3 Marks of Coachable Leaders
I’ve been blessed to coach great leaders who are starting new missional churches around the country. The best leaders are hungry for wisdom and insight! Here are things I’ve noticed in them. Look for these qualities in yourself and other leaders you are trying to add to your team.
1. Coachable leaders get the concept of spiritual authority.
Our world is full of authority based upon titles and position (the boss, the supervisor, my elders). In church work we tend to recognize Christ as our leader and everyone else is just on the same level as we are. But Scripture recognizes leaders based upon their accomplishments, their sufferings, and their character – whether they have a title or not. Good leaders will try something they don’t even want to do out of respect for the one asking them if the asker is one of spiritual authority. Peter was a good leader when he said, “Lord, they aren’t biting tonight; but because you have asked me, I’ll drop the nets again.” It’s no wonder Jesus was willing to entrust so much to Peter. Good leaders have an open spirit to doing hard things when asked by those who have earned the right to ask hard things.
2. Coachable leaders are action-oriented.
Almost all the leaders I work with love discussing their work. Who doesn’t love a good coffee and brainstorming session? The good leaders though are bent toward doing something to show the love of God in a tangible way. In a coaching session I take notes of what I discuss with other leaders. At the bottom of the page is a title labeled “Assignments.” It’s just a list of what the leader has decided he is going to do based upon our coaching time. If that label is left blank, we may have a tremendous discussion, but we have not coached. Leaders catalyze activities. Paul urged a hesitant Timothy to not neglect his leadership giftings and get back to the doing side of his work. Few leaders will build the city of Rome, but all good leaders are active in building something. Do you just want to talk about God or do you want to serve him?
3. Coachable leaders are humble
Regardless of endeavor, being coached can be a brutal exercise. You know the play you want to run. You know the outcome you desire. But somewhere between staring at our phones and parenting our kids, the play you said you would run does not happen. How are you going to respond afterwards when asked, “Say that conversation you said you were going to have, how come that did not happen?” Our response to accountability questions will reveal so much about our maturity. Satan bombards us with shame and criticism constantly. It’s very easy for him to twist a healthy question of accountability into an accusation. Will we puff up with pride or will we own the results of our declarations? This is one of the often overlooked strengths of having Christ inside of us. We no longer have to defend our ego; that is now Jesus’ job. Because of his faithful love we are now free to examine our gaps in follow-through and work on them without fear of condemnation or shame.
So what kind of leader are you: are you easy to talk to or are you quick to cover up? Let’s be an absolute pleasure for Jesus to coach.