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March 25, 2009Interviews, Leadership

Church Leadership Book Interview: TransforMissional Coaching

Steve Ogne's and Tim Roehl's new book, TransforMissional Coaching: Empowering Leaders in a Changing Ministry is a valuable read for those of you leading others in the church. I was privileged to write the foreword, and have shared that on the blog here. I had the chance for some Q&A about the book that unpacks some of their ideas on coaching.

Tim will be interacting in the comment section so feel free to add your questions.

You've entitled your book "TransforMissional Coaching"...where did the word "transformissional" come from?

We made up a new word to describe the heart of coaching for us. Coaching, as we see it, enables transformation which in turn leads to missional ministry. Great coaches come alongside leaders so that they can be transformed into the image of Jesus--living the Great Commandment to love the Lord with all our heart, soul, mind and strength and our neighbors as ourselves--and join Him on His redemptive mission in our world--living out the Great Commandment to go make disciples Entering and experiencing the Great Commandment goes together with expressing and engaging the Great Commission. You can't have one without the other. That's why we coined the word "transformissional."

You talk about coaching as a holistic approach to equipping leaders in a changing ministry world. What's that look like?

Steve's working definition of coaching is "Coaches help people develop their God-given potential so that they grow personally and make a valuable contribution to the kingdom of God." As coaches we enter the leaders' world to focus on what God is doing in and through them. Many coaching paradigms are overly focused on performance, productively and effectiveness...on what a leader does more than who a leader is. We call our holistic approach to coaching the "4 C's": at the heart of things we the key question is "Where is God working?" We help the leader pay attention in four key areas:

1. Clarifying Calling--coaches help leaders practice their "first order calling" of knowing and following Christ (being) and their "second order calling" of serving Christ (doing). As coaches we assist leaders gain discovery and clarity about their personality, spiritual gifts, skills and passion. As leaders get clarity about God's call for their lives, they can give the best of their time and energy where they fit and flourish in their walk and work with the Lord.

2. Cultivating Character--ministry is often hindered or forfeited by character issues in the lives of leaders. Emerging leaders often come to ministry as broken people with visible character needs and no desire to pretend. Coaches help leaders identify character issues that are negatively affecting them, apply Biblical standards to the issue, develop a game plan to address where God wants them to grow and be accountable for change.

3. Creating Community--coaches come alongside leaders to help prioritize, create and experience authentic community both inside and outside the formal church fellowship. Healthy relationships are the highest value for emerging leaders. Old paradigms of coaching often focused on developing and maintaining programs. Our new approach focuses significantly on healthy Christian community that includes both Christians and preChristians.

4. Connecting with Culture--coaches help leaders produce devoted followers of Jesus who engage and transform their culture by living among, listening to and meeting needs...not for the sake of church growth but for the kingdom of God. Many leaders know how to "do church" but not how to become great missionaries...coaches help leaders be intentional about meeting needs so people can meet Christ. We're called to make disciples, not just hang out with fellow believers.

Why is coaching especially effective with young and emerging leaders?

We believe transformissional coaching is the preferred approach for equipping leaders in the emerging culture and the transformissional church for the following reasons:

1. Coaching is relational, which is consistent with the postmodern value for relationship and community. This relationship provides acceptance, safety, and trust for emerging leaders, especially those who are seeking to relate to a modern church or denomination.

2. Coaching is incarnational because it is hands-on, person-to-person, face-to-face, and it functions in the realm of shared experience beyond knowledge.

3. Coaching is practical because it deals with the real and immediate issues in the life and ministry of the leader.

4. Coaching is holistic because it touches on the calling and character of the leader as well as the life of the faith community and its place in the culture.

5. Coaching is contextual because every coaching conversation starts and ends in the life and ministry context of the leader rather than starting from a specific model, or even from the coach's external point of reference.

6. Coaching is missional to the degree that the coach helps the leader understand and engage the culture through missional activity and significant personal relationships with secular people.

