Coaching Leadership Series

“Building Winning Ministry Teams: An Overview” (SL# 6)

by Lloyd Elder, adapted from SkillTrack® Vol. 3
Coaching Leadership,
written by James D. Williams, Ph.D., with Lloyd Elder, Th.D.

Study Thesis: Coaching Leadership presents and explores the fundamentals, steps, and skills of coaching leadership applied to the practices and tasks of winning ministry teams.

Key Text: Ephesians 4:11-13–It was he [Christ] who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers, to prepare God’s people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.

Coaching leadership is not only a popular contemporary model of leadership, but long before that it was essentially the way Christ led and taught His disciples to do so. He came to launch the most significant movement in all human history. He gathered a few followers around Him, lived with them, trained them, showed
them how by doing, and gave them a daunting commission (See Matt. 28:18-20).

1. Coaching Leadership Study

The purpose of this overview article, and a subsequent article series, is to contribute to the development of “coaching leaders”–a significant model expressing servant leadership. Before the articles, there was an extensive research and writing project pursued by three of us: James D. Williams, Joyce Byrd, and Lloyd Elder. We have shared many years in friendship and as part of ministry teams; we revisited this during the recent publishing project. I asked Dr. Williams to become the principle writer, commending him to you as a coaching
minister, administrator, educator, researcher, and writer. My own contribution grew out of five decades of Christian ministry in roles as pastor, administrator, supervisor, educator and executive. Joyce kept us on task and understandable. These footprints are shared throughout the study, expressed in research, course design, leadership concepts, and writing.

We have based these articles on SkillTrack® Vol. 4, Coaching Leadership: Building a Winning Ministry Team. Key fundamental assumptions about coaching matter deeply to us:

  • Jesus is the supreme model for coaching leadership. There are other models, contemporary and ancient, but He is the ideal, the Master Coach.
  • Coaching leadership is a contemporary expression of “the equipping ministry” found in Ephesians 4 and modeled by Jesus.
  • An intentional model of effective leadership is needed by every minister/leader in the congregation: pastor, staff ministers, support staff members, lay leaders, and the church membership.
  • Long-term, the congregation wants, follows, and spiritually thrives on coaching leadership because it is both practical and visionary.
  • Coaching leadership as a model expresses servant leadership in every arena of congregational life: church staff, deacon body, church council/leadership team, committees/teams, missions organizations, music programs, service projects, and the vast array of Bible teaching, discipleship, and evangelism units.
    Jesus is the coach; we are His team; let us become a winning ministry team together.

2. Introducing a Six-Step Coaching Leadership Model

A model developed as a result of research and experience is introduced here and will be presented more fully throughout the publication of the articles prepared for the Servant Leaders Library. Remember, Jesus is the example for coaching leadership, and the “Ephesian Equipping Model” (Eph.4) is a biblical basis. Comments on the diagram below may be helpful:

  • Each step is specific and makes its own contribution.
  • The steps are intentional if not sequential.
  • The elliptical shapes indicate three natural working pairs.
  • The six steps are interdependent with a common team core.
  • The whole represents continuous, purposeful action, not isolated events.

Six-Step Coaching Leadership Model


Remember, “coaching leadership” is attitude before action; more commitment than control; more team effort than solo performance; and more Christlike than stylish. Articles will be published in the Servant Leaders Library related to each one of these six critical steps:

  • Pay attention to fundamentals
  • Build a team spirit
  • Put your team together
  • Execute the game plan
  • Evaluate team performance
  • Celebrate team victories

3. Coaching Leadership in Your Practice

Ask any successful coach, and each will give testimony to the fact that all six skills identified are essential skills. Though not intended as an exhaustive list, it is helpful to look at these basic fundamentals in good coaching. Now as a closing snapshot, look again at Jesus as Player/Coach, and at others who are good at what they do. It is apparent that good coaching involves some basic actions. Evaluate the following list; which do you do most often? Good Coaching:

  • Recruits team members.
  • Assists in developing skills and strengths.
  • Observes and analyzes performance.
  • Identifies areas that need improvement.
  • Demonstrates how the task should be performed.
  • Asks the person to demonstrate the task; then gives feedback on the performance.
  • Establishes a time and place to review subsequent performance.
  • Assigns strengths where they best benefit the team.
  • Blends personal goals with team goals to achieve a synergistic effect.
  • Expects excellence in practice and performance.
  • Rewards meritorious achievement.

What’s the plan for installing coaching leadership into your life and leadership? The short form is: Receive it! Understand it! Put it into practice! Improve on it! Pass it on to others in your own life and ministry! Whether your team numbers three or 300, the principles and practices of coaching can deliver winning results for you. This is presented with our prayer for you in His service.

Close this window

© 2006; hosted and copyrighted by
Lloyd Elder & Associates, Inc.

For full citation of referenced works, see Bibliography/Links at
Adapted by Lloyd Elder, Th.D., Founding Director, Moench Center for Church Leadership