Tag Archives: coaching

Youth Ministry Coaching Program update

i’m in winston-salem, north carolina at the moment, leading the 5th of 6 meetings with my YMCP cohort here. tomorrow i fly to nashville, for the final meeting of that cohort. my san antonio cohort is halfway done, but will soon be my only current cohort.

as i’ve written here before, i’m looking to launch a few more cohorts this fall. a couple of them are denominational groups, and will be “closed” (in that they pick who’s in them). but i’ve been shooting for a handful of other locations. here’s an update on those:

  • nashville. this cohort looks very likely to fill. i have 5 confirmed (out of 10 spots), and about 8 more people figuring out funding and timing. but, if you’re interested in joining a cohort — this is the one to jump on. i hope to launch this one in late september or early october.
  • canada (vancouver and calgary). i’m still hoping this cohort is going to fill. i’ll be co-leading with matt wilks. we’re on the edge, and need to get a few more participants to make it work. if you’re interested, please contact matt or myself soon!
  • greenwich, CT (NYC). i have 2 confirmed for this one, which i would co-lead with brock morgan. but we’re working on some potential scholarship funding, which could make it possible for a bunch more people. waiting to see if that works out.
  • san diego and atlanta. well, i don’t think these cohorts are going to fill. there doesn’t seem to be enough interest for either of them, unless there’s an unexpected response in the next few weeks.

one of the denom cohorts i’ve been working on is with the evangelical presbyterian church. they’re hoping to launch two cohorts in 2013 — one east of the mississippi, and one west. they put together a video with two senior pastors of previous participants, talking about the experience of their youth pastor. this was shown at the EPC general assembly a few weeks back. nice endorsements!

if you’re interested, please contact me: [email protected] click here for more info.

jeff goins on the youth ministry coaching program

last year, in my first nashville cohort of the youth ministry coaching program, i had a participant who was a little bit of an anomaly. he wasn’t a youth pastor (as most YMCPers are). instead, he was a ministry minded guy who happened to work for a short-term missions organization, trying to connect with youth workers. he boss paid for him to participate in YMCP for a combination of personal growth, and to get a better sense of the real needs of real youth pastors.

i hope we accomplished the 2nd of those goals. i know we saw the first one take place.

jeff goins is a gifted a brilliant leader, writer, and ministry mind. so i was thrilled to fantastic post on the value of coaching (really not about YMCP, but — c’mon — by inference, it is!)


Why You Need a Personal Coaching Program

We weren’t meant to do life alone. Without a good team — and a good coach — we’re left with little direction or guidance.

Many of us have believed the lie of the self-made man or woman. But in order for us to become our best selves, we need a quality support network to challenge, affirm, and empower us.

I just finished up my year of being a part of the Youth Ministry Coaching Program (YMCP). Although I’m not a vocational youth minister, Mark Oestreicher was kind enough to allow me to be a part of his cohort.

It was the best professional and personal development decision I’ve made in a long time. Maybe ever.

I thought I’d sit in a lot of long meetings that would be informative, but relatively boring. I should’ve known better.

I was blown away by times of teaching, prayer, and personal sharing. I connected with the other ten members of this group in ways that I’ve seldom done with other groups.

I made lifelong friends. I was encouraged to pursue my dreams and walk more confidently in my identity. Oh, and I learned a few cool things about youth culture and ministry.

Everyone should pursue some kind of professional coaching program. Here’s why:

Good coaching challenges you

This group called me out when I was wrong or asked more of me when they knew I was holding back.

I learned that I can be arrogant and dismissive from this group. I learned that I still need to grow in my inner life and that while I know a thing or two, I don’t know everything.

I was challenged to be humble, open, and honest with others who are different from me.

Good coaching affirms you

The first time we met, someone asked me what my dream was.

“I guess it’s to be a writer,” I said, questioning myself.

“That’s ridiculous,” someone said. “You already are a writer.”

I’m not a big sports guy. I was on the golf team in high school for a year and was in a lot of spelling bees. That’s the extent of athletic, competitive involvement.

When I did do anything remotely athletic, I sensed that the coach was embarrassed by me. In fact, he occasionally would say so. It made me never want to try. So I didn’t.

In this group, conversely, I learned to believe things about myself that were already true. And I started living into them. This blog is a direct result of my involvement in the YMCP. There’s no other way around it.

That’s what good coaching does.

Good coaching empowers you

Perhaps my favorite part about this group was the “confession” time.

Now, this is not what you may be thinking. Clear your mind of images of sitting in a dark cathedral confessing your sins to a disinterested priest.

Every time we met, we would circle up our chairs, look each other in the eyes, and whoever had something they wanted to talk about, they would share.

We shared triumphs and disasters in our lives. Sometimes, we gave each other advice. Other times, we shared a moment of silence together. Deep dark secrets were divulged, and beautiful healing happened.

This kind of openness allowed us to feel safe enough to begin making important changes in our lives. As a result, we did things we never would have dreamed of this year.

