Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Many ministers would benefit by having a coach

My Doctor of Ministry degree thesis was "Coaching Bivocational Ministers for Greater Ministry Effectiveness." The project involved me coaching five bivocational ministers in the US and Canada for six sessions each. As is the custom for coaching, in each session we focused on the felt needs of the person being coached. My thesis reported on the results of that project and later became the foundation for my book The Art and Practice of Bivocational Ministry: A Pastor's Guide.

As a result of that project I became convinced that nearly every minister would benefit from having a coach. A coach helps a person get from where they are to where they want to be. Where a counselor often looks at the past, a coach will focus on the future. Coaches are not usually focused on solving problems as much as we want to develop people. As one coach explained, if he helps someone solve a problem he has influenced one decision, but if he helps people grow in their ability to make great choices he's impacted every decision they will make for the rest of their lives.

What kind of people benefit from a coaching relationship?

  • People who feel stuck. Many pastors feel stuck in their ministries. Nothing seems to be happening, and they are not sure what to do about it. Coaching can help such a person get traction and begin to move forward once again.
  • People who are at a crossroads and unsure which direction to take. A coach helped me decide to return to school for my DMin degree. I was struggling to decide whether to pursue the degree or to go in another direction with my life, and my coach led me through a discernment process that convinced me to return to school. It turned out to be the right decision.
  • People who want to enjoy more success in their careers. Some think coaching is just for people who are having problems, but it can be very helpful for those wanting to take their ministry to a higher level.
  • People who are struggling with some issue in their lives. Some people I have coached were struggling with time management issues. Some have had family issues. At least one was struggling with his sense of call to the ministry. One was a new bivocational pastor who wasn't sure how to begin his ministry.
In short, just everybody is a candidate for coaching and would probably benefit from having a coach.

The book includes case studies from ten ministers, most of them bivocational, I have coached. The studies examine the issues each of these ministers presented. the process we used to address them, and the results achieved. You may find the help you need in some of those stories. At the very least, you may find that having a coach would benefit you.

I would be glad to talk to you about entering into a coaching relationship. Just contact me and we'll begin the dialogue to see if coaching will benefit you as much as it did the ones in the book.

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