Barnabas-Style Coaching (Part 2)


Barnabas-Style coaching is wrapped up in a simple, two-sentence Bible story about Barnabas.

“When he arrived and saw the evidence of the grace of God, he was glad and encouraged them all to remain true to the Lord with all their hearts. He was a good man, full of the Holy Spirit and faith, and a great number of people were brought to the Lord.”

Acts 11:23-24 NIV

In a previous blog, Kevin (guest contributor), introduced Barnabas and his coaching style. This week we continue to learn about the important role of coaching in Disciple Making Movements and some simple, reproducible tips on how to get coaching started in your own network.

There are 3 simple tips to Barnabas-Style Coaching. Last time we looked at Tip #1: Ask Questions.

Barnabas-Style Coaching Tip #2: Listen Carefully

“He…saw the evidence of the grace of God, he was glad…”

Barnabas focused attention upon the people he was sent to help. He asked good questions. Next came listening. I can imagine each question he asked opening a floodgate of stories. Faces lit up as they talked about Jesus and what He did in their lives, families, and neighborhoods. Hearing how they actively made new disciples, Barnabas saw them through God’s eyes more and more. “Evidence of the grace of God” mounted as he listened.

It’s vital to listen. “He who answers before listening—that is his folly and his shame.” (Proverbs 18:13) Listening helps us gather the information we need and helps us stay focused. Allowing the people we coach to do most of the talking helps them describe what they see happening in their work and personal lives. They are enabled to bring out their best reflections and their own insights on what has been going on.

Careful listening impacted Barnabas too. “He was glad.” He responded with joy. The fact that he understood and cared became obvious. When we have passion and enthusiasm for a person’s vision and goals, it shines through.

Success in coaching is impossible without careful listening.

Listening is a powerful skill. It brings honor and communicates acceptance. Coaches practice Philippians 2:3-4, “in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others.

Through listening the coaching relationship takes root. Trust grows along with a willingness to open up. Coachees begin answering questions like, “What is your dream for a Disciple Making Movement?” or “What are some areas in your life you want to change?” From the starting point of listening, we influence leaders toward growth in both character and ministry ability.

Listening helps us understand what is important. We decrease what we say, so that they may increase. Pay attention. Don’t get distracted. Be curious. Say, “Please tell me more…” since the continual aim is to discover more. Where is God at work? Moving down this path of discovery, we wonder, “What does God have in store next?

When coaching, we don’t use up the time thinking of solutions or suggestions while the other person talks. In fact, if we ask the right questions and listen carefully, we may hear them come up with the answers! They know their situation better.

To help, a coach may say, “You have probably given this issue a lot of thought and prayer. What do you think should be done?” Rarely do people lack ideas. They lack confidence in their ideas, or perhaps never have put them into words. By listening we encourage them to think out loud.

The more we ask, the more they will talk. The more we listen, the more we learn. As we listen, we realize how gifted these people are and how fruitful they can be with a little encouragement.

Barnabas-Style Coaching Tip #3: Encourage Progress

“He…encouraged them all to remain true to the Lord with all their hearts.”

Barnabas came alongside believers and propelled them forward. See him doing this for Paul in Acts 9:26-27. Paul arrived in Jerusalem to join the disciples. They were all afraid of him. It was Barnabas who listened to Paul’s story, believed, and trusted him. Putting his own reputation at risk, Barnabas introduced Paul to the Apostles. Together they walked on to amazing fruitfulness.

As with Paul, Barnabas urged the Antioch believers to go after the vision God gave them with all their hearts. As coaches, we do the same by coming alongside leaders. We help them bring their vision into clear focus. We encourage their progress step-by-step down the path to their destination: vision becoming reality.

Practically speaking, what does this look like? Barnabas-Style coaching looks like a person: you. Work at becoming like Barnabas, a son or daughter of Encouragement. Learn more about him.

He was a good man, full of the Holy Spirit and faith….” Are you full of the Holy Spirit and faith? Then you are ready to coach Barnabas-Style.

Barnabas-Style Coaching: 3 Tips & 3 Parts

How does a Barnabas-Style coach bring this all together? Gather these Three Tips:
1. Ask Questions
2. Listen Carefully
3. Encourage Progress

Bring the 3 Tips into a 3 Part Meeting.

Like the three Tips, a coaching session can also be as simple as 1,2,3. We use the same “Three Thirds Pattern” used in a disciple making group.

Here are the 3 Parts:
1. Look Back
2. Look Up
3. Look Forward

Sit with the leader you coach and start with questions to Look Back upon progress. Next, help the leader Look Up to the Lord, the vision He has given, and what He has next. Finally, Look Forward to the next steps toward the vision’s fulfillment.

Most of your time will be focused upon Look Up, because our prayer is, “Your kingdom come, Your will be done on earth [down here] as it is in heaven [up there].” Commit your time to the Lord, then ask a question.

Below are some questions you can ask in each section of the coaching meeting.

Before each coaching session:

1. Pray for the leader and your meeting
2. Review notes you wrote from the last meeting (you took notes, right?)
3. Write down previous action steps and any relevant questions in your notes for today.
4. Prepare to listen and encourage progress.

You are all set for Barnabas-Style Coaching. May you and the leaders you coach see Barnabas-Style fruit!

“and a great number of people were brought to the Lord.”

*The above article was contributed by Kevin Sutter leader of CP Coaches International and YWAM Frontier Missions International leader.

How are you using coaching in your movement? What further questions do you have about coaching in a DMM that you need help with? Write your comments below or jump on the DMM Facebook group and ask them there!

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    Escuchar nos ayuda a entender lo que es importante. Disminuimos lo que decimos, para que puedan aumentar . Presta atención. No te distraigas. Ser curioso. Diga: ” Por favor, dígame más … ” ya que el objetivo continuo es descubrir más. ¿Dónde está Dios en el trabajo? Avanzando por este camino de descubrimiento, nos preguntamos: “ ¿Qué nos depara Dios después? “

  2. Edwin Ngbarzar

    Thank you. It is listening well that gets you do the right things. Right questions opens the brains for more productions. Why teaches well, but no actions? I want to go! Romans 10: 14_15.

  3. kadondi tom

    learning and study the tool is the beginning of knowing where to start to invest from what you have learn . it will put your mindset at work and focused the out come of the group training.

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