Vol. 1 No. 8
Coaching Newsletter, August, 2005

Coaching Pastors is dedicated to providing great leadership coaching to pastors, ministry leaders and Christian businesspeople like you. We want to help you be your best and fullfil your God-given destiny!

Coaching vs. Supervising

Most of us have grown up in a world where we are either a supervisor or we are being supervised. Think about it...our parents supervised us, our teachers in school supervised us, and our bosses supervised us. Perhaps we became the parent, teacher, or boss, thus stepping into the supervisory role. We have taken the supervisory role into the ministry as well.

A supervisor is usually the one coming up with the vision, mission, and direction. Although they may solicit help from others, because the buck stops with them, supervisors are the ones who clarify goals and objectives. Supervisors are usually the ones who call the meeting, set the agenda, and then direct the meeting.

As the idea and function of coaching is becoming more popular, supervisors are beginning to review and reconfigure their roles in their organization. Pastors and network leaders are also being challenged to take on more of a coaching role. The question arises, “Can supervisors truly be coaches?”

The very nature of coaching is the antithesis of supervising. The coach’s role is specifically to not set the vision, goal, or agenda. It is the person being coached (PBC) who does this. The coach is called to come along side to help someone else discover God’s agenda for their life and ministry and then help to see that become a reality.

As coaches, our role is not to tell people where they’re going or what they need to do, or even to answer their questions. Rather it is to ask good questions to help them discover the path for themselves.

Further, a coach doesn’t decide the goals ahead of time and then come to the coaching session to solicit help with his or her own goals. A good coach must lay aside their goals and allow the PBC to develop their own goals.

Another challenge is that the supervisor usually holds the purse strings. In many cases, the supervisor has power over the subordinate in relation to their salary (indeed, even in keeping their job). Because of this, subordinates typically hesitate to share the things they struggle with, either personally or in a ministry role.

This is especially true in coaching church planters whose very salary depends on their success and is often tied very closely to expectations of performance. They typically feel freer to share their challenges with a coach who has no authority regarding their finances.

So, can you coach those whom you also supervise? We all wear different “hats,” even in a given situation. If we are clear and intentional about which “hat” we are wearing, it is possible to function in different roles with the same people. At the very least, we can begin to focus more on helping people discover their own path rather than forcing them to follow ours.

However, the challenge remains. You will need to evaluate your own role and personal expectations, and then consider each relationship on it’s own merit. In some cases you will do well to encourage the PBC to utilize a different coach while you remain their supervisor. (The same issues need to be evaluated if you are looking for a coach.)

Take some time to consider your role in ministry. Our coaching tool this month will help you evaluate your role as supervisor or as coach. You can download it at: www.coachingpastors.com/documents/CoachOrSuper visorWorksheetpdf. pdf.

Again, let us know what you think...and how we can be of service to you.

Are You At Risk???

Are you at risk of missing what God has called you to? Take our FREE Risk Assessment and make sure you hit the mark.

One way to increase your chances of fulfilling your call is to build support systems for yourself at the key places where pastors are at risk. Fifteen hundred pastors leave the ministry each month, often because of not paying attention to some key warning signs.

Be a success story and not a statistic: The more of those key risk factors you eliminate, the less you are at risk of burnout, moral failure, marital difficulty, losing focus, or just missing the joy of serving the Lord.

To help you identify those factors where you might be at risk, we have developed a comprehensive assessment. We invite you to use it. If it's helpful to you, we encourage you to pass it along to your ministry colleagues or perhaps your staff.

Remember, we're here to help you fulfill the destiny God has for your life.

Click here to take the At-Risk Pastor's Assessment
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