Coaches are a special kind of leader. They’re responsible for nurturing, shepherding, and guiding as well as holding other leaders accountable. Coaches are leaders of leaders. This is a much different role than those who oversee volunteers.
When training coaches keep the following things in mind:
1. Small group leaders need to be treated as equal leaders, not underlings.
When gathering leaders together, a wise coach will utilize the shared knowledge of the group to teach one another rather than declaring answers to the questions that surface during the conversation.
2. Most small group leaders don’t need to be contacted often.
In fact, when a coach overdoes it, a small group leader may begin to feel the coach is more of a burden than a help.
3. Not all small group leaders are the same.
A new small group leader will need more assistance and encouragement from a coach than will a seasoned group leader. Train your coaches to evaluate which leaders need the most assistance and which need little assistance. Then encourage the coach to connect as appropriate.
4. Coaches aren’t trainers. They provide wise counsel.
Small group leaders seldom ask their coach the question, “What do I do?” If the church has done a good job of training small group leaders in the basics of group leadership, the basic how-to’s are already in place.
In most instances a small group leader is asking, “What do I do about …” Coaches are most often asked about relational situations. Questions like: “What do I do about a couple who are considering divorce?” or “What do I do about someone who needs more financial assistance than our group is able to give?” or “What do I do about a conflict that is taking place in our group but no one is talking about it?”
Bottom line: Train your leaders to give wise counsel based on Scripture. That’s what they’re going to be called on to do most.
Rick Howerton has one passion — to see “a biblical small group within walking distance of every person on the planet making disciples that make disciples.” He is pursuing this passion as the small group and discipleship specialist at Lifeway Church Resources.