Saturday, 13 June 2009

Coaching for Missional Leadership

by Bob Hopkins and Freddy Hedley

This book has recently been published under the fresh expressions banner. I picked a copy up at the vision day last week.

It's a fairly useful book, with a great deal of material about the theory and practice of coaching an mentoring. They deal with both but make the point that coaching is primarily "task" orientated, while mentoring is "person" focussed - otherwise there is a fairly blurred boundary between the two.

The book's strength, and weakness, is that it attempts to summarise a huge array of ideas and could be accused of being a "cut and paste" job with very little specific material about fresh expressions or mission. On the other hand, what they have included is helpful and there is enough to indicate some of the specific issues that may be involved when coaching "missional leaders".

In general this is a useful brief guide or "revision guide" for supervisors, mentors and coaches. It will stay on my shelf.
Having posted this review, I've just received this through the Cof E's Friday Mailing:


Bob Hopkins and Freddy Hedley Coaching For Missional Leadership ACPI Books 2009

Initially Bob Hopkins’ and Freddy Hedley’s book reads like a chopped down synthesis of Mike Breen’s ‘life shapes’ ( and John Whitmore’s classic Coaching for Performance where he presents the G R O W model of coaching - Goal, Reality, Option, Will - as a format for coaching sessions (see for reviews), i.e. it’s a book full of tools, acronyms and lists. I must admit that at first I thought it was a bit thin. Why buy this book and not John Whitmore’s classic? Then I realised as I was recently looking for a simple exposition of GROW to adapt I found myself not reaching for Whitmore but Coaching For Missional Leadership, i.e. there is something virtuous in its simplicity! In addition, it presents the material in a church friendly format, albeit I was not convinced as the blurb claimed it had ‘unpacked’ coaching’s biblical basis.

If you are looking for a less 'how to' and more substantial church based view of coaching I’d recommend Rochelle Melander’s A Generous Presence – Spiritual Leadership and the Art of Coaching, Alban Institute 2006

The book is a collection of story driven essays about coaching with a particular emphasis on the role of the ‘spiritual leader’. Each essay includes exercises, called ‘Try’, and discussion tools, called ‘Talk’. The book is divided into three sections. The first explores some key theological, psychological, and sociological concepts that surround and support coaching relationships, e.g. 'defined boundaries', 'self-care'. The second clusters around skills and solutions, e.g. 'nudge', 'pray', 'apologise', and the third, reviews common coaching situations and provides strategies for addressing them, e.g. 'setting goals' and 'making meaning'. The story led and essay format of this book makes it a real pleasure and resource to dip into.

A reminder from Joanna Cox of a book previously mentioned in Friday Mailing.
“Facilitating Reflective Learning through Mentoring and Coaching, Anne Brockbank and Ian McGill, Kogan Page 2006, ISBN 978-0749444488

The rather lengthy title of this book describes exactly what it is about, and why it may well be useful to those involved in CME etc. This book contains information on Coaching and Mentoring that (a) relates coaching / mentoring firmly to the educational principles / learning theory / developmental process (b) looks at a variety of models and approaches to coaching /mentoring - rather than promoting a single 'do it like this' approach (c) includes some material on the training and development of mentors and coaches that those of you with responsibilities for working with training incumbents etc might find particularly relevant (it includes some exercises / activities).

This book includes a suggested framework mapping a spectrum of coaching / mentoring approaches (how much are the approaches aiming to be functionalist, evolutionary, transformative or maintaining equilibrium?). You can find this in the opening chapter without even buying the book via 'search inside this book' on the Amazon website at”

On a lighter note, from the Coaching and Mentoring Network two enjoyable 'spoof' lists by David Clutterbuck here, each with twelve habits of the Toxic Mentor / Mentee - rather in the tradition of the much-used "The Fine Art of Squelching Small Groups". ( and )

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