Below is a meditation on coaching missional leaders that I originally published in Christian Coaching Magazine. As I think back on it, the material seems even more relevant now.
More and more of my coaching lately has involved coming alongside missional leaders. Over the last few years, I’ve seen a dramatic increase in the number of leaders who want to move in this direction. What does it mean to be missional?
Lived out, missionality can have many different forms and structures. A missional end is a goal that is kingdom-focused, a goal that involves being the hands and feet of Jesus, living out his message in a compassionate, incarnational way to the world around us. That’s what it means to be missional. What then does missional coaching mean?
What is missional coaching?
Missional coaching is coaching with a missional end in mind. Because of course—as is the case in any good coaching—it’s the client’s goal that matters. The coach’s goal is always to help the client reach the client’s goal. It’s about serving them—not about putting forth our own agenda as a coach. The missional end must be of the client’s own choosing and fully owned by them.
As we come alongside leaders with missional goals, we engage in missional coaching. The core process of coaching is the same. Certainly there are adaptations we need to make as we coach people toward a particular end, but the essentials of coaching remain the same. As we coach missional leaders, we help them expresses their desire to work in a missional way, to clarify their values, what they’re trying to accomplish, and how they live that out.
Missional is coaching with a missional end in mind. That’s how missional coaching differs from other coaching– it differs in the goal.
So then if we are a coach—whether a professional coach who wants to work with missional leaders or a ministry leader who coaches in the context of our role—what does that mean for us? What’s important for the coach to know and to practice when engaging with someone who is using missional language and terms? How can we best come alongside of missional leaders to help them? If we want to work with missional leaders, there are some implications we’ll need to be aware of.