Christian Leader Coaching: Three Important Tools

Christian Leader Coaching Tools

Coaching Tools for Christian Leaders

In the first part of Christian Leader Coaching: (Christian Leader Coaching: Nurturing Skill and Ability in Others) we looked at the nature of coaching. In this part we consider three key approaches that will help the Christian leader enable those whom they lead to achieve their full potential.

The Christian Leader uses “Show and Tell”

“Show and tell” is a process of teaching someone to develop skills and at its simplest involves both instruction and demonstration. It is an apprenticeship model and reflects the way that Jesus nurtured the disciples and therefore has a strong attraction to the Christian Leader. The duration varies dependent upon the nature of the task and the abilities and speed of learning of the apprentice.

In essence it is about the coach training someone in an area where leading by example is the best approach. This has the benefit of not only teaching skills but also modelling character and attitude.
The Show and Tell model is expressed in several variants. Here we set out six stages:

Instruction

The instructor explains what needs to be done and how to do it, providing any necessary background and expectations.

Demonstration

The instructor demonstrates what needs to be done, applying the instruction.

Student Assistance

The instructor engages the student’s assistance in completing the task and reviews the experience with them.

Instructor Assistance

The student completes the task with the support of the instructor. Together they review the outcomes and agree what steps may be needed to improve performance. This process may be repeated until the student is ready to work unaided.

Practice

The student completes the task unaided while the instructor watches. Together they review the outcomes and agree what steps may be needed to improve performance.

Application

The student is now ready to complete the task themselves and apply their learning in their normal activities.
Dependent upon the situation and the complexities involved various steps may be merged. For instance the Instruction and Demonstration steps may be best completed as one step for simpler activities. The student’s background and experience may also cause steps to be merged. The instructor needs to tailor the process to the needs of the student.

The Christian Leader who is living out Christ-centred servant leadership will have an attraction to this model. It is directly focused on enabling the one whom they lead to develop and grow into their full potential and offers an opportunity to model the values of a Christ-centred servant heart.

Christian Leaders use Wise Questions

The coaching process is about developing the individual being coached so that they learn to achieve with competence and confidence. It is directly in line with the Christ-centred servant leaders goals. Thus coaching must be a learning process for them, not a “do it the way I tell you” list of instructions from the coach. To achieve this, the coach must facilitate the process of exploration and discovery for person being coached so that they can arrive at the conclusions for themselves. The coach will need to act as guide and perhaps, if appropriate provide, instruction on specific skills.

The exploration is best facilitated with questions and there are three kinds that will be of benefit.

Open Questions

Most people are familiar with the ‘open question’. This is a “What?”, “Where?”, “When?”, “Who?”, “Why?” or “How?” question. It forces the other person to think and provide information as opposed to simply a “Yes” or “No” answer.

Scaling Questions

We are all familiar with scaling questions but probably do not use them much. They run along the lines of “On a scale of 1-10, where 1 is really bad and 10 is exceptionally good, how would you rate the situation?” They can often be followed by the supplementary question “Why…?”.

Such questions force a different perspective on the situation which means the other person has to think about it in a different way. Changes of perspective help to provide insight.

Silence, the Implied Question

When asking questions we can be too ready to move on or offer clues as to what we think the answer should be. Other times we might not know what the next question ought to be.

In such cases silence can be the most eloquent question because it invites the other person to fill the gap, to respond to the implied request “Tell me more…”. They will tend to do this by volunteering more information resulting from associations and thinking more deeply. Consequently, their answers to the implied questions that silence suggests may be far more insightful than their initial response.

For this reason the deliberate use of silence while waiting to see if more is forthcoming is a useful technique. Silences that are too long, however, should be avoided because they will seem threatening.

Chistian Leaders Agree SMART Objectives and Goals

This section is provided as a reference for those unfamiliar with SMART objectives. SMART is an acronym to help leaders and managers prepare and agree goals and objectives that are fit for purpose. A written objective should comply with each element of SMART. There are several variants of SMART, here is the one that we will use:

S – Specific

Objectives need to precisely and unambiguously describe the desired outcome of the activity. Use action-orientated words in its formulation e.g. Analyse, change, design, build, write, review etc.

M – Measurable

If an outcome is measurable then you can determine if it has been achieved. When determining the criteria to be measured you need to confirm that the measurements are feasible, i.e. that the necessary data is or can and will be made available.

A – Agreed

The objective must be agreed by you and the individual or team concerned. This agreement should be achieved in the spirit of being a Christ-centred servant leader, so a consultative not a power approach should be adopted.

R – Realistic

To be realistic an objective must be achievable. It doesn’t have to be easy but it must be possible. This implies that the necessary money and resources will be made available (as leader this may be your responsibility). If they are not, then the objective is no longer Realistic and no longer SMART.

T – Time Bound

Objectives should have a timescale and deadline declaring when work should start, when it should be completed and when key resources will be available. Some planning work may be required to ensure that the timescales are realistic.

Reflection

Is there a situation where you as a Christian Leader Coach can use the “Show and Tell” approach to help nurture and grow someone whom you lead?

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