You’ve heard of a coaching structure before. You want one. And, if you already have one you want it to be better — but, often times you find yourself asking the question: Is this really ESSENTIAL to my volunteer strategy?
See, having a coaching structure for your volunteers is one of, if not the, most important things that you could ever do when leading volunteers. I can attest, because I have built a coaching structure in multiple environments for volunteers, that it will change the way that you lead your volunteers.
Coaches, very simply, are those high-capacity volunteers who lead other volunteers.
They are the people who you can count on the most.
They are the people who know and understand your vision inside and out.
They are the people who are waiving the flag of support on a weekly basis.
Here are a few reasons that I think a coaching strategy is essential for the growth of your volunteers.
1. You cannot be accessible to every volunteer. Period.
When you experience growth, or, even if you are a part of a really small program, it is impossible to keep up with every single volunteer you have. There are volunteers who are on the Welcome Team, Large Group Team, those who are Small Group Leaders — just to name a few. There is no way that you can…
Get to know each of their stories
Keep up with each one of their personal lives
Remember all of their family members names
Which is why you need coaches.
Remember, a coach is that extraordinary volunteer that other volunteers report to. A coach’s responsibility is to oversee a group of 8-12 volunteers, hopefully ones that serve in a specific position. (i.e. Small Group Leaders).
I remember the first coach I ever had — her name was Kathy. She wasn’t my ‘coach’ per say, but she was a coach of Small Group Leaders in our Elementary department. She was a Small Group Leader herself but when we rolled out this strategy she indicated that this role sounded like one that fit her. She signed up and was perfect. She…
Remembered all of the details and prayer requests of everyone on her team.
Led the 15 minutes pre-service “Huddle” each week.
Stayed throughout the entire service just to ‘be there’ in case anyone on her team needed anything.
She was amazing. And, she was the exact right person for this job. You need to find those people. They will help transform everything that you do.
So, what about you?
You should be around.
You should be friendly.
You should be casting vision to your volunteers.
And, you should be accessible to all of your volunteers. But, it is silly to think you could know all of the details mentioned above -- even those of us with the very best memories.
If you can’t do that for all your volunteers, you should, however, be able to know the stories, personal lives, and family members names of the staff and coaches you lead.
Consider the coaches the small group that you lead. And the volunteers that they lead their small group.
It. Will. Change. The. Way. You. Lead.
2. Coaches can become experts at a specific volunteer position — then can lead others to do the same.
You’re not going to be an expert at every volunteer position. Sure, you might have started as a volunteer, like I did, and be a great Storyteller. But, odds are if you are a great Storyteller you probably aren’t a great Small Group Leader. Sure, you might understand the basics of it, and you might understand why it is so important, but you just might not be that good at it! (This is not a bad thing, by the way -- no one can be an expert at everything!)
What you need to do is you need to identify those volunteers who have been around for a while and are ‘mastering’ a specific volunteer position -- and then elevate them to lead volunteers to do the same.
Then you end up with...
A Coach for Small Group Leaders
A Coach for your Storytellers
A Coach for your Welcome Team
A Coach for your Nursery Volunteers
A Coach for your supply team (Can you imagine?) :)
This then takes the pressure off of you as a leader to be an expert at every volunteer position. The only thing you need to become an expert at that point is taking those coaches of yours to coffee.
3. You need people to own your vision with you.
Every volunteer might not carry the flag for the vision you are leading. Some volunteers are infrequent, unreliable, and just don’t understand why you are doing what you are trying to do. But, we want as many volunteers to own our vision as we can.
But not your coaches. See, your coaches are people who are vision owners with you.
Many leaders think that they can own the vision for their ministry or organization by themselves -- and they can’t -- no one can.
This is why you have coaches.
Coaches are influencers. Coaches are recruiters.
Coaches are cheerleaders.
And when you are trying to turn a big ship, or start something new, you need these leaders surrounding you, carrying the ball with you, and lifting you up when you are down.
This is why you should be meeting with your coaches consistently. They are the appointments on your calendar that take priority.
You should be taking them to coffee.
You should be having them over for dinner.
You should know things about their families.
Then you don’t have to own vision on your own. Trust me -- that might start out fun, but it doesn’t last long.
I'm busy working on my blog posts. Watch this space!