Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Coaching for bivocational ministers

One of the things I look forward to doing after my retirement at the end of this year is to spend more time coaching bivocational ministers. A few years ago I received training to be a coach and learned how helpful it can be to have a coach.

As part of our training we received coaching for a year, and it so happened that I was facing a crossroads at the same time. There were two paths that looked equally inviting so I used my coach to help me choose the better path for me. From that experience and the training I received I became convinced that having a coach could be a huge asset for a minister.

Good coaches don't give advice. They are not counselors. They are not consultants. They are not even mentors. They ask questions. Powerful questions that force the person being coached to look deep within himself or herself for the answers. Coaching begins with the premise that we often already know the solution to our problems, we just need help in bringing that solution to the surface.

Since receiving the training I've had the opportunity to coach a number of ministers, both bivocational and fully-funded. I chose to coach a number of bivocational ministers as my DMin thesis and write my dissertation on the results of that coaching. That dissertation became my latest book,The Art and Practice of Bivocational Ministry: A Pastor's Guide. I think the title of the book is unfortunate because it doesn't indicate that the book is about coaching ministers, but it is the title the publisher selected. However, the content of the book is what is most important, and the content describes ten coaching relationships I've had with ministers, the issues they raised, and the solutions our coaching relationship helped them identify.

Coaching isn't just for persons with problems. It can be very helpful any time someone feels stuck and isn't sure which direction to take. Coaching can help someone who wants to raise his or her leadership skills to a higher level.

For a long time I've wanted to have more time available to coach ministers, but my current ministry has limited the amount of time I could commit to that. As I prepare to retire from that role at the end of December I am praying that coaching opportunities will occur.

If you feel having a coach could help you more forward with your life and/or ministry, contact me. At least read the book. You may find that your challenge is addressed in that book and you may find solutions there to help you overcome the challenges. At least, after reading the book you'll better understand coaching and can determine whether it is something that can benefit you.

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