Sorting the Soils
I’m going to give you a tool that’s been quite helpful to many change leaders I have coached. I call it “sorting the soils” from Jesus’ parable on the good soil. Jesus also knew that you and I—and even he—couldn’t do everything. In Matthew 13:3-9, he said:
A farmer went out to sow his seed. As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up. Some fell on rocky places, where it did not have much soil. It sprang up quickly, because the soil was shallow. But when the sun came up, the plants were scorched, and they withered because they had no root. Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the plants. Still other seed fell on good soil, where it produced a crop—a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown. Whoever has ears, let them hear.
We also need to make choices and be strategic about where and how we invest our energy—more in the receptive categories—so that our efforts might yield the best results. So when you are working with a change leader who oversees numerous pastors or congregations, they don’t actually need to treat them all equally. They can assess them for receptivity. After all, why work with the most resistant? Work with those who are ready and even sometimes even eager to move forward.
Helpful coaching questions
- Which are the most receptive?
- What are the most important steps there?
- What is the next most receptive category?
- What communications or steps could you take to help them become more receptive there in the next 12-18 months?
This chart I have created is a tool you can use with your clients to help them “sort the soils”—or determine the readiness level of each church or leader for change. The data it yields helps them decide how and in whom to invest their energy, and what kinds of conversations would be most helpful with people at varying levels of readiness.
Sorting the Soils Worksheet– Download my free Sorting the Soils worksheet on Loganleadership.com.
Effective Listening Coaching Guide and Storyboard– When leaders are focused on goals there is temptation to block out voices that don’t agree with them. Practicing excellent listening skills helps the Body feel seen and heard, which is not only a key ingredient of effective change but also keeps leaders in an attitude of learning that can help them adapt plans for greater outcomes.
Change Management Effectiveness Profile- Help your leader discover their own readiness to lead change with this simple assessment.