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

Coaching to Develop Problem Solving Skills

Your clients come to you because they are stuck and need help moving forward. Often, because you are experienced and have the benefit of objectivity, you can pinpoint the problem and have a good idea where the solution lies. It’s tempting just to provide that help, knowing that clients will find it helpful. 

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6 Strategies for Landing New Clients

You are poised and ready to help people and you are getting a lot of interest in coaching. Now you need to turn those potential clients into contracted clients.

Coaching the Small Church Pastor

There are wonderful things about working with small congregations, but just as with any church, there are potential pit-falls to be aware of from the perspective of a coach.

6 Ways You Can Upgrade Your Coaching Questions

You don’t just want to get your clients talking, you want the conversation to get deep, meaningful, and actionable. Upgrade your coaching questions from good to powerful.

5 Challenges Every House Church Faces

House Churches are becoming more common. Are you ready to coach their leadership toward effective ministry?

When church planters need coaching the most

No one likes feeling stuck. Coaching church planters when they are at critical sticking points helps them move forward with clarity and confidence. 

How to reboot your church board

If you feel like your board is tying your hands from moving forward effectively in ministry—or if your board members feel like you are tying their hands—there’s need for a reboot.

The best investment you can make in your church

It’s not a building or hiring additional staff members. And it’s not coming up with a new program. The best investment you can make in your church is to help develop the innate leadership skills in the people who are already there.

Slow Your Roll and Establish Disciple Making DNA

One of the pitfalls of launching small groups after the corporate gathering is established is that the DNA of disciple making can become secondary rather than primary.  This is a common problem when coaching church planters who, in their compulsion to “go public”, have found themselves relaunching two years later.  You as the church planter coach have influence in this decision.