OgnTran 10-02-019

TransforMissional Coaching

Empowering Leaders in a Changing Ministry World


Steve Ogne & Tim Roehl

B&H Publishing Group, 2008, 286 pp.  ISBN 978-0-8054-4781-1


Steve Ogne is a church planting trainer, coach and consultant for Church Resource Ministries (CRM).  Tim Roehl is the Director of Harvest Ministries for The Evangelical Church and leads the A*C*T*S Innovation Team for CRM.  Transformissional coaching is coaching for transformation and missional ministry.  The focus is on coaching pastors, church planters, and missionaries for effective ministry-in-community and church-planting.  The core of coaching is proactive, caring listening and effective questioning.  Special attention is given to coaching young, postmodern leaders and coaching teams.  Personal application questions conclude each chapter.  The book has a very nice collection of coaching questions.


Chapter 1. TransforMission: Ministry and Mission in a Changing World

“Coaching, as we see it, enables transformation, which in turn leads to missional ministry.” (7)  We must address the cultural change from a modern to a postmodern worldview.  “The North American church is in trouble because it has lost its purpose, its place, and its passion.” (9) 


The authors characterize three mission models.  The Traditional Evangelicals focused primarily overseas.  Practical Evangelicals focused on attracting the unchurched.  Younger Evangelicals engage the culture on its own turf. 


“Today’s culture wants to experience relationships and evangelism in the context of spiritual community—where people can experience Christ and Christians together in close, authentic relationships in the midst of normal, difficult lives.  These communities are focused on experiencing faith—vicariously at first through believers, then gradually on their own as they experience God and come to faith.  They see ‘coming to faith’ as a process not an event.  They place higher value on experiencing God than on knowing about Him.  Understanding comes with experience not before.”  (13) 


Transformissional leaders are “not content only to bring people to faith; they must engage the culture and meet needs, serve and strengthen communities, strengthen schools and other community structures, as well as engage in political agendas as necessary.” (14)


“The transformissional church requires a new kind of leader, a leader who engages the surrounding culture for the sake of the gospel.  In that sense he is a cross-cultural missionary.”  (16)  The pastor’s leadership is validated by spiritual formation, authentic community and engaging culture.  Ministry equipping will be “just in time, on the job, on the Internet, in the church, and in the trenches.” (19) 


Chapter 2. TransforMissional Coaching: Coaching the Whole Leader

Tim uses C.O.A.C.H. as an acronym.  A coach

Comes alongside

Observes carefully

Ask questions wisely

Communicates options and resources

Holds accountable (and cares for the Heart) 


Definition: “Coaches help people develop their God-given potential so that they grow personally and make a valuable contribution to the kingdom of God.” (26) 


Coaching is relational, incarnational, practical, holistic, contextual, missional, flexible and cross-cultural.  (27-8)  These characteristics are important for younger leaders because they often resist paradigms focused on performance, productivity, effectiveness and other business models.  They want to live authentically and incarnationally.  This new coaching focuses on clarifying the call, cultivating character, creating community and connecting with the secular culture in a redemptive way. (29)


Many Christian leaders have no one holding them accountable for spiritual formation even though living out spiritual disciplines is essential for ministry effectiveness and spiritual protection.  “Young and postmodern leaders often come to ministry as broken people, with visible character needs right up front.”  “Authenticity is a high value for them, which often includes being authentically bad as well as being authentically good.” (33-4) 


Frequent character issues include a compulsive need to control, a narcissistic need to enhance their image, paranoid suspicion of others, a codependent need to please, or passive-aggressive tendencies to resist demands.  Coaching these leaders can be very difficult. (35-6)  Coaches help leaders reflect on Scripture and measure their character accordingly as well as cultivating accountability relationships.


The community is strongest when the purpose is beyond the group.  But this kind of community can be messy.  High expectations breed conflict and disappointment.  The coach must be hospitable and vulnerable.  (41-2) 


Good questions in regard to calling, character, community, and culture are listed on p. 49.  Personal application questions on p. 50.


