Here’s the last piece of my professional development trifecta. In addition to cohorts and networks, I’m also into coaches these days. In my limited work with new worshiping communities I noticed that many of those leaders employ coaches to great effect, but I’ve also known heads of large church staffs to have them too. I don’t have a coach presently, but I’d gladly take one; the cohort I did involved coaching, and I found my coach so valuable that I routinely call him up for advice even today, four years on.
We all have more to learn. A good coach aids learning not only by sharing their expertise, but also by paying attention to your tendencies and your instincts, asking probing questions about where those come from, and encouraging incremental changes. I’ve seen this reap measurable short term rewards with colleagues, and I don’t doubt that the long term payoff will be exponential.
Don’t mistake a coach for a mentor. The mentor relationship is valuable in its own way, as a path to wisdom and insight accompanied by a seasoned pro. The coaching relationship implies more programmed work around explicit goals. Both are important.
Do you have a coach?