Feb 9, 2011

Six great questions to ask leaders

If you’re leading a ministry team at church or advising or encouraging another Christian as they lead in some way (maybe even your spouse or housemate) Dave Ferguson suggest six great questions you can ask in his book  Exponential in a chapter on coaching leaders.   With a little bit of creative application they are really just great questions to ask of any Christian over a cup of coffee!

There is also a certain logic to the questions that Ferguson brings out. Both relationally and theologically it’s important to be asking the right questions and to ask them in the right order.

1. How are you?

Remember, at the heart of effective coaching is a relational investment. We begin every coaching conversation by checking in to see how the person we are coaching is really doing.

2. What are you celebrating?

Moving from ‘How are you?’ to ‘What are you celebrating?’ keeps the tone of the meeting relational and positive. It’s tempting to quickly focus on what’s not working or what is broken. The question keeps the conversation focused on where the leader is feeling successful.

3. What challenges are you experiencing?

You might be thinking, ‘Finally we get to something productive.’ Yes, the previous questions are very relational, but if it helps any, remember that when it comes to coaching, the relationship really is the task. This question gives your leader an opportunity to talk openly about the thing that may need development in his group or team.

4. What do you plan to do about those challenges?

Once a leader has disclosed some areas where he is experiencing some challenges with his life, group, or team, it is tempting to quickly move into fix-it mode and try to offer advice or solve the problem for him. Don’t solve this problem for him. The best way you can serve a leader is to help him tap into the wisdom and insight that God has already given him to deal with whatever situation he is facing. It is the coach’s role to draw those answers or solutions out of the leader.

5. How can I help you?

Finally, the question we’ve been waiting to ask. This is an important question, but if you never get to this question because the leader has already come up with an action plan as you walked through the previous questions, consider yourself an extremely effective coach! There are times when a coach does need to step in and offer whatever assistance is necessary to help a leader in need.

6. How can I pray for you?

The best way to wrap up a coaching conversation is to ask the leader how you can be praying for him. It is also a great opportunity for you, as a coach, to ask the leader to be praying for you. This is one way a coach can help the lader know that this relationship is mutually beneficial. After the leader has had a chance to express some areas where he is need of prayer, take a few moments to pray for the leader and reassure him that you will be praying for him regularly.

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