Stages of a Coaching Relationship

I love coaching leaders. I had a great coaching appointment this morning with a church planter who actually took action steps since our last appointment. That was extremely satisfying.

Another of my coaching relationships with a church planter is coming to an end this month. I will miss our phone appointments twice each month. I will stay available to encourage him in the journey, but I won’t have the same active role.

Next month I am starting a new coaching relationship with a church planter who just got married this past weekend and is moving to a new community to start a new church. He is eager to learn and get started with the coaching sessions.Stages of a Coaching Relationship | missionalchallenge.com

As I reflect on this, I am reminded that coaching is one of the most rewarding things I do in ministry. It is such an awesome privilege to come alongside a leader and help them to focus more intentionally on being effective in the areas that God has called them. And each coaching relationship goes through different phases. Joel Comiskey has written an article on The Five Stages of a Coaching Relationship. While he focuses specifically on coaching cell leaders, I believe that his insights can be applied in a variety of coaching relationship

“I’m sorry to say it, but no coaching relationship develops to perfect levels of openness and communication overnight. Instead, most coaches pass through predictable stages of highs and lows, which can be understood as a series of coaching stages. The following is a brief walk-through of those stages, including practical advice for growth.” (read the rest here).

The Five Stages are:

  1. Romance
  2. Reality
  3. Resistance
  4. Resolve
  5. Reward

I’d like to add a thought here about the importance of ongoing evaluation of your coaching relationships. There is incredible value in taking time to assess what’s happened so far, and to learn from the coaching experience. At predetermined points for evaluation, you can determine if goals and expectations have been achieved – and if a change in direction or focus is necessary. You can opt to end the coaching – or re-contract for an extended period of time.

Here are some excellent evaluation questions from the Coaching 101 Handbook
(by Logan and Reinecke):

  • How do you feel this coaching relationship is progressing?
  • In what ways has this coaching relationship met your expectations? In what ways has it not?
  • What elements were most helpful to you?
  • In what cases would you have liked to see me take a different approach? Elaborate.
  • How would you evaluate your own role in the coaching relationship?
  • How could your coaching relationship improve?
  • What is next in our coaching relationship?

Author

Dave DeVries

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Dr. Dave DeVries is a coach, trainer, author and founder of Missional Challenge. He is passionate about coaching and training church planters and missional leaders. With 30+ years of church planting and leadership development experience, Dave brings his passion and encouragement to those he trains and coaches.
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