Much of my time in the office and on Sunday mornings is spent coaching staff and volunteers.
It’s interesting. In thinking about this topic, I checked out Wikipedia and Dictionary.Com to get a definition of the word “coach.” There were many. I guess the most relevant description came from Wikipedia: “Coaching – the practice of guiding an individual through a process.”
That’s pretty much it. Right? As coaches, we are pretty much “guiding” our staff “through a process.”
I would break the coaching responsibility of the executive pastor down into two main areas.
The executive pastor spends time engaging in what I call Management By Walking Around (MBWA). To be a coach, the executive pastor should have some experience in the various areas under their charge. Knowing “a little about a lot” is important. The executive pastor spends time walking around observing and understanding what’s happening at a pretty detailed level. How else can the executive pastor understand the challenges each ministry leader faces?
On any given Sunday, I spend much of my time during services walking into a few children’s classrooms or The Warehouse (our middle school student experience). I’ll observe, ask the volunteers questions, and “chat” with the staff leader(s).
There’s also a more formal method or area of the executive pastor’s coaching responsibility. Time must be scheduled on some regular frequency to meet one-on-one with staff.
The “regular frequency” part is important. The staff needs to know that there is time regularly scheduled on the calendar. They need to know it’s going to happen. They prepare for the meetings and know that time will be spent focused on their ministry area. During these sessions, they share their challenges and work with the executive pastor to accomplish their objectives.
Leadership technique is discussed and pondered. The difficulties they face are discussed, whether they be equipment, facilities, volunteers, staff, budget, or anything else. The executive pastor helps them choose a direction and work on their role as leaders of their ministries.