Companions on a journey
The ongoing development of leaders is a critical and necessary element for any organization, church, ministry, and even family, to sustain and see flourish itself in the future. Tom Camacho, in his new book, Mining for Gold: Developing Kingdom Leaders Through Coaching, introduces practical ways to ensure new, thriving leadership continues to be released and nurtured in our midst.
Many approaches to leadership assume one must add competencies to character to build the leader. Any internet search for leadership training reveals all kinds of quick fixes and costly training: goal-setting, team building, communication tools, strategic thinking, delegation strategies, conflict resolution templates, and the like. Camacho, alternatively, assumes that leadership potential exists all around us, and one must uncover this potential and allow it to surface, be tested, and thrive while supported through a personal coaching relationship. He states, “Our task is to become gold miners, treasure seekers, who work continuously with God in the search and development of godly kingdom leaders.” Walking alongside those people who are emerging into leadership is the best way to see new leaders develop.
Although developing as leaders is complex, Camacho asserts that it is made more valuable through the coaching process, as the coach invests time alongside the leader. Indeed, this is the responsibility of anyone in ministry leadership. He states, “Great coaching simplifies the complexity of leadership development. Coaching is one of the most effective leadership development tools we can use today… Coaches become thinking partners who help leaders discover what is most important in their busy lives and move them toward a more fruitful future.”
Katherine Ely and her team of researchers at George Mason University have examined the growing phenomenon of leadership coaching, with an aim of defining the impact this type of accompaniment has. They reveal how coaching differs from traditional leadership development:
[T]ypical leadership development interventions (e.g., classroom training, assessