Oftentimes, when we think of leaders, we think of the person in the front of the crowd, the teacher at the white board, the pastor on-stage, the person at the center of the action and making all of the choices. However, practiced leaders know that while a leader occasionally needs to be center stage, there are also times when a leader should step aside and allow for other voices to be heard and for others to step up and take new responsibilities. This is especially true with coaching new disciples and leaders. 

There is the risk that the more you strive to be the expert and remain the source of information, the more likely you are to disempower people – instead of becoming dependent on the Holy Spirit, the new disciple or leader becomes dependent on you. It can be tempting to want to direct them towards what you think they should do, but ultimately, a coach is there to be a gentle guide, not to force their own agenda. A coach needs to follow in the example of Barnabas, working alongside new disciples and leaders rather than controlling them. 

Remember: the primary aim is to take the focus off yourself and place the focus on God. 

Goal: The primary emphasis is to help you move from being the central figure in the conversation to be on the periphery facilitating the conversation.  

Why is it Important to Coach from alongside?

  • Allows your newest disciples and leaders to take more responsibility in their spiritual journey 
  • Promotes more self-awareness 
  • Lets your newest disciples and leaders know that you trust them 
  • Gives you a clearer idea of where they need help and where they are thriving 
  • Easier to sense God’s will when personal agendas are set aside

Three Mini-Shifts to Help to Move alongside:

  • Sacrifice your need to be the center of the conversation and make the other person the focus of the conversation. 
  • Support the other person to discover their next step by facilitate the discovery of a step so that they own it and are committed to it. 
  • Put your assumptions, opinions, and biases in the background by resisting the temptation to make judgements and remain curious.

 Real–time Actions:

  • Determine the best approach to take:
  • Modeling – demonstration of a skill
  • Coaching – facilitating a self-discovery process
  • Releasing – giving responsibility 
  • Mentoring – training in a particular area 

Reflection Questions: 

  • Where do I see opportunities to give away more responsibility? 
  • What personal agendas do I have that might be getting in the way of those I am raising up? 
  • What approach would be the best approach to take at this time? 

Key Question:

How can I resist the temptation to force my agenda and be attuned to the other person’s agenda?

Photo by Mimi Thian on Unsplash


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