6 Critical Signs It’s Time To Seek Coaching
By: Holly Tate
One of my favorite times of the year here at Vanderbloemen is when we host our Executive Pastor and Senior Pastor Coaching Networks. I love hearing from these talented groups of leaders about how God is moving in their church and what is on the horizon for their teams.
In the last session we had, I asked many of the pastors why they chose to come to the coaching network and what they hoped to get out of it. I’ve compiled a list of the six most common reasons I heard why the pastors came to be a part of our coaching group.
1. You feel like you’ve hit a ceiling.
You’re a human, which means you have both strengths and weaknesses. Wouldn’t it be awesome if we were all great at everything?
Since that’s impossible, there will come a time when you hit a ceiling in your ministry role. You might be thriving in your role leading your church of 100, 500, or 1000 now, but when you hit that next growth barrier, it might be harder than you think to get past it, and that’s okay.
Great leaders aren’t great because they’re awesome at everything. They are great because they know their own weaknesses and know when to ask for help. If you feel like you’ve currently hit a ceiling and want help learning to lead through it, seek out a coaching network that can guide, support, and encourage you along the way.
2. You love your job but you feel burnt-out.
We all have stories of pastor friends that have resigned because they were tired and burned out. The reality is that we’re all likely to face burnout at some point in ministry, because it’s the most taxing vocation there is.
When a pastor resigns from burnout, it’s often because they felt like they couldn’t ask for help. Being a pastor can feel lonely, and it’s important that every pastor has a peer group they can reach out to for support in the good times and the bad to spot signs of burnout before it’s all consuming.
3. You know you’re stuck in the weeds & need help getting out.
I meet way too many Executive Pastors and Senior Pastors who are stuck in the weeds of their ministry and feel like they are spinning their wheels. When I ask them, “Why are you managing that project as the Senior Pastor?” the answer is often, “There’s no one else to do it.”
I see this the most when it’s a founding Senior/Lead Pastor or a Senior Pastor who has been promoted from a subordinate role like an Associate Pastor or Student Pastor role. In subordinate roles, you’re often the one catching the vision and executing it through programs, ministries, outreach, and discipleship. As an executor of vision, you have to be in the weeds. So the transition from doer to delegator can be a tough one.
I believe a huge difference maker between a good leader and an excellent leader is effective delegation. I’m not just talking about delegating tasks. Anyone can assign or delegate tasks. I’m talking about delegating responsibilities, which pushes authority down through the organization. It’s a normal thing to struggle with the transition from doer to delegator. It often takes someone with an outside perspective to help you see what authority you need to be delegating to make room for you to stop working “in the church” and start working “on the church.”
4. Ministry growth has been stagnant.
Every ministry has its ups and downs. You might be in a season of growth, a season of steadiness, or a season of decline. And growth doesn’t always mean attendance. It can mean an increase in baptisms, small groups, or disciple-making disciples in your church.
Whatever thriving looks like for your ministry, if you’re in a season of stagnation, that’s a great time to join a coaching group to get ideas on how to overcome your ministry challenges and hear from others about what they are learning in the trenches of ministry.
5. You feel like you’re too busy to focus on continuing education.
I was talking with a pastor recently about coaching, and he said, “I’m just too busy to take the 3 days out of my schedule to commit to coaching right now.” It’s often our busiest times when we’re most in need of coaching because we’re moving so fast that we’re not managing our time well or taking an intentional step back to assess progress.
If you’re feeling overwhelmed by busy-ness, this might be the perfect time for you to block intentional time out on your schedule to step out of the weeds and receive coaching on blind spots and potential roadblocks ahead.
6. Everything is going great but you want to be challenged.
Many times we only seek counseling, mentorship, or coaching when things aren’t going the way we’ve planned. When things are going great, we feel on top of the world and like nothing can bring us down.
However, some of the greatest leaders I know seek coaching in the good times because they know there’s always more they can learn and they want to be challenged to continually lead better. So don’t overlook a coaching opportunity when things are going great. It might be the perfect time for you to be challenged to take your ministry to the next level.