Building and Supporting a Network of Excellent Coaches
It is incredible to see coaching championed as a vital component to church planting, church revitalization, and leadership networks. But for coaches—and those they coach—to thrive they need more than initial coach training…

Written By Gary Reinecke

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

When networks grow from one to many coaches the common step is for a standardized coach training process to be instituted so that all the coaches, regardless of their previous training and experience, now use a uniform process and practice the skills to standardize the coaching the network provides.  This fills a felt-need of quality control for the network and for the “clients” (pastors, church planters, leaders) they serve.

But standardizing coaching practices is only the first step. To see your coach network flourish, you need quality control and ongoing investment in the development of your coaches. 

Common Coach Qualifications

ongoing coach training

Early in the network the qualifications might be a church planter who had a reasonable level of success, or a pastor who seemed to have good people skills, or a formally trained Christian counselor.  These experiences are certainly helpful but do not predict coaching success.  

What is predictable is that the client coached by leaders with a wide range of competency, will have varying levels of success, all other things being equal (similar assessments, resources, mentoring, and training).  

Competent and consistent coaching is the “x” factor that will have the greatest level of   without reliable and valid assessment and development.

When you lack a reliable pathway to assess a leader’s coach competency it is very difficult to know where to focus on the coach’s development.

Five challenges networks face who do not assess and develop their coaches

  1. Mixed Results. A pastor, church planter, or ministry leaders coached by a coach that has never been formally assessed have a 50-50 chance that the coach will maximize the leader’s potential.
  2. Intuition can be misleading. Most coaches with a compulsory level of coach training rely on intuition to determine how they need to grow.
  3. Unreliable feedback. It is important to ask clients for feedback but if that is the primary means for assessment, it is limited.
  4. Developmental pathway. A repeatable development pathway is super important so coaches in the network have a predictable process they follow so that they are always striving to get better and better. 
  5. Guide to walk alongside. Coaches need guides or mentors to help them sharpen their skill.

Even if you are a solo leader who is launching or about to launch your own coaching practice you will face these same issues.  But in a team or network, the problem increases in complexity proportionate to the number of coaches involved.  So what are some ways to address the problem?

Five ways to assess and develop leaders beyond initial coach training

  1. Familiarize yourself with the 5 most common ways leaders develop their coaching – CLICK HERE.
  2. Observation and feedback from a competent coach (live or recorded).
  3. Create a development path – if you are interested in learning more about a 7-step process called the Journey of Ongoing Growth, read Christian Coaching Excellence (Part 1).
  4. Take a  reliable, valid assessment like the 360-degree Christian Coach Assessment.
  5. Find an experienced, competent coach mentor.

Where to begin?

A quick start to upgrade from average coaching is to implement three extremely important tools. The first is a Coach Agreement (think contract or covenant).  The second is a Coaching Log (think journal for note taking).  The third is a Coaching Journal to record observations and actions you take to grow your coaching process.  These three things are very practical, and simple things you can do now.  It will benefit the church planters or pastors or business leaders you are coaching.

Coach Agreement

A Coach Agreement helps to clarify expectations for the relationship.  This will increase your effectiveness to coach your clients by as much as 80%.  When you begin with the end in mind, you are more likely to reach and surpass your client’s goals. To get you started, we have a free downloadable version HERE.

Coaching Log

A Coaching Log serves two purposes.  It gives you and your client a way to look back and forward.  You can capture notes during a session AND log actions to move into the future.  For a free downloadable version, click HERE.  There are also many web-based tools that you can find on the internet with the added feature of having a shared space to send clients preparation questions to respond to in advance of appointments. I’ve seen coaches adapt MyRevCoach, Notion, Todoist, and Trello to work as a Coaching Log.

Coaching Journal

A Coaching Journal allows you to record your observations, reflections, resources, actions, and powerful questions to grow your coaching skills. Take a few minutes between coaching sessions or at the end of the day to reflect on what worked well and what can work better. This raises your self-awareness and gives you the ability to find patterns that need to be changed. You can download a simple Coaching Journal format for free HERE.  One thing I am doing currently is going through a self-led coaching supervision course that will equip me to provide more targeted feedback for coaches.  A bi-product is that I am becoming more aware of the nuances that I need to pay attention to in my coaching.

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Cover Photo by Pixabay

Photo by Christin Hume on Unsplash

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