Partnering in ministry is essential. But sometimes our ministry team can look like the The Bad News Bears because of disorganization and untapped talents and gifts. That’s why this week’s tip is to coach your team well. We’ve even provided a few practical ways to coach well below. With a basic playbook, you can become a better coach and help others become better coaches (and players), too.
1. Set high expectations. We shy away from putting “too much” on our volunteers, but people want to be part of something significant. They want to know what they’re doing matters.
2. Know your players. Coaching is more than standing on the sidelines and yelling instructions to the players. A good coach knows the players’ strengths, weaknesses, and struggles in order to help everyone work well together.
3. Avoid comparisons. Comparisons lead to feelings of inadequacy and superiority. Build up the team as a whole but also encourage and challenge individuals, appreciating them for their uniqueness and equipping them to grow into their capabilities.
4. Be authentic. Let people know you, including mistakes and struggles. People aren’t looking for perfect leaders, because they can’t personally relate or measure up to perfection.
5. Ask for input. Gather ideas and feedback from the people you coach. Give them the opportunity to invest in the team.
6. Plan ahead. There’s a lot of planning and preparing that goes into a game, but the game is a fraction of the time spent together as a team. Grow through the ups and downs of the planning process instead of focusing on the outcome.
7. Take the lead. Be the leader you want each of your team members to be. Model healthy confrontation, initiative, and humility.
8. Appreciate effort. Look past the “success” or “failure” and acknowledge people’s efforts. People often put in the same amount of time in both situations, regardless of the outcome.
9. Choose words well. Replace “I don’t think…” and “You shouldn’t…” with “What if we tried to…,” “Maybe you could…,” or “Another option might be…” Negatives put people on the defensive. Your goal is to work alongside people.
10. Celebrate. Remember trips to the ice cream shop or pizza place after the game, whether you won or lost? Celebrations can be simple and occasional. If you celebrate too often, it’s not as special. Surprise your team!
What are some of your favorite ways to be a great coach for your leadership team? Share in the comments below!