Coaching Skills for Challenging Times

How the Coaching Course from Innovista and Praxis is equipping leaders to equip others

“I have learned to help people think about how to resolve their issues rather than me suggesting solutions for them”. Tawanda Sungai, Methodist Minister

In Ephesians 4 Paul states that the purpose of the leadership gifts in the church is to equip the saints for acts of service. I vividly remember one church pastor sharing that he wasn’t trained for 70% of what he did. Equipping and enabling people to discern, discover and practice their gifting and calling as part of God’s mission requires a range of skills. The arrival of Covid-19, lockdowns and constant change has reinforced our conviction that one of those key skills is coaching. From my own experience of being coached via video 11 years ago (Skype in those days) I know the gift coaching can be – being given space to think and process, having someone listen and ask questions that help you to gain insights and to move forward. Over the past few years we have begun to put greater emphasis on coaching, offering coaching to leaders after training sessions. This year in partnership with Praxis and facilitator Matthew Broderick we ran our first Coaching Course to equip leaders with coaching skills for these challenging times.

Coaching Course

Our original plan of running the course as five day-long workshops quickly shifted with the onset of the pandemic and we adapted to run it online, experimenting with some new tools. Thirteen church and ministry leaders made up our pilot course over ten morning sessions. We covered coaching skills such as the art of listening, the power of questions, coaching with emotional intelligence, developing your coaching toolkit and more.

Half of these sessions were coaching ‘triads’ – opportunities to practice coaching, be coached and to learn by observation. In their evaluation at the end several participants commented on how useful they found the triads. They appreciated the opportunity to put into practice the skills they were learning and also having a space where they could experience coaching… A reminder of the value of learning by doing and of the value of coaching itself for leaders!

“My conversations with people have fundamentally changed from advice-giver to questioner and enquirer.”  Sahr Yambasu, President of the Methodist Church in Ireland

“The idea that the brain that contains the problem is the brain that will find the solution has been a major shift in how I think about ‘helping’ people. This has been particularly impactful in my role as a workshop facilitator.” Katie Lynch, Tearfund Ireland

“It has helped my communication skills and my care of volunteers.” Jonathan Douglas, Team Hope

“The Coaching Course has helped me manage people better.” Debbie Muresan, Business Owner and Church Leader

After the success of the first pilot course, and again partnering with Matthew and Praxis a second Coaching Course started, again online, in spring 2021.

“Coaching frees you from the unnecessary burden of finding solutions for other people’s problems.
It teaches you to listen and listen well
It reminds you of your equal humanity with those who come to you looking for help with their problems.
It teaches you humility – minimizing yourself and allowing others to increase.
You learn a huge amount about your strengths, but more so your weaknesses, in the process.
The satisfaction of being a midwife in the birthing process of a life-giving and restoring solution for another person.”

Sahr Yambasu, President of the Methodist Church in Ireland

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