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

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