Chapter 3. It’s Biblical: Equipping the Saints for Ministry

Jethro coached Moses.  “Wisdom comes from the ministry of others as they listen, challenge, encourage, and sharpen us.” (57)  Barnabas fits the picture of a coach.  “The great leader is not the one in the spotlight.  He’s the one leading the applause.” (63)


Chapter 4. Coaching Works: On the Job, in the Field, and in the Church

Benefits of coaching:

  1. A coach helps us discover our blind spots by asking good questions.
  2. A coach provides a safe, compassionate, confidential environment for venting your frustrations.
  3. A coach gives a reality check, helping us get perspective.
  4. A coach helps improve our effectiveness.
  5. A coach helps with solving problems and resolving conflict.
  6. A coach is a comforter and advocate.
  7. A coach helps leaders plan and execute.


Chapter 5. Getting Started: Initiating a Coaching Relationship

“The more you know the person you’re going to coach, the more informal and fluid the process of beginning a coaching relationship.  The less you know the person, the more formal and intentional you’ll need to be….” (87) 


The first key is the “chemistry,” which includes affinity (likeability), coachability (respect), and family (the leader’s relationships with God and family).


The second key is to know your leader.  Do a formal or informal assessment of the person’s past, character and personal walk, gift mix, sense of call and passion, personality, leadership and conflict resolution patterns, and competency.


The third key is to clarify expectations and roles, including shared values, schedule of communication, and dealing with potential conflict.


The fourth key is to confirm the arrangements (contract).   A sample contract is given on pp. 98-99.


Chapter 6. G.R.O.W. and Flow: Two Approaches to Coaching Conversations

Seven skills or habits are essential.

  1. Listen. 
  2. Care.  Take time.  Care personally, prayerfully, and appropriately.
  3. Celebrate the positive. Encourage.   
  4. Strategize.  Assist the leader in developing a strategy for overcoming roadblocks, optimizing resources, ordering priorities, and executing.
  5. Train.  Teach information and demonstrate skills as appropriate.
  6. Disciple.  Help them grow personally, spiritually, in character, and balance.
  7. Challenge.  Evaluate effectiveness; hold accountable; constructively challenge; and confront behavior and performance when needed.   


G.R.O.W. – A strategic planning approach.  (Source: Coaching for Performance by John Whitmore).  This is a business-type approach designed for productivity and may seem a bit mechanical. 


Goal.  Establish the Goal, the purpose or issue for focus prior to the appointment.


Reality.  Push past perception to a clear picture of Reality – what is really happening.  Ask questions that probe for facts and descriptive answers.  A list of questions is suggested.  Ask open questions using probing words (what, when, who, where, how many).  By skillful and sensitive probing, develop a clear picture that may lead to an “aha,” or “uh-oh” moment. 


Options.  Guide the leader to discern and discover Options.  Avoid telling.  Help them recognize false assumptions and ask “what if” questions to help derive possible action options.  The goal is divine creativity.  “What else?” is frequently a good follow-up question.


What to do.  The loop to action and creativity is closed when the leader decides the specific actions steps or What to do.  Several questions dealing with what, where, and who can help to clarify action points.  It is important to leave the ball in the leader’s hands, not yours. 


Excellent action steps are suggested for the coach before the appointment, at the beginning of the appointment, through the appointment and bridging to the next appointment. (114-15)


The “4D Flow” Approach by Steve Ogne is more relational, flexible, and spiritually sensitive. 

Discern where God is working.  Enter the leader’s world in personal care, affirmation, sensitive listening, and prayer.  Seek what God is up to.


Discover how the leader wants you to participate.  Ask good probing questions that may lead to moments of discovery.


Develop the next steps.  Help the leader begin to construct a practical plan of action using a variety of good questions suggested. (117) 


Depend on God and others.  Pray about your conversation; reflect on lessons learned.  Ask who else is needed and how intercessors will be informed.  Finish with follow-up and accountability.


