The thought of a coach for ministers . . . do you find it an amazing concept? I mean, doesn’t seminary equip every minister to be God’s efficient, effective servant? Classes in ministerial ethics and etiquette. Classes in ministry to the grieving and those in crisis. God fills them with compassion and patience and wisdom . . . Doesn’t He? I mean, isn’t that His way of preparing those He’s called to serve Him?
I’ve heard too many church members, often good people with a good head on their shoulders and deeply involved in church life, who got to the place where their frustration led them to say that they were ready to find a new church home. Their next statement told a lot about their experiences in their current church home: “And in my next church I’m not going to get involved in the inner goings on or get too close to the staff so I won’t be disappointed again.”
I believe that ministers who have the means to think through ways to be the better servant without fear that their thoughts and feelings might become the fodder for gossip can avoid many pitfalls.
Here are some of the possible benefits of coaching for a minister:
- Assuming Responsibility — Let’s face it, most of us act much more responsibly and follow through on tasks when we know we’re going to have to report to someone. Being accountable will be incentive to follow through on goals and projects.
- Reports to committees/church — While the coach is the one to whom personal and professional goals will be explored, one of the ways accountability can be advantageous is to set goals with the committees and church. These will be developed with help from the coach to assist in guiding the church.
- Coach — A coach is a good person to be accountable to because it’s someone outside of the congregation and confidentiality will be protected. Shortcomings and disappointments will not be repeated outside of the coaching relationship.
- Self-affirmation — Feeling good about successes is a source of positive experiences for developing confidence and improving self-image.
- External reinforcement – A coach can be encouraging and supportive as well as offer guidance and brainstorm new ideas.
- Success — As ministers find successes in achieving goals they can develop enthusiasm and energy to continue moving forward in the church’s best interest.
- Fresh ideas — Ever get stuck trying to come up with a new idea or direction at work? A minister who sits with someone outside of his congregation with an objective viewpoint has a chance to think outside the box. A great source for developing fresh ideas for ministry.
- Goal setting — Reasonable goals for his or her personal life as well as goals for ministry would be helped by that objective outsider who serves as a sounding board.
- Goals achieved — When goals have been achieved, enjoying the pleasant feelings of success without bragging. Not only that, but encouragement to capitalize on the accomplishment can become a momentum to continue moving forward personally and in ministry.
Coaching for ministers can be a wise investment. Minister and church would do well to spend time working together and exploring the value of engaging a coach to increase success for everyone.