6 Bad Reasons Why Good Pastors Don’t Have Coaches

From NBA MVPs to Super Bowl winning quarterbacks to the world’s top golfer, they all have coaches.

good pastors

Elite athletes have coaches. From NBA MVPs to Super Bowl winning quarterbacks to the world’s top golfer, they all have coaches. World-class executives have coaches. Ask a CEO who has grown their company to seven figures in revenue, and what you’ll hear consistently is that they would not have taken their business to that level without their coach. But some good pastors do not have coaches.

Actually, some of them do. But do you?

Who’s Coaching You?

I’ve asked this question to most of my friends who are pastors. Sometimes I’m helping them untangle a mess in their church. Other times I’m testing my research as both a pastor and a performance coach.

Among pastors who lead large to mid-sized churches, eight out of 10 do not have a coach. In smaller churches, that number is closer to nine out of 10. In church plants, a decade of encouragement has created inroads toward coaching—six out of 10 planters do not have a coach.

But I’m not concerned about them, for the moment.

Let’s talk about you.

If you have a coach, I’m sure you’ll join me in singing their praises. In fact, I’d love for you to leave a comment below and tell the rest of us who your coach is and how they’ve helped you. If you don’t have a coach, I want to share something with you that I’ve picked up over the past few years of coaching hundreds of pastors and church leaders

6 Bad Reasons Good Pastors Don’t Have a Coach

1. Good pastors look for silver bullets.

Most pastors devour content (books, conferences, websites, blogs, etc.) looking for a breakthrough idea. The truth is that breakthrough happens most consistently when you take what you already know and put it into action.

2. Good pastors look for experience.

Most pastors think that what they need in a coach is someone who has already been where they are, achieved success and is now enjoying life further down the road. The truth is that coaching is a skill set that doesn’t even require someone to be a pastor to be successful. I’ll come back to this in a second…

3. Good pastors are convinced their situation is unique.

Most pastors assume that the circumstances surrounding their challenges—the people and the problem—have not been dealt with before. The truth is that while no two situations are identical, there are consistent patterns that a good coach can help identify.

4. Good pastors are convinced their team is the problem.

Most pastors pursue coaching for their team before they ever consider it for themselves. The truth is that if you are the lead pastor or senior minister of a church, every problem in your church is ultimately your problem.

5. Good pastors think coaching is expensive.

Most pastors hear about the investment people make in executive coaches—often exceeding five figures—and assume there is no way they can afford a coach. The truth is that options exist at practically every level of investment you could make.

6. Good pastors think they don’t need any help.

Most pastors have neither a coach nor a counselor. The truth is that without professional help, your health and performance suffer…and your family and church suffer with you.

One quick story…

A friend of mine took his kids to an indoor facility similar to the America Ninja Warrior set. He’s the kind of guy who isn’t going to watch his kids climb and jump; he’s going to do it with them. And let’s just say it’s easier for kids under the age of 10 to handle this obstacle course than for a grown man in his 30s.

After a couple of futile attempts to successfully navigate a particular part of the course, my buddy got some help from an unexpected source. A 15-year-old girl was watching him and told him that he should ‘jump high, not far; and bend your knees instead of keeping them straight.’

Frustrated by his lack of success, my friend took her suggestion and made it across. He found her after finishing and asked her how she knew what he needed to do. Had she tried the course before?

Her response: ‘No, I’ve never done it, but my boyfriend does it all the time. I learned from watching him.’

My friend received coaching from a 15-year-old girl who had never done what she helped him do. She watched someone else succeed, understood how success was achieved and helped my friend do what he might never have done on his own.

This article about why some good pastors don’t have coaches originally appeared here, and is used by permission.

Matt Adair
Matt Adair is the lead pastor of Christ Community Church (christ-community.com) in Athens, GA and the founder of Griddiron, a coaching and consulting firm that helps church leaders build your world so you can change the world. Matt is the former North American Director of the Acts 29 Network, a global partnership of churches that plant churches. Matt is married to Lindsey, is the father of three sons, and is a graduate of Beeson Divinity School in Birmingham, AL.