The 5 Stages of a Structured Coaching Conversation

  • 27 February 2017
  • Randy Wollf

man listening to friendCoaching and mentoring are a way of life. We can turn any conversation into a mentoring opportunity by listening, asking good questions, helping people focus on what’s most important, and empowering them to take next steps (I address these four skills in my blog, Why Being a Mentor Isn’t as Scary as You Think). However, there is also a place for using these skills in structured coaching sessions where we intentionally engage in disciple-making conversations during several planned sessions. 

In this blog, I will describe the five stages of a structured coaching conversation using the COACH Model for Christian Leaders by Keith Webb (you will notice that each stage corresponds to the letters in the word COACH). 

Connect – build rapport and trust 

Every mentoring conversation requires a meaningful connection, so that the other person is willing to share and explore possibilities. At the start of the session, it’s important to take time to build rapport, revisit goals from the previous session, and pray together. 

Sample questions:

  • How have you been?
  • What progress have you made on the action steps you identified the last time we spoke?

Outcome – find out what the person would like to discuss 

In a coaching session, it is highly beneficial for the coachee to identify an outcome for the conversation. This helps focus the interaction on what’s most important to them, leading to better results. Asking good questions can probe beneath the surface of a presenting issue and uncover something that might be even more critical to discuss. Make sure that the outcome is achievable during the time you have together.

Sample questions:

  • What would be most helpful for us to work on today?
  • What result would you like to take away from our conversation? 

Awareness – discover more about the issues and current reality

Why Most People Don’t Want to Lead Small Groups

  • 13 February 2017
  • Keith Reed

Small GroupsI’ve never heard of a church that has too many small group leaders. Too many ushers? Maybe. Too many musicians? Possibly. Too many small group leaders? Highly unlikely.

And yet, I know many churches that have grand visions for their small group ministry. Statements like, “we want to be a church of small groups” or “we want everyone to be in a small group.” All of them? Wouldn’t this require a massive influx of group leaders?

Herein lies the problem—you can’t multiply small groups if you don’t have small group leaders. For as motivated as some people may be to join a small group, their ambition will come to a screeching halt when they discover that the bus they’re about to board is missing its driver. 

Small group leaders don’t just appear—they must be developed.

But developing small group leaders comes with a set of challenges. Beyond the obvious task of equipping individuals for this position is another hurdle you might have to clear—most people don’t want to lead small groups. And the reason they don’t want to lead is directly tied to the expectations they believe a small group leader needs to fulfill. Many people feel that leading a small group:

    • Is categorially different than participating in a small group
    • Requires significant biblical knowledge and theological training 
    • Requires a lot of preparation time 
    • Is an unending commitment
    • Is a solo act 

Expectations of small group leaders may extend beyond this list, but these five make a sufficient point—there are many valid reasons why people don’t want to lead small groups. And these objections don’t necessarily mean that a person is less committed to discipleship. They’re simply considering if the role is a good fit (to which they should be commended).

Depending on how your small group ministry is structured, you might be able to lessen the objections that potential leaders might have. Maybe group leaders are provided with teaching curriculum to follow or maybe there’s a designated time for groups to break or disband.

It’s possible that you can convince people to lead small groups and that you can develop creative ways to limit the obstacles. But this approach will leave you wondering if these groups will be led with the appropriate amount of passion that comes when the right people are leading from the right positions. 

Developing a Strategic Pathway for Discipleship in Your Church

  • 27 June 2016
  • Randy Wollf

In my experience as a pastor and in my interactions with other church leaders, I know that churches sometimes struggle with how to make disciples most effectively. Approaches that worked well in the past may not be as effective today. 

In this blog, we will look at a holistic process for making disciples that involves churches growing in 11 key areas. This strategic pathway of discipleship attempts to integrate a biblical understanding of discipleship with an understanding of contemporary culture. Obviously, some elements may be more important in a particular context while other elements not included in this list may need to be considered.

1. Prayer Saturation 

Prayer permeates disciple-making churches. How can we grow a culture of prayer—a culture in which God delights to work deeply in peoples' lives? Here are nine suggestions I have for how churches can grow in prayer

2. Loving Christ-Centred Community 

Discipleship occurs best in deep communities where people lovingly practice life-on-life discipleship. What can leaders do to develop this kind of intimacy? I believe leaders need to create opportunities for people to develop and grow disciple-making relationships and then model how this is done. Here are 8 characteristics the flow from a Christ-centred community.  

3. Growth Orientation 

When everything in the church is geared toward helping people take next steps, growth becomes normative and expected. Discipleship can flourish in this kind of growth-oriented environment.