Jeanne Hathcock, a Certified Master Coach, shares her experience with a unique application of coaching in this 3-part blog series.
By the third group coaching session, I no longer had to initiate the conversation about what the team saw, heard or felt that day. Often times, the team was at the table ready to start group coaching before I could get there. This opportunity to share, to hear what others were experiencing, and to capture ideas, thoughts, and actions to further the service in the local community where we were living became a driving force in the compound we lived in.
Using the “Fruits of the Spirit” as the guide to initiate our dialog each evening kept the focus local, action oriented, and thought provoking. At the end of each group debrief, I would reflect back to the group what I had captured as possible action items for the following day. I would ask the group to think about what they wanted to do, if anything, and to let me know the next day at breakfast. We closed our group debriefing time with music and general sharing of other events that happened throughout our day. The group was so enthusiastic; it was rare they waited until breakfast to get back with me! It was such a blessing to see these missionaries driving their experience and not simply following the actions of their leader.
By the end of the week, I witnessed many positive effects to the group coaching environment created on the mission field. The team was able to equally focus on their internal and external health and development. Through sharing and brainstorming with one another, the team identified additional needs for the community and was able to generate specific action items to address some of the issues while we were still there. I recognized growth and ability in each team member to put themselves aside and focus on the greater good and opportunities that being part of a team provided them. Another very positive insight from creating this group coaching environment is the team came together very quickly. There was little storming, norming and forming…they were a team almost from day one. This strength in numbers and cause gave them a sense of security that allowed them to see beyond their fears of being in a remote mountainous village, with no one to immediately come running if something went wrong. They were able to get beyond the overwhelming sense of over-stimulation in feelings, sight, and sound. By focusing on the Fruits of the Spirit and opening up to the group each evening the team was empowered to do incredible things. Many people were blessed by this activity and a great witness of the human spirit was revealed.
I will build on this experience going forward. I will no longer go back to a typical debriefing session that was so second nature to me before. The time, effort, and prayer I put into this group coaching experience more than paid off in the end. As a team leader for global missions, this was my most relaxed trip. That speaks volumes considering I went deep into the heart of a country that has more problems than we can even imagine. Before, I was afraid to step out and take a risk at introducing this new style of debriefing. The risk paid off and I am ready to start looking at ways to make the experience even more beneficial.
What are your thoughts on Group Coaching?