Do We Really Need Another Helping Skill?
BY SCOTT GRESS
Editor’s note: the following blog post is guest-written by Rev. Scott Gress, LCMS pastor and author of A Christian Coaching Guidebook, How to Come Alongside Others For Ministry Results. He will be leading a 16-hour training opportunity at Concordia Seminary, St. Louis, on August 13-15, 2018.
I think we’ve already got most everything covered. In the church today we have pastors and teachers. In theological education there were professors who taught us and modeled the faith. Our vicarage supervisors were mentors as they shared from their experience and wisdom. Then sometimes our circuit visitors or district staff come in as consultants or advisors. We may even hire other consultants who will gather data and give recommendations to us and our congregations. Sometimes we may even seek the support and help of a good counselor. Many of us fill these roles and help in these ways. Do we really need another helping skill?
Not to mention the conferences and internet resources that give us even more information about helping. There are authors and speakers and thought leaders who can give us even more insight. It seems as if we’ve got most everything covered. What more do we need?
We probably don’t need more information. We probably don’t need another person to tell us what to do or how to do it. Yet it seems as if there is something more or something else that will help us to make a difference and be a better steward of what God has given. What could that be?
The reality is that people often don’t do what they are told to do. We see this when we tell our volunteers, staff, or even ourselves to do something. At times they just don’t listen just like we don’t listen. Those words may be from our doctor or our supervisor, our spouse or parents, or even our Savior! We have to admit we sometimes resist doing what we’re told. Let’s call it, “Romans 7 syndrome.” So what’s the answer? How do we help people do what is important to do?
We need another way to help where we won’t be telling people what to do. We need to help them tell themselves what to do. What we need is the helping skill called coaching.
Coaching requires a servant mindset. A coach has an attitude that believes the other person is capable in Christ. As a result, they as the coach don’t have to be the hero. They can bring their skills of listening and asking good questions through a Socratic dialogue to help the person move forward. It is not manipulation but rather a way to help others to focus, to come to new or renewed awareness, determine options, and design actions. It doesn’t replace pastoral care or preaching or teaching. It is instead a way of customizing working with people to help them move forward with their God given gifts and motivation. It is for leaders, supervisors, pastors, professional church workers, and anyone who wants to assist in another’s development.
Rev. Scott Gress will lead the training workshop “Leadership Training and Coaching” at Concordia Seminary, St. Louis, on August 13-15, 2018. We invite you to join us for this active learning experience. Online registration is now open. Space is limited. For more information, please contact Continuing Education at [email protected] or 314-505-7286.
Dave Poedel June 18, 2018
Is this like what we in the Church used to call Spiritual Direction? It seems that the current occupant of that place in Rome is encouraging this, probably a function of his Ignatian formation. Is this another of those secular concepts applied to the Church when the Church has lots of experience in this kind of thing? Oh, is it because we’re not “Catholic”? I think 500 years is ample time to move on and perhaps recover something the Church already possesses. Just saying…..