I am just a few months into a new call (my third, but who's counting). I have also moved to a new community in a new state. In the location to which I have been called, I learned that it is possible to apply for a clergy coach, so I did.
I do have a number of years in ministry under my belt, and a fair amount of experience. So, why get a coach? Why would I need a clergy coach? Isn't it a sign of weakness, admitting that I might possibly need help?
1. Ministry is hard. I think that every single one of us needs all the help we can get. Though I have a church full of people who are pretty invested in my success, it is great to have people outside my parish who are also praying for me, and who care about me as a person and a pastor. Ministry can also be painful. Besides the thrill of new experiences and successes, there is also the loneliness of being in a new place, and the pain of experiments that crash and burn. At these times, it is good to have outside resources who will give a different perspective, and who will help me get back up and do it all again.
2. It is a Defense against Isolation. Ministry can be a lonely profession. There are not many people that it is appropriate to confide in, to test perceptions, and with whom I can process what I am thinking about. I also think that pastors sometimes get caught in the trap of thinking they are supposed to be "the resident expert." No one is an expert on everything, and I hope that my coach will help me remember that, be another source of wisdom, and also remind me that i have other sources of wisdom and experience around me, if I can be humble enough and curious enough to ask.
3. Good leaders are not just born; they are made. You can be the most awesome natural musician and still have to put in 8 hours a day of practice in order to hone your craft. You can have natural gifts for writing or cooking or gymnastics, but still have to study, to try different recipes, to stretch your legs and your skills.
4. I Want to Build on My Strengths. One thing I have learned: I'm always tempted to try to improve in the areas of my weakness rather than recognize and build on the places where I am strong. A good leader plays to her strengths. My coach knows this.
5. I Don't Want to Stop Growing. I want to invest in my own leadership. I love learning, and I want to be intentional about adding new tools and growing in leadership skills, not thinking that I know it all or have learned everything I need to know. A clergy coach will help me to learn by practice and encouraging me to stretch myself, to develop new habits instead of staying safe.
What are some other reasons a seasoned pastor can benefit from a clergy coach? What would you add?