Chapter 7. Listening First: He Who Speaks without Listening…

Most ministry training is geared toward telling.  We would do well to emphasize listen, reflect, and ask. (123)  Your top priority is to become a great listener.  “Empathetic listening makes a major contribution to a person’s emotional bank account.  People want to be heard.” (124)  Listening also stimulates a learning posture.  “Listening has a great ‘reflecting’ quality that often brings a lucid perspective to situations.”  (126) 


How to listen:

  • Listen intentionally, to understand.  Work hard at it.
  • Listen at least 70% of the time.  Maybe 80%.
  • Start with the other person’s world instead of your own.
  • Listen to tone of voice and body language
  • Don’t be afraid of silence.
  • Listen for “aha” or “uh-oh” moments.  These are turning points.


“A good listener is not only popular everywhere, but after a while he knows something.” (131, quoting Wilson Mizner)


“You cannot truly listen to anyone and do anything else at the same time.” (131, quoting M. Scott Peck)


“An essential part of true listening is the discipline of bracketing, the temporary giving up or setting aside of one’s own prejudices, frames of reference, and desires so as to experience as far as possible the speaker’s world from the inside, step inside his or her shoes.” (135, quoting M. Scott Peck)


Chapter 8. Asking Questions: The Flip Side of Great Listening

“Telling saves people from having to think.  Asking questions causes them to think for themselves.” (143, quoting John Whitmore)


“Our goal as coaches is not to assume and provide answers…--it is to put healthy pressure on the leaders to think and discover the solutions in their situations. … Great questions can intentionally and deliberately guide a conversation to a point of self-discovery and accompanying accountability that best serve the leader.” (145) 


Three kinds of questions: information, awareness (intended to lead to “aha” or “uh-oh”), and action (What will you do next?). 


Great questions are easily understood, answered briefly, open-ended, encourage thought and reflection, enable self-disclosure, and do not manipulate.  Good list of sample questions for calling, character, community, and culture on pp. 151-158 plus 99 great coaching questions on pp. 159-163. 


Chapter 9. Sharpening the Arrow: Coaching Leaders from the Inside Out

Ministry should flow from the inside out.  For too many leaders “the urgent crowds out the essential.  Doing ignores being.  Developing skills becomes more important than shaping character.” (171)  “Ministry failure most often results from character and inner-life deficiency….”  (180) 


The coach’s path to help people in crisis or pain is to listen, learn, love, and lead.  Ten good questions are listed. (184-85)


Chapter 10.  Coaching with Style: Adapting Coaching to Leadership Styles

This chapter helps coaches adapt their natural pattern to the personality and profile of the leader.


Chapter 11. Coaching the Young and the Restless: The Challenge of Empowering Postmodern Leaders

These leaders may not be stimulated by visions, goals and strategies.  They seek relationship, proximity, and affinity from coaches.  They require motivation by caring, showing the benefit for them, and making play out of work.  They learn primarily from experience, such as participation on the job.  You cannot assume a basic knowledge of Scripture and good moral character so a coach must take time to help cultivate a biblical character in the leader.  They appreciate values more than vision, authenticity more than quality, relationships more than programs, and ministry to the community more than attracting people to church.  Success is judged more by feelings than objective results and by anecdotes more than numbers.  A coach must help them accomplish something while they are having a good time and understand the realities of mass, momentum, and finance.


They respond better to biblical narrative (stories) rather than management principles.  They need holistic support.  “They need accountability … because most are not highly driven by success and many struggle with focus and motivation.” 


Coaching a postmodern is cross-cultural for a modern coach.  “First you must learn the language, the beliefs, the understandings, and the customs.  Only then are you able to engage in conversation, and even then there may be a learning curve that seems insurmountable.” (228, quoting Bill Tenny-Brittian)


Chapter 12. Coaching Teams: Releasing Potential for Ministry and Mission

There are some significant differences well explained in this chapter.  


Chapter 13.  Character and Credibility: What Give You the Right?

Four essential qualities for a good coach: strong character/active spiritually, personally secure, growing personally and professionally, and integrity in relationships. 



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