7. Coaching is flexible and is an especially useful approach to ministry during this time of changing paradigms. It is "just in time" and can keep pace with rapid change.

8. Coaching is cross-cultural because it is centered in the context of the leader and not the coach. It empowers the leader to contextualize ministry principles to his or her culture.

What impact does coaching have? There is strong anecdotal evidence...what empirical evidence is there as to the effectiveness of coaching?

We reviewed the research on coaching that's been done in recent years in the areas of business, education, sports, non-profits and ministry. Here's a few statistics that stand out:

Business Training alone increased productivity for leaders by 22%. However, when leaders had a coach alongside them after the training, productivity increased by 88%!

Executives who were coached saw a 788% ROI (return on investment)...for every dollar spent on coaching, they saw eight dollars worth of benefit in return!

Ministry At CRM, we've come alongside a number of denominations to develop a comprehensive church planting system with core elements of assessing, coaching and training. Denominations who have put these systems in place saw their church planting success rates go from 30 to 50 percent to 80 to 90 percent.

Ed, your study of Southern Baptist church plants found that planters who had a coach that met with them weekly had churches that were twice as big as those without a coach.

Non-profits Executives Directors of non-profits saw a significant increase in their ability to exercise leadership on a daily basis, gaining clarity on vision, values and mission and healthy relationships with staff.

There's lots of books now about "missional" ministry. What makes your book unique?

Our transformissional approach for equipping leaders pulls together training and experience with context and reality. Whether you start with "missional" in the context of incarnational living or the DNA of church planting or externally focused churches, our approach to coaching takes leaders beyond missional theory to actual practice in the world we now live in.

Transformissional coaching is useful with changing leaders because coaching is based in the life experience of the individual leader. Coaching is relational; it values the individual needs of the leader and can address both the interior and exterior life of the leader.

Transformissional coaching is useful with leaders of changing churches because coaching is not model-specific; it can be useful in any context. Because coaching is "on the job," it ensures implementation. Coaching provides guidance and accountability to help leaders successfully implement new learning into the life of the church so that real change is accomplished.

Transformissional coaching is useful in light of changing approaches for mission and evangelism because the coach will help the leader understand the prevailing culture and find a place of entry and contribution to that culture while seeking to develop redemptive relationships in the culture. Often this involves helping church leaders determine what Christian-focused activities to prune from their schedule so that they can be more fruitful for the kingdom of God.

We are indeed caught in a world of changing cultures, changing churches, and changing leaders. New approaches to equipping leaders will be needed to empower a new kind of transformissional leader. We have chosen to embrace the changing worldviews and changing ministry paradigms as an opportunity to engage the future with the gospel. Specifically, we believe that authentic coaching relationships will be a primary means of releasing a new generation leaders and the emerging transformissional church they represent.

You talk about coaching teams in your book. What are some important issues when it comes to coaching teams?

We talked about our 4 C's when it comes to coaching individual leaders. When coaching teams, we help them apply those 4 C's in the context of team chemistry and cooperating to accomplish their common vision, values and mission. Great coaches help team members listen to each other and work together most effectively.

In our book we also talk about ministry teams and mission teams. Ministry teams exist to facilitate the internal ministry of the local church, including the edification of believers. They serve the needs of members and attenders. One of the primary coaching functions for these teams is to establish the vision for their ministry and the model for how the teams will operate.

Mission teams exist to create and extend ministry outside the church and into the culture for purposes of personal evangelism and redemption of the culture and community. These teams are intentionally discerning needs out in their community and then developing ministries to be and bring Good News to those outside their church.

Our goal is to help leaders and churches develop healthy and productive ministry and mission teams...and to have their churches have as many mission teams as they do ministry teams.

Tim will be interacting in the comment section so feel free to add your questions. So feel free to post comments and questions below.

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Church Leadership Book Interview: TransforMissional Coaching