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Coaching Better Small Group Leaders

As a leader you are responsible for the development of those under your care.  But sometimes due to the nature of your schedule or physical proximity you find it impossible to actually observe the person you’re responsible for overseeing.  So how can you “critique them” or “coach them” if you never have the chance to observe them.  Admittedly this is not the ideal situation but it’s many leaders reality. So what do you do?

I’ve found that while all of us have our blind-spots, most people do a fairly good job at self-evaluation. (There are exceptions)  So if you find yourself in this less than ideal situation ask them to self-assess.  Here are a few questions you can use as you coach them.

  • What do you feel you’re doing best in your current position?
  • What strengths are you currently using to help you achieve your results?
  • What strength could you focus on developing that would make you 20% more effective?
  • What are 2-3 things you would like to do better?
  • What do you think others on your team would say you do best?
  • What do you think others on your team would say you need to improve?
  • If you could change one aspect of your leadership what would it be and why?
  • What are the three skills you feel you need in order to be most successful in your role?  How would you rate yourself on each of those using an A, B, C, D or F grading scale.

As the individual answers these types of questions it then gives you the opportunity to share your opinion based on what you perceive.  While you may not see them in action on a regular basis, you certainly see or feel the results of what they’re doing.

Again I want to emphasize the ideal situation is for you as the leader to observe and give positive and constructive feedback based on what you witnessed.  But when that’s impossible, your best option is to trust that people are actually pretty good as self-assessment.

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Mac Lake is the Development Pastor at Seacoast Church, a multi-site church with 13 campuses, where he oversees leadership development, small groups, missions, communications, and internships. He is a popular church leadership conference speaker and the author of the training resource Growing Small Group Leaders. Learn more from Mac at MacLakeOnline.com.