I am in a series of posts on coaching, specifically as it applies to missional communities. The posts in this series are:
In order to provide quality coaching that is effective for missional community leaders, it is critically important that a coach has two primary qualifications:
- A working knowledge of the Missional Community DNA and practices at The Austin Stone
- Practical experience leading a healthy missional community in the past
The first is a pretty obvious qualification – you want someone coaching who has the same vision and speaks the same language. The second is a key quality for us because we want folks who coach using their own stories as examples. It’s one thing to know an idea, it’s an entirely different thing to tell a story of how that idea played out.
Within our current structure, our coaches consist of three sets of people:
- Campus Leadership Team – These individuals (Campus Pastor, Leadership Director, and Connections Director) are responsible for the oversight of ~100 missional communities per campus. They are coaching missional communities themselves, as well as overseeing other coaches within their campus network.
- Campus Deacons – These men and women are helping coach in the region through the oversight of up to ~5 missional communities. They are typically volunteer leaders who have led healthy missional communities, and are continuing to engage the mission of God in their own lives with a community.
- Coaches – This men and women, although not yet tested and qualified for the deaconate, are capable leaders who have multiplied healthy missional communities and are typically overseeing networks they themselves have started.
There are others who coach missional communities, but these three groups of people carry the largest load of coaching within our church.
In my experience, it’s hard to coach well more than about 6 missional communities, and I strongly recommend that coaches gather leaders in groups, rather than just individually, to foster peer to peer learning and to create a relational network of leaders.