November 01, 2021

5 Shifts to be a Great Coach
The impact of a great coach on a leader or team is tremendous. It can make the difference between winning and losing. Think Steve Kerr and the Golden State Warriors. It is the same in disciple making and church planting. A leader with the right approach, who has developed the necessary skills and has the temperament to coach people to take action, has a tremendous advantage.

Written By Gary Reinecke

ICF Master Certified Coach, Resource Designer, Mission Strategist : InFocus

A Winning Strategy

A group I worked with recently has a number of pastors and church planters learning the art of being a great coach. 

One leader shared the dramatic change in people when he has taken the coach approach. In several conversations when he was asked for advice, he turned to the individual and challenged them to reflect and brainstorm solutions for themselves. 

In just about every case, the people have responded enthusiastically and taken responsibility for their actions. This is the power of a coach approach.

5 Shifts to be a Great Coach

Here are five shifts that occur when a leader moves from being indispensable to an empowering leader:

5 shifts to be a great coach


1. Shift from being viewed as the expert to viewing the other person as the expert.

Coaching is not about being the expert. If your client was looking for an expert, they would hire a consultant to advise them or subcontract the work out to an expert in that arena. Instead, coaching is about bringing out the best in others and helping them to see their vision become reality. They have hired a coach to help build their own expertise.   

2. Shift from being the center of the conversation to supporting the other person.

A great coach keeps the focus off of themselves. A great rule of thumb to follow is that your client should be doing about 80% of the talking. To make this happen, be sure you are prepared with lots of relevant open-ended questions.

3. Shift from being the advice-giver to listener.

The number one reason to hold your advice? People internalize lessons that they learn themselves. A great coach recognizes when someone is on the cusp of a breakthrough and instead of laying it out for them, lets them progress there naturally. This will bring lasting change. 

4. Shift from being the creator of the agenda to hold the other person accountable for the agenda.

Coaching is not about accomplishing your goals, it’s about helping your clients accomplish theirs. There are a myriad of things they may need to work through in order to make that happen. Instead of setting the agenda, a great coach works to recognize the correlation between what the client is currently walking through and connects them back to their purpose. In this way, you help them clear away the obstacles to seeing their vision become reality.  

5. Shift from being responsible to take action to empower the other person to take action.

This temptation signals that you are taking on that which is not yours. To take action on someone else’s vision robs them doing so themselves. The result is someone who won’t know how to do it next time, which will breed insecurity. It’s the old “teach a man to fish” proverb. Even if you know exactly what to do and how to do, empower your client to make the decisions and do the work. 

Mutually Beneficial

What could be the impact if you were to make these shifts?

  1. You will help people think for themselves, foster a high sense of ownership and take action!.
  2. You will expand your circle of influence so that you are not the only catalyst to lead an initiative, implement change or create a new culture.
  3. You will accelerate the process of:
    • Disciple making
    • Leadership development
    • Multiply churches

Photo by Javier Allegue Barros on Unsplash

That was a great coaching moment!

Most coaching assumes a formalized coaching relationship with a beginning, a middle, and an end, with clear goals to be accomplished along the way. However, you can also use your coaching skills in less formal ways– just as a way of relating and interacting. Think of it as a “coaching moment” instead of a “coaching relationship.”

Steps to Help You Make Decisions with God

You’ve got a big decision to make. When you make a decision based on the human intellect alone you might come away with a “good decision”; in contrast, when you consider God’s perspective on a matter you engage the spiritual dimension. This will lead you  down the path of prayerful decision making.

Can you find coaching in the Bible?

If you are trying to help others understand the biblical basis for coaching, here are two key scripture passages to help.

9 Ways Coaching Aligns with Biblical Principles

You may be wondering if coaching is biblical. The Bible never commands us to coach. In fact, the word coach is never used. So why coach? Should we even coach? Here are 9 ways coaching aligns with biblical principles.

The #1 Secret to Raising Self-Led Adults

You want your kids to become self-led adults. People who make good decisions, live into their gifts and talents, and contribute to their communities. The teen years are when the rubber hits the road. 

Purpose-filled Conversations with Your Teens

Conversations with your teens can feel one-sided. There are a lot of grunts and minute head nods, or if you’re lucky–one word answers. But this is a time in their development where they make important decisions that have lasting consequences. So, how do you move past casual chats to more meaningful and purpose-filled conversations with your teens? 

Coaching your kids

Translating your coaching skills to support your parenting will help you raise kids who have a clear understanding of who they are and have a solid framework for making good decisions. 

5 signs that you could be a better coach

You’ve been coaching for a while now. You may have even completed coach certification; but you feel there is something more… Are you coaching at your optimal level or could you be a better coach? How do you really know how well you’re doing? 

5 Steps to Clarify Your Values

Having trouble moving forward in your ministry goals? What about those you serve? If you are struggling to fill seats and find volunteers the issue may not be WHAT you are doing but a disconnect from the WHY.

Learning to trust your coach and your team

Are you at the top of your game? Even if you are, are you ready for what’s next? So many gifted and purposed pastors burn out because they are playing a solo game. Learning how to work with your team raises your effectiveness and reach in ministry.