Many different models for apostolic networks have been developed over the last few years, and new networks are springing up around the world. However, because the need for relationship, oversight and resourcing for churches and Christian leaders is so great, many new networks quickly grow far beyond their capacity to maintain real, relational connections between members. The very thing that pastors and churches come to apostolic networks for – connection to the broader body of Christ – seems to slip through their fingers as soon as soon as they join.
To maintain the covenant relationships that make a network worth joining in the first place, Vanguard Ministries is providing personal coaching to their members. These relationships with other leaders are the primary formal accountability links within the network.
The presence of authentic coaching leading to peer relationships are key factors in whether leaders finish well and fulfill the call of God on their lives. However, surveys reveal that less than 30% of pastors have any relationships with peers where they feel they can safely discuss the problems and challenges of their vocation. Vanguard believes a commitment to accountable coaching relationships will provide a vital and much-needed service to you, your ministry and to the Kingdom of God.
What is Coaching?
Coaching is a one-on-one method of helping another person grow and change. Instead of teaching a set curriculum, coaches start with wherever you want to grow and then help you get there. Dealing with current, real-life challenges and opportunities you are already motivated to work at making coaching fun, effective and highly applicable.
Coaching is based on the idea that leaders take responsibility for their own growth. So instead of giving advice or telling you what to do, coaches ask questions to help you sharpen your own discernment of what God has for you. Once you’ve settled on a growth goal, a coach will help you design a plan to achieve it, then provide the support, encouragement and accountability you’ll need to see it through. Anywhere you need to change – from organizing your life, to discovering your life purpose, to building a consistent devotional pattern – a coach will make you more likely to succeed.
When a member is affirmed as a Covenant or Associate Vanguard member, you will receive personal coaching as part of your membership benefits. Covenant members wil receive six (6) sessions per year and Associate members will receive three (3) sessions per year. Your coach will help you set personal goals for growth and walk with you as you create a growth plan and carry it out. You may also gain a friend along the way.
Vanguard uses coaches that are trained and certified by LifeForming Leadership Coaching (http://lifeformingcoach.com). Coaches trained by LifeForming Leadership Coaching have been through an intensive training process and are equipped with a wealth of practical change resources including building authentic relationships, discovering your life purpose and setting goals to reach it, changing habits, establishing priorities, developing growth plans and much more.
Finding a Coach
In order to take advantage of this valuable membership benefit, you must complete a Coaching Questionnaire. This allows Vanguard to match you with the best possible coach to assist you in your development as a leader. You and your coach set the schedule, plan meeting times that work for you and decide on what you want to work on. If you desire to request a specific coach you will need to specifiy your coach preference on your questionnaire. Please recognize that while every effort will be made to honor your preference, we may not be able to do so for any number of reasons. Vanguard will assume the responsibility to match you with a coach if you do not request a specific coach.
Coaches help people work at personal growth and change. A big part of what coaching provides is accountability – that extra nudge to follow through on what you know you need to do. A coach will help you set realistic objectives and then stay on track to meet your growth goals. A coach can also help you sort out what the most important issues are, help you get “unstuck” and provide a sounding board when you need some outside perspective.
Because your coach is your accountability link to Vanguard Ministries, both you and your coach will complete a year-end evaluation on how the coaching sessions went. Your coach will also send in the growth plan you are working toward during the year. This feedback will be integrated into the annual process of renewing your Vanguard membership (for licensing or ordination).
Your coach will occasionally take initiative to help you see and address personal problems or blind spots before they become major problems. We view this as an important function of the body of Christ to serve and safegruard you and to promote your growth in Christ.
If you should have any problems with your coaching relationship or desire outside perspective on it, you are free to contact the Vanguard Coaching Director at any time to talk things through.
Steps to Begin Your Coaching Experience
If your desire is to pursue the support, encouragement and accountability of leadership coaching, you should follow the following steps:
1. Apply for membership with Vanguard Ministries. Please visit our “How to Join” page to learn more about membership and complete an application.
2. If you are currently a member of Vanguard Ministries, then complete the coaching questionnaire and return it to the Vanguard Ministries office.
This questionnaire allows us to match you with the best possible coach to assist you in your development as a leader.
3. After the initial contact from your assigned coach for a getting acquainted session, the responsibility to initiate your coaching sessions is in your hands.