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Why do professional sport figures need a coach? Aren’t they the best of the best? I heard of an interesting scenario on one of our local professional baseball teams. A key player is in a batting slump. When it was suggested he spend time with the hitting coach, his response was, “I’m my own hitting coach!” Guess what happened his next at bat. He struck out leaving two men on base. Instead of putting his team in the lead in the 8th inning, they lost the game. Think he needs to spend time with the team’s hitting coach? The fans sure think so. Evidently his coaches do, too. He was “rested” the next game.

A good coach draws the best out of others. Through careful questions and discerning listening, the coach helps the coachee understand goals to set, correctives to make, initiatives to take, and how to operate at his or her best. Coaches take time to build relationships and genuinely care for the person being coached. Coaches help others live life or perform their roles at their best.

Coaching is key in supporting small group leaders in their role. Some coach leaders in “clusters” where several leaders meet at a time with a coach to listen to one another and grow together. One-on-one coaching is another common approach. However it’s done, the most important thing it that it IS done for the sake developing healthy leaders and small groups.

Here are a couple of proven conversational coaching methods:

1. Four Questions [1]
These questions enable relational coaching that leads to personal and spiritual care. Often, these questions are all that need to be asked. If the leader wants to talk through a particular challenge, the coach can move into the G.R.O.W. model listed next.

a. How is your time with God?
b. What has God been showing you in his Word?
c. What is going on in your leadership life?
d. How can I support you in your life?

2. G.R.O.W. Coaching Conversation Model [2] 
The G.R.O.W. coaching conversation model is a helpful tool when coaching a leader through specific goals or objectives. You can read more about it in Leadership Coaching by Tony Stoltzfus. Work through these kinds of questions together.

Goal: The objective the person wants to reach
• What do you most want to talk about?
• What would be different as a result of working on this goal?
• What would you gain from working on this goal?

Reality Check: Ascertain concrete facts of how things are right now
• What led you to set this goal?
• What’s going on right now in this area? (adjust ? to situation)
• What have you tried already?
• What difference did these actions make?
• Are there key players to keep in mind or to call on when addressing this goal?

Options: What are our options?
• Let’s shoot for 5 potential ways to go about meeting this goal What could you do to work towards accomplishing this goal?
• If you had unlimited resources and knew you couldn’t fail, what would you try?
• What obstacles might keep you from pursuing this option?
• What if this obstacle was removed? What would you do then?
• How could you remove the obstacle you face?
• What other resources could you draw on as you tackle this?
• Who else could help you or give you creative ideas?
• What have you seen others do that might work for you? Read in books?

Will: What will you do? Move from options to action.
• So, how do you want to proceed?
• Which of these options will most effectively move you towards your goal?
• Which option(s) do you want to pursue?
• Turn that into an action step: What will you do by when?
• What will you commit to in the next month to keep you movingforward?
• What obstacles might keep you from reaching your goal?
• How could you remove them?

After working through the G.R.O.W. questions, be sure to do a motivation check with the person being coached. This will help both of you see how likely it is that action will be taken.

• What goes on inside of you when you think of launching into this?
• On a scale of 1 – 10, how likely is it you’ll get this done in the time frame you set?
• How can we move the (# from above) to a (higher number) ?

What happens in the next coaching session? Start by asking how the leader did on accomplishing the goal or objective she or he arrived at during the last session. Then move on to new areas of interest.

Let’s take a lesson from our local baseball star and not neglect the powerful tool of coaching. God will use it keep leaders not only in the game, but at their best.

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