Raising and Multiplying Quality Coaches

How can you really make a sustainable difference in critical areas like discipleship, leadership development, church health, and church planting/multiplication? Coaching can function effectively as the core discipline for engaging high quality growth in those areas. Imagine the strength of having coaches available at every level of a denomination/ministry and in every church so everyone is getting the help, connection, and resourcing they need – the new church planters, the denominational leaders, the local church leaders – even the small group leaders and the new converts. Imagine the potential for growth.

But first – to get a better picture of the impact of coaching – let’s take a look at what coaching is, how it helps, and how a coaching system works.

What is coaching?

Coaching is the process of coming alongside a person or team to help them discover God’s agenda for their life and ministry, and then cooperating with the Holy Spirit to see that agenda become a reality. Coaches come alongside to help, just as Barnabas came alongside Paul, and then Paul came alongside Timothy and others. By encouraging and challenging others, coaches empower them for ministry. Barnabas may never have been in the starring role, but without him many others would not have been able to accomplish the great things for God that they did. Through his investment in people, his impact was exponential.

The goal of coaching is helping someone succeed. And what is success? It’s finding out what God wants you to do and doing it. Given that definition, success will certainly look different for different people, but it will all be tied into accomplishing God’s mission. Far from a top-down program designed to accomplish pre-conceived ends, coaching empowers each individual believer to listen to the Holy Spirit and act in accordance with the mission they sense God calling them toward. Coaching is essentially listening to the Spirit and taking action accordingly.

What makes coaching so powerful?

People are more fruitful when in coaching relationships. Good coaching empowers people to discern God’s will and take the appropriate next steps for their personal and ministry development.

Consider some of the benefits and functions of coaching:

  • “Provides encouragement for the journey
  • Cultivates wisdom and strategic insights
  • Discovers breakthrough opportunities
  • Maintains focus on the truly important
  • Transforms vision into reality

Consider some of the potential applications:

  • Discipleship of new Christians
  • Personal and ministry development for existing and emerging leaders
  • Follow-up after seminars or training events
  • Cultivating church health
  • Starting and multiplying new churches

Coaching is flexible enough to be helpful in a variety of ways, depending on the needs of the people involved. Here are a few different ways to structure coaching:

  • Personal (one-to-one)
  • Groups of three (peers)
  • Clusters (networks)

What does coaching accomplish?

Quality coaching is about much more than individual skills – it’s about orchestrating those skills together to accomplish a process. Five R’s sum up the coaching process:

  • Relate: establish coaching relationship and agenda
  • Reflect: discover and explore key issues
  • Refocus: determine priorities and action steps
  • Resource: provide support and encouragement
  • Review: evaluate, celebrate, and revise plans

By taking someone through this coaching process, a coach can help that person accomplish their goals. Skills are needed to achieve that process, but must be used with this bigger picture in mind to achieve the desired ends.

How does a coaching system work?

Because coaches are so central to resourcing mission, you’ll need a lot of good quality coaches. You’ll need to know clearly what you’re trying to produce and you’ll need to engage in intentional coach development. To capitalise on the vast potential of coaching and sustain that effectiveness in the long term, raising and multiplying coaches needs to become a priority. Every leader needs a coach – and every leader needs to be coaching. Being proactive and intentional will allow you to increase your coaching capacity, allowing further growth and multiplication in all areas of ministry.

So the question becomes: How do you raise and multiply quality coaches? If you’re going to need a lot of coaches, certainly you don’t want to outsource coach training indefinitely – you want something you can use, reproduce and adapt within your denomination/ministry. The quality needs to remain high, while still being reproducible. What is the process for multiplying high quality coaches within your denomination/movement?

1. Select the right people

Before multiplying anything, you’ll want to know that what you’re multiplying is of high quality. Carefully select those people you want trained as coaches – start with your best people. Five important qualities to look for in potential coaches include:

  • Empowers and develops others
  • Listens well and asks insightful questions
  • Encourages and cares for others
  • Thinks clearly and strategically
  • Continues to learn and grow personally

Begin with only a few candidates and invest in them. We recommend starting with no more than 12 coaches-in-training. Many leaders are tempted to short-circuit the coaching process by running as many candidates through the training process as possible. This results in spotty quality, which then undermines commitment to coaching. But in denominations/ministries that start small and go deep, the multiplication potential is huge.

2. Know what qualities you’re trying to produce

If we want to reproduce high quality coaches, we need to know first what a high quality coach looks like. We need a way to measure coach quality. Then we need a proven process that produces that kind of quality.

An international qualitative research project has been done in the area of coaching that has yielded nine core coach competencies (see below). Each of these areas also contains five to seven micro-skills.

  1. Abiding in Christ looks at the extent to which a coach seeks the Holy Spirit’s guidance at each stage of the coaching process and depends on God in discerning the needs of those being coached.
  2. Self-assessing looks at the extent to which an individual knows oneself and pursues personal development, self-awareness and increased competency.
  3. Communicating looks at how well this person facilitates the process of discovering God’s agenda and how best to cooperate with God by effective listening, questioning and giving feedback.
  4. Establishing looks at the extent to which this individual negotiates to obtain a mutual agreement to enter into a coaching relationship and strengthens the relational bond with the leader or team being coached beginning with the initial session.
  5. Supporting means to maintain the health and development of the coaching relationship by including the following basic principles of coaching: encouragement, challenge, accountability, provision for needs, and focus in a clear direction.
  6.  Concluding means re-connecting or bringing closure to the coaching relationship and process.
  7. Diagnosing means to assess problems or situations by pinpointing needs, gathering data, analysing data and evaluating action plans.
  8. Planning means to help those you are coaching to set priority goals and design action plans to achieve those goals.
  9. Monitoring means to evaluate and celebrate progress toward the accomplishment of goals and to make appropriate adjustments.


3. Make the learning experiential

Once we know what we’re aiming for, how do we accomplish that? To make sure the coaches we train exemplify these qualities, the training process itself must be experiential and hands-on. Most coach training is not coach training at all – it is downloading of content. Placing people in a content-based seminar doesn’t result in transformation. That’s at best an orientation, but people don’t change their behaviour or improve their skills by sitting in a seminar.

The pattern that works best is to have coaches-in-training come to the seminar having already mastered the content by having read the material beforehand and having talked it through with their coach/mentor. If they come in with that piece already in place, the training time doesn’t need to be used to download the content. It can be used interactively to walk through how to apply coaching to their setting. People engage in coaching each other during the training, and gain helpful feedback and tips that are relevant to the skill areas they’re working on.

4. Coach people as they practice coaching

Good training also offers hands-on coach/mentoring. The principle behind this is that you learn coaching best when you’ve experienced it. Each coach-in-training works with a coach/ mentor before and after the training event. Before the training event, they walk through the material together, with the coach/ mentor helping the coach-in-training reflect on it and digest it. After the training event, the coach-in-training coaches two people while the coach/mentor helps walk them through that process. Together, they reflect on the coaching process while doing it.

Raising up high-quality coach/mentors early in the process is critical. Investing in coach/ mentors accomplishes the dual purpose of ensuring quality and ensuring reproducibility.

Coach/mentors pass on DNA as they work with those they mentor, bringing them to a high level of quality. They also raise up more coaches, allowing the process to replicate itself.

If you have carefully selected potential coaches for the first round of training, some of those attendees should have the potential to become coach/mentors. Identify and invest in those who show that potential. The strength and future of a coach multiplication movement lies in its coach/mentors.

5. Measure outcomes to ensure quality

Once we have a standard of quality, and a process of experiential training, we need to make sure that our process is meeting that standard. For this reason, an effective system for training high quality coaches must be outcome-based – it must have a clear standard for measuring success. The above competencies provide that standard, and tools are available to measure outcomes in each area for each coach that is trained. The coach-in-training undergoes an assessment, and then together with the coach/mentor, they create a plan for ongoing growth and development.

Experiential learning, coach/mentoring, and outcome-based assessment are what separates “hope-you-develop-quality” to “ensuring-you-develop-quality.” A holistic, multi-faceted, multi-learning approach such as the one described above helps you develop high quality coaches and measure outcomes at the end of the training process. An online coach assessment process measures the nine essential competency areas, ensuring that coaches are accomplishing in the real world what they were trained to accomplish.

6. Use a reproducible process

Whatever you want to accomplish as a denomination/ministry, coaching is the central thread that helps you get there. The only limiting factor is the number of qualified coaches – potential for expansion is directly tied to coaching capacity. Fortunately, more potential coaches are found among those receiving coaching. In this way, the system is sustainable. When the pool of future leadership comes out of those who’ve been helped, that’s how a movement starts developing.

If you train 12 people initially, let’s say that after the training you determine that 8 of them could be coach/mentors. Then you have 12 coaches, 8 of whom are coach/mentors. If each of those 8 take on 3 coaches-in-training, next time you can train 24 coaches in two groups of 12. Then you have 36 trained coaches. If 16 of this next generation of coaches become coach/mentors, you now have 24 coach mentors. If they each coach 3 coaches-in-training for the next round, you then can train 72 new coaches. After 4 or 5 generations of coach training (3 or 4 years), you’ll have 300 to 500 quality coaches – enough to get coaching down to the local church level.

Imagine if every emerging leader had a coach – and every emerging leader had coaching skills. Imagine if every parent had coaching skills, and parents could coach each other.

Imagine if every disciple-maker had coaching skills. We know that conversational dialogue – a coaching approach – is the best way to reach people in our increasingly secular society. Imagine the potential. Imagine every level of the organisation strengthened by coaching. Church planters coaching and developing new church planters resulting in more new churches. Coaches coaching churches toward increased health, and raising up more coaches so the process can be spread to even more churches. Pastoral staff coaching lay leaders to ensure a next generation of leadership for the church. Imagine the vast impact of a strong, self- replicating coaching system in all areas of ministry.

Note that this multiplication only works if you focus on quality. Denominations/ministries  will need to have ongoing standards and yearly assessments to maintain quality. But the cycles can be replicated internally, and the ongoing cost is lower during the subsequent generations where you’re training more coaches. The real fruit comes with the 3/4th generation of coach training – that’s when you see a movement.

If you want any further information feel free to make contact with us at

Colin is the Director of ResourceZone.  He has 30 years of ministry experience as a pastor, college lecturer and consultant/coach to consultants, denominational leaders and local church pastors.  He can be reached at




Dr. Bob Logan has worked in full time ministry for over thirty five years as a church planter, pastor, mission leader, consultant, and ministry coach.  He is internationally recognized as an authority in church planting, church growth and leadership development.  Bob’s current areas of focus are coaching, speaking, and developing leaders in missional and incarnational contexts.  Bob lives with his wife Janet in Los Angeles. He can be contacted at





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