Sunday, June 22, 2008

What is a Small Group Coach?

Recently our Small Group Support Team has put in place something new to help small group leaders and to encourage the development of disciples as well as more groups for people - Small Group Coaches. It's kind of early to tell, but I'm wondering if we're not seeing resistance from some of the current small group leaders.

The Small Group Resources blog highlights that this is actually quite common when putting in place a coaching network:

"The arbitrary assignment of a small group leader to a coach is problematic. This is especially true when the assignment is attempted after the small group has been in existence for longer than about 3 months.If they've made it this long without your help...they will almost always resist the idea that they need what you're offering. Works much better when the assignment is made at the very beginning or where there is an existing relationship that has a mentoring quality."

Regardless, I thought it might be useful to share - as a coach - what the top priorities are for small group coaches at Calvary...

Top priority - love the small group leader and their people! If we do nothing else other than model the shepherding love we hope small group leaders will display for their people, that's a great start.

Second priority - assist and support the small group leader in trying to make their group experience the best it can possibly be! How? By praying for them, being a sounding board, helping them set their own goals (not set ones for them), helping them find new members, or whatever else might be useful for the group.

Third priority - help small group leaders understand the overall vision for encouraging the development of fully-devoted followers of Christ, which is the mission of our church. Serve to improve communications, in both directions, between what's going on in the group and what's going on elsewhere in the church.

I have to think that if all our small group leaders clearly understood these priorities and how we're trying to love them and help them as coaches, there really shouldn't be any resistance. I guess that's why they say that casting the vision (and not once, but repeatedly) is an essential ingredient in any kind of change.


Anonymous said...

Larry... great post. I lke your three priorities for coaches. It's easy to overcomplicate this, and your summary of the role is right on.

Larry Baxter said...

Dave - thanks so much for the encouragement! I'm almost always the one overcomplicating things around here, but I'm trying to change that :)

Looking at your profile, what a great role: "Director of Innovation for Adult Ministries". Your group at WCA, especially Donahue's books on small groups and coaching, have been a *huge* help to our SG ministry.