What does it take to be a missional coach? What sets missional coaches apart from any other kind of coach? This week I’m doing a series on the five missional coach competencies—one per day. These represent the areas that a good missional coach must be competent in, over and above the competencies all quality coaches must possess.

Let’s say you’re working in a missional church plant, still relatively small at this stage. One of the core team members you’ve recently begun coaching is Donna, a waitress and single mother. She has been praying and is feeling a burden on her heart to reach out to the prostitutes that work her part of the city. She can feel God’s love for them, but isn’t sure how best to communicate that. As her coach, you want to help her give her shape and structure to her work.

In this situation, one of the important missional coach competencies you’ll want to draw on is creative contextualization. Creative contextualization is the capacity for outside-the-box thinking about what kind of approaches will work in a particular context. As a coach you’ll need to help the missional leader you’re working with think through options and ideas that may be less-than-traditional. Intercultural dynamics must be taken into account, and the coach must resist putting forth ready-made solutions that were designed to work in different situations. Through creative contextualization, a leader can visualize clear paths for building missional community and create a workable action plan for moving forward.

One of the primary skills that a coach will use in this competency is asking good questions to help the missional leader explore their context and brainstorm possible solutions. Questions a coach might ask Donna include, “Where are some natural environments where you might build relationships with prostitutes?” “Who could you talk to to find out more about their needs?”