Coaching-Diagnosing and Prescribing the Problem (Case Study)
To help with some of the more “Grey area” topics, I have chosen to provide some case studies or situations to help illustrate the topic. Since this Christian Coaching Series has sparked a lot of traffic and seems to be a pertinent issue on the minds of the Church, I thought we would use this particular topic to begin some of our case studies. Before we get into all of that, let’s look at some coaching quotes.
“The will to win is meaningless without the will to prepare!” — Joe Gibbs
“The man who complains about the way the ball bounces is likely the one who dropped it.” — Lou Holtz
“If you are bored with life, if you don’t get up every morning with a burning desire to do things – you don’t have enough goals.” — Lou Holtz
“The quality of a person’s life is in direct proportion to their commitment to excellence, regardless of their chosen field of endeavor.” — Vince Lombardi
“”Confidence comes from being prepared.” — John Wooden
Square Peg in a Round Hole
On your staff, you have one member, Zach, who was hired on to be the Congregational Minister for your church. In this role, he is responsible for helping either schedule visits or conduct visits to those members in the hospitals, work with local organizations on food drives as well as a host of other duties. Although Zach seemed ideal for the job during the interview and selection process, about six months into the position you began to notice a difference in his behavior and overall performance. At staff meetings, he simply gives his update and moves on. When you discuss various ideas about different needs in the church with regard to administration dealings within his ministry, Zach seems disengaged, almost distant. He does what is required, but not much more.
About two weeks ago, your Youth Minister resigned to go and be with her family more. Since everyone was having to pitch in to help with the Youth Ministry needs, you asked Zach if he would help by providing one of the lessons/sermons the following Wednesday night for the youth. You give him his topic and go on your merry way. When the Wednesday night Youth Service comes around, you attend as pastor to show your support for the ministry and are completely taken back by this new Zach on the podium. Rather than the usual “hum-drum” behavior and delivery, you see a Zach who is engaged, passionate, and seemingly comfortable talking with the youth of the church. He had games planned, worked on a skit, all congruent with the message he was delivering that night.
Now, unfortunately, some of the real life scenerios are not as easy as this one. If you have been in church leadership for a while, the problem is fairly obvious to you. It seems our pal Zach has a misplaced passion. Granted, he was most likely passionate about the Congregational Care Ministry initially, but it was a misplaced passion. His true passion at that time was simply to get into the ministry. Now that he is in the role, he sees that his real gift, his sweet spot if you will, is working with youth and delivering the Gospel to them. It allows him to be Zach.
This is a classic example of the need to Coach Over. When you find someone on your staff who is not performing to the level you feel they should be, the immediate answer should not be to simply get them out of the position through termination or Coaching Out. Sometimes, as a Servant Leader, we need to have the likeness of Christ who was able to know instinctly which of his disciples should do what. He would not have put Peter in a role to care for the sick because he knew that Peter would be better suited at administration and seeing the big picture. It is not a fault of Peter’s, it is just a fact. Sometimes we have to find our sweet spot in life and work. Some are called to be preachers, others teachers, some prophets, etc. Christ has a distinct role for everyone He calls into the ministry, but sometimes, the shepherd of the flock needs to be able to discern how and where someone should minister.
If you find yourself with a similiar situation, I would strongly urge you to take a moment and watch your team interact with each other, and act in their role. Are they passionate, unyielding at times? Or are they drained and distracted easily. Christ put you in church leadership for a reason. Chances are, you had a leader or a mentor who saw that unique quality in you and brought you under their wing. It’s time you do the same.
If you would like some more information or help with this topic, please feel free to contact me via email or by visiting Christian Management Consulting. Our team has a lot of experience placing and developing individuals and will be excited to work with you on your particular need.
Trent Cotton has spent a number of years in management and business consulting. After spending some time in the field, he joined the HR department, beginning in recruiting and eventually serving as the Department Head of HR for one of the major lines of business. With such a varied background, he works to bring all of these together to help churches and other Christian organizations incorporate some common business practices into their ministries to enable them to better serve the Kingdom. He currently owns and operates Christian Management Consulting and also writes a lot on Church Development as a Church Consultant.