached regions of our world. These leaders are learning how to coach leaders and spark discipleship making movements (DMM).  My job is to help them understand how coaching compliments their disciplemaking efforts.

I like to use the analogy of a train track.  Think of one rail representing the “strategic” (DMM in this instance) aspect and the other rail representing the “relational” (coaching) aspect.  Together, these two rails provide a path for leaders to travel – keeping the focus on fueling a movement of making more and better disciples.  When you have an effective strategy in conjunction with a comprehensive coaching process, you can help keep leaders focused.

Remember the gift you are giving away.  What systems do you use in conjunction with coaching?

Coaching Through Personal Transitions

Coaching Through Personal Transitions

How many times have you heard leaders share that they are considering a “new ministry” opportunity.  Sometimes, it is a natural response to the monotony of life and other times it is a case of the “grass is greener” fallacy.  In other circumstances, a leader might find themselves in transition.  When I speak to leaders about transition I like to explain three phases: Pre-transition, Transition and Post-transition.

When coaching leaders through transitions I’ve used three helpful questions:

  1. Where have you been?
  2. Where are you going?
  3. How will you get there?

I remember when I first came across a process that addressed these questions, I was a third year seminary student.  My instructor, Dr. Gordon Klenck had returned from a 30-year stint as a missionary in Europe.  During his doctoral work at Fuller Seminary he took a course entitled Leadership Emergence Theory from Dr. Robert Clinton.  The material was in the formative stages but the process helped me turn the corner on what I eventually did following graduation and set me on the trajectory that I continue to this day.  The Focused Living Retreat Workbook is a reformulation of that process and does an effective job helping a leader:

  • Look back – Personal Time Line
  • Look forward – Personal Calling Statement
  • Look around – Mentoring plan

I’ve used this resource in a number of different settings with a high degree of effectiveness e.g. graduate leadership courses, small group gatherings and 1-1 coaching.  The process of discerning God’s will is not formulaic, nor is it linear; it is more like spaghetti.  Imagine twirling your fork in a pile of noodles, finding a few that land on your utensils and into your mouth.  This illustrates how the discernment process works.  Once a leader has a sense that she/he is in transition, they begin the journey of twirling their fork.  Going through this process in collaboration with a coach can help a leader move intentionally and fruitfully through a transition period.

What tools have you used to help leaders navigate transitions in their life and ministry?  Please share your ideas below.