Moving from Courses to Coaching

In the last few years there has been a growing focus on coaching and mentoring as the crucial role of leadership is recognised ever more in our challenging context. This has particularly been the case in the church where increasingly we are seeing a priority of ongoing support and learning through accompaniment and networks, to complement a leader’s development through conventional areas of training. In our ever changing society it is essential that we are able to equip our leaders to learn and develop in and through their own situation.

Jesus’ model was one of making and growing disciples and leaders through coaching and apprenticeship. He also taught and trained on a larger scale, but his primary model was always around a small group community of learners whom he equipped for life and ministry. Jesus’ method was also an expression of the Kingdom dynamic of multiplication. Training processes enable large numbers to be involved but are based on addition, with greater potential of short-term gain. Whereas apprenticeship and coaching feeds into an ongoing relationship focussed on fewer people but with long-term fruit that can be multiplied out to great longer-term potential.

There have already been a number of national initiatives that have identified this issue and sought to invest in coaches and mentors over the past few years. Healthy Churches are now on their second national training conference for coaches and both CRM and the RUN network have also run excellent coaching courses. And this year Spring Harvest are also exploring apprenticeship as their theme for 2009. In ACPI this has been a major focus for over 20 years as we have been involved in consultation, accompaniment and coaching leaders. And for the last 7 years we have run a coaching course written by Bob & Mary Hopkins and this training has now been run in both the UK and Norway.

Out of this has come the new book Coaching for Missional Leadership, written by Bob Hopkins and Freddy Hedley. In it, Bob and Freddy explore the reasons for and benefits of coaching, unpack its biblical basis and examine the detailed practicalities involved in coaching and mentoring missional leaders as they pioneer church planting and fresh expressions of church. Primarily this is a book for the coaches themselves, to improve their skills and as an ongoing resource to return to at each stage of the coaching/mentoring process. It will also certainly help anyone involved in a coaching relationship to recognise the value of their undertaking and enrich its fruitfulness.

This new book has been published by ACPI in partnership with Fresh Expressions and is available here.


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