The Journey Blog

Reflections on the art of leading

How a season inside a church is growing me as a coach

It's not that I was never inside a church before, of course, but I have not had coaching as a major part of my work in a church to the degree that I do in this season. It is a living laboratory for the leaders and for me. It's growing them as a team, and me as a coach.

What was your best experience of teamwork? What was happening? What were people contributing, what gifts were being used? What difference did it make? What was so meaningful about it?

These are some of the questions we asked over a span of weeks: interviewing and weighing the results in a process called Appreciative Inquiry. Ai is a process that focuses on discovering what an organization does best, its heart and its core, telling the stories, finding themes, and creating statements describing a hopeful vision for the future. It is exciting to watch this process unfold—where a group engages with the things that have been most meaningful and true about them. In fact the process is very similar to the research method we used on our dissertations in the Doctor of Ministry program.

My coaching and mentoring practice centers this process in the gospel, squarely in "God's world." We focus upon discovering where God was clearly at work, and to prayerfully and intentionally work together to create an environment where those things flourish. 

My training with the College of Executive Coaching introduced Ai and I was struck by the way it fosters creativity, hope, and vision and much more so when we ground it in the gospel. I've been using it in my coaching ever since. This Spring I started the process of becoming a certified Ai facilitator and my practicum will be on the process I've facilitated here at Valley Springs.