Coaching is a Skill Set, Not a Magic Pill

Coaching is a Skill Set, Not a Magic Pill

Coaching skills can be learned and put into practice. I´m finding this approach works well with this generation of digital relationships.


What would happen if …

My leadership style has been so transformed by coach training. So, I wondered what would happen if I taught basic coaching concepts to small group leaders in our church?

I launched the idea to our weary leaders and they all readily agreed to go for it. The next step was figuring out the essence of what brought transformation in my own leadership style and relationships. Here’s what I came up with:

Key Concepts

  • Authenticity – instead of “holding down the fort”, “hanging on”, or responding with “glory to God, in Him I have the victory!”, we all needed a good dose of authenticity. We had to learn how to share victories, failure and needs in a way that invited others to freely express themselves in return. It took several risky practice sessions but finally a new sense of openness and encouragement began to bloom.
  • Open questions – The next skill-set we tackled was how not to turn our home groups into a Bible study, group counseling session, or even a mini-church service. One leader-trainee was moved to tears by having someone ask questions and actually listen to her responses!
  • The Heart of a Coach – imitating the heart of Jesus. Together we considered how God is already moving and working in whoever we engage in conversation. By believing they are capable of hearing and obeying what God is saying to them, we empower others to trust God instead of merely following our advice.
  • OREO feedback – We taught them how to self-praise, self-correct, and plan together as a team – how to affirm positive things happening in the group more than analyzing what is going wrong and trying to correct out of our weakness. This has created an excitement and initiative on the part of the leaders to keep ambience, questions, and listening skills intentional each week.

We began weekly lunch meetings because practicing these skills became more and more exciting. Learning to live in an authentic way, to listen and ask more questions and have others believe in you was so sweet. We wanted to take that experience to the small groups we all were leading.


In just a few weeks we were getting reports from our small groups: a young man we´d never met before rededicated his life to the Lord! A woman living in an abusive relationship was able to share her story and feel supported and accepted. She later broke off the relationship and is headed out to a discipleship school for 6 months!

A new person showed up and easily joined in the family ambience. Upon leaving the meeting she commented, “what´s going on here? I found myself sharing intimate details of my life story, and I had only wanted to sit back and observe!” She has become a member of the church and is leading another ministry.

Non-Christian friends are being invited into the groups and they are finding a place where they can observe Christianity in all its authenticity and they like it! Our groups doubled in the first 3 months I think because others began to see what was happening and wanted in on the “real thing!”

Get some training and put it into practice in every area of your life and watch the fruit multiply!

by Patricia Clewett, Leadership Coach & Coach. Bi-Lingual missionary to Spain, living in Barcelona for more than 20 years. Mother of 4 adult children. Married to the same man since 1978. Certified Professional Coach of cross-cultural and leadership coaching experience. Completed 3-year training including LCT 1 and MCT levels I and II. Now Completing Apprenticeship to train other coaches in the Spanish Speaking World.

My Team Mate is so Annoying!

My Team Mate is so Annoying!

Where “real” growth happens

A coaching client recently confided, “What I really need to talk about today is my teammate. He is so annoying!” I smiled on the inside. First, I was just glad she was being “real”. As she is relatively new to coaching, that meant she was trusting me with her true heart and feelings. So that was a “win”.

I love honesty. It is a highly valued commodity in a coaching conversation. If we are only coaching around surface stuff, so what. But when coaching gets to the heart of the matter, well that is exciting. That is where real growth and life change happens.

“Annoying” teammates are a normal part of the package

We all have different personalities and life experiences we carry with us to the field. All of us in cross cultural work have at times either had someone annoy us royally or we may have been the “sandpaper” in someone else’s life. I applauded my client for her honesty. Then I asked, …

How annoying is he?

What a gift that she could “dump” what she needed to in a safe place with no judgement, negative ramifications, or potential backlash. All the while she kept saying, “I know I can’t change him. I know it is me that needs to change.”

I listened. I heard her perspective. I noticed how in some ways he reminded her of her mother! I validated her feelings.

I asked more questions to better understand her relationship or lack thereof. Both were recent to the field, but he had a pre-existing relationship with the only other couple on the team from previously serving together in a different country.

She was the most recent to arrive and though everyone had been “nice”, there had been no real intentional team building exercises or conversations because they were waiting for yet another future team mate to arrive.


My client was ‘stuck in the yuk’ of needing connections that didn’t seem natural or normal yet. How could she move forward without seeming ungrateful or like a complainer?

We explored options. My client knows she has introverted tendencies and over analyzes sometimes. The idea emerged that she could take initiative by asking the teammate questions. She quickly decided against that, “Then he will think I am interested in him from a romantic standpoint. And I definitely am not wanting to give that impression.” So what can she do?

Wading through the messiness

As we waded through the messiness, I eventually threw out a challenge. What would happen I wondered if she just decided to pray for this teammate each day for a week, asking God for a single word each day as a focus? (Wow, the things God uses to grow us as people of prayer). She accepted.

During the week, I got a frantic email. She shared some of the “words” and asked, “Could this really be God speaking?” The list was strange at first, as the “words” she got seemed random and disjointed.

However, if she were making up the words herself, they would have sounded orderly and logical. I encouraged her not to try to decipher their meaning, but just be faithful to pray using them, trusting that God knew what her teammate needed.

Progress check

By the next coaching call, she reported that her teammate seemed strangely less annoying. She decided she wanted to pray this way for the others on the team as well.

As a good coach, I’ll be asking again about how that is going next time we talk. The dynamics of this team will hopefully develop in a strong and positive direction in time, but at least for now, we have one team member who is becoming a teammate who prays.

Questions for Reflection:
– How do you deal with the “annoying” person in your life?
– Do you have a safe place to process your challenges?

Coaching is the art of asking questions that help a person discover deeper insights, greater awareness and the opportunity to live more fully the life they were meant to live. Learn more about what Coaching or Coach Training could do for you!

sherri-dodd-100by Sherri Dodd, PCC, Founder, and CEO of Advance Global Coaching. She is a career missionary, ministry leader and an ICF Professional Certified Coach. She has a passion to see cross cultural workers thrive, not just survive. She has been coaching professionally since 2003 and enjoys coming alongside those who are venturing out by faith into new ministry territory.  Learn more about Sherri and Advance Global Coaching