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May 26, 2016

Why Having a Coach Matters

By Daniel Im

*Plus Members can watch this entire Webinar by logging in and clicking here.

In Search of a Coach

It’s not strange to hear of people who hire a life, workout, or sports coach in an effort to increase their productivity, enhance their health, or sharpen their skills. Coaches can play a huge role in a person’s development. In fact, I know first-hand how coaches can be a motivator and mentor that enhance the productivity and skills of their pupil. For instance, there were a few coaches during my teenage years of playing competitive sports that helped shape me as a person and a player.

In the church realm, the whole notion of a enlisting a coach is a growing practice. Ed and I recently connected with Scott Thomas, author of Gospel Coach and the Associate National Director of C2C Church Planting Network, who advocates that every church planter needs a one-on-one coach for their life, ministry, and family.

In this short post I want to answer three questions regarding searching for a coach, which Scott covered in our Q&A Webinar.

1. Why leaders should look for a coach?

Anyone who has ever been in church leadership knows ministry not only has highs, but also lows. They have experienced loneliness, isolation, the Monday-morning blues, attacks, disappointments, setbacks, frustrations, and mission-drift. But it’s not only ministry pressures that church leaders (and especially church planters) face, they also face the pressures of juggling their family, health, and their own spiritual vitality.

In light of the various responsibilities that church leaders juggle, a coach can ask the tough questions regarding a leader’s character, integrity, marriage, and family. In asking the tough questions they can also help steer, direct, and guide the leader to making wiser, godlier, and healthier decisions that enhance their lives, marriages, families, and ministries. In addition, they can also aid in helping the leader stay on task in leading their respective churches in their mission, vision, structure, and strategy. As Scott noted, the research speaks for itself in that those who have coaches tend to be healthier than those who don’t.

2. What kind of coach should leaders look for?

If coaches can help enhance the overall health of a leader, what kind of coach should pastors and planters look for? Scott provides three questions leaders should ask when searching for a coach.

First, do they care about me? You don’t want to find an impersonal coach that doesn’t care for you as a person. Also, you don’t want to find a coach that cares more about reliving their glory days through you.

Second, are they trustworthy? Can you trust them with sensitive information? Do you trust them to give you sound, godly, and wise advice? If you don’t trust them, then you probably won’t listen to them.

Third, is this someone who can help me? Do they have the expertise that can help move me from here to there? While there are times where enlisting a coach from a different arena or vocation may be helpful, the key is to find a coach that understands you and what you do so that they can give sound counsel to make you more effective and efficient.

Leaders who find a coach that cares about them, who are trustworthy, and who understand the person (personally and vocationally) find a good and beneficial thing that God will use to make them more faithful and fruitful.

To read the final question regarding searching for a coach and to listen to the entire Webinar with Scott Thomas—that also includes him answering various questions about leadership and church planting—click here for the full video and post.

This video is part of Plus Membership, so to get full access to it, and much more, I encourage you to become a Plus Member. Click here to see all the benefits of becoming a Plus Member.


  • Enlisting a coach is a growing trend in the church realm.
  • The research speaks for itself in that those who have coaches tend to be healthier than those who don’t. @scottythom
  • Three Q’s leaders should ask when searching for a coach—Do they care about me? Are they trustworthy? Can they help me?
  • Regardless of the coaching model, the key is for the coaching relationship to have clear expectations, be consistent, & be intentional.
  • “You can’t have a casual conversation over coffee and say that you just received coaching.” @scottythom
  • Every planter (and pastor) should have a coach; but not only should they have one, they should be one. @scottythom


Daniel Im

Daniel Im (@danielsangi) is the Director of Church Multiplication for NewChurches.com at LifeWay Christian Resources. He is a Teaching Pastor at The Fellowship, a multisite church in Nashville. He is the author of No Silver Bullets: Five Small Shifts that will Transform Your Ministry, and co-author of Planting Missional Churches: Your Guide to Starting Churches that Multiply (2nd ed) with Ed Stetzer. He also co-hosts the New Churches Q&A Podcast, the 5 Leadership Questions Podcast, and a brand new podcast with his wife on marriage and parenting called the IMbetween Podcast. He has an M.A. in Global Leadership and has served and pastored in church plants and multisite churches ranging from 100 people to 50,000 people in Vancouver, Ottawa, Montreal, Korea, Edmonton, and Nashville. Visit Danielim.com to learn more.


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