That’s what a good coaching group does. They help you do your job better by first changing you. I love how we did it — collaboratively and in community. It was powerful.

Your turn

If you can find something like the coaching program I did in your own town (or even if you have to travel far to find one), I heartily recommend doing it. It’s well worth any investment of time or money you spend.


btw: jeff has written a few excellent ebooks (and his first — also excellent — traditionally published book coming soon). his latest ebook, which i’m not sure would have become a reality were it not for YMCP, is a fantastic charge and practical steps for would-be writers, called “You Are a Writer: So Start Acting Like One.”

leadership as facilitating competencies

i’m presenting a seminar at the national youth workers convention this week called “leading without power“. i stole the title from a book i read years ago by leadership guru max depree (author of leadership jazz, and leadership is an art). it’s not depree’s best book, by any stretch. but the title alone has captured my imagination for years.

in preparing for the seminar, i quickly re-read (skimmed) the book again. it didn’t as much give me seminar teaching points as it prodded some creative thinking on my part.

but one story in his book so completely and wonderfully captured a shift in my thinking that’s been fermenting for a few months: a shift from control to facilitation. the language of this mindset shift came from the conversation my youth ministry coaching program cohort had with dr. robert epstein. we were talking about parenting, and someone asked him how he’s changed his parenting approach from his first round to his second round (he has adult sons from a first marriage, and now, a grouping of 6 – 12 year olds from his second marriage). he briefly unpacked this notion of moving from control to facilitation, with facilitation meaning ‘identifying and nurturing competencies.’

this idea deeply resonates with me. i’ve been trying to apply it to my parenting.

but i’m seeing the spill-over into every other area of leadership. we’ve had some great discussions with my coaching group about what it would look like for us to be champions of competencies in teenagers, rather than program creators.

and, while preparing this seminar on powerless leadership, i’m realizing how this mindset shift so directly applies to all contexts of leadership.

with that in mind, this little story of max depree’s is priceless:

esther and i have eleven grandchildren. one of them born weeks premature is now in 3rd grade, and while she has some special challenges, she is really doing quite well. one day when she was three years old, she came to visit me in my office, which is in a small condominium. she said, “grandpa, would you like to see me run?” and i must tell you, my heart jumped. i thought to myself, this little girl can hardly walk. how is she going to run? but like a good grandparent, i said, “yes, i’d like to see you run.” she walked over to one side of the room and started to run, right across in front of my desk and directly into the side of a refrigerator. it knocked her on her back, and there she lay, spread-eagled on the floor with a big grin on her face. like any good manager, i immediately went over with a solution. i said, “honey, you’ve got to learn to stop.” and she looked up at me with a big smile and said, “but, grandpa, i’m learning to run.”

plate spinning

i started a year-long “leadership coaching program” with john townsend the other day. there are 10 people on the team, and we’ll meet one day each month, for 12 months. seems like a killer program. the other 9 people in my group are all leaders in a wide variety of roles, from small business owners to a school administrator to an asst to a senator. half women and half men. 30-ish to 60-ish in age.

the group had a high level of transparency and authenticity from the get-go. it’s obvious people are wanting to take full advantage of this program, and don’t see any reason to spend their time and money on positioning. so there were lots of tears, lots of pain, and very deep sharing for a group of strangers.

when it was my turn to share why i was in the program, and what i hoped to accomplish this year, i talked some about my role and identity. and i said something like this (which, as i was saying it, became a bit of a revelation to me):

i’m spinning more plates right now than i ever have. i’ve certainly had weeks, and even months, of my life that have been more intense or stressful. but this season — the last 4 or so months — has been one where every arena of my life takes so much energy and attention. there are myriad aspects of ys that demand constant attention (from staffing stuff, to our upcoming move, to our budget process, to re-inventing stuff and other directional things). a non-profit board i serve on has required more attention than i’ve had to give. my kids are both in a space where they have some emotional needs. i’m trying to finish a book. the list could go on.

but as i’ve been working to keep all these plates spinning, i’ve been realizing two things:

first, when i’m expending so much energy on plate spinning, i am very quick to emotionally withdraw. maybe it’s a boundary thing, or self protection. but i just haven’t been present lately — particularly to my wife, but also to the staff of ys, and – maybe most concerning – to myself. i hide in tv and email.

second, and the bigger a-ha for me: i’m really good at plate spinning; and i think it’s something i’m wired for. it gives me some kind of satisfaction, or “worth”, or ego boost, i think. but i’m realizing that “who i am” and “what i do” are too closely linked for me. and the “what i do” is plate spinning. my concern in this is not “what happens if a plate crashes to the ground.” my concern (and the new realization) is that i’m not sure i’d know who i am if the plates no longer require spinning.

there are clearly all kinds of performance issues in this. pleasing issues. and the reality that i’m more comfortable with things that distract me from my interior life and emotions and — gasp — people.

identifying this is a good step, but it sure feels like the first of 10 or 100 or 1000 i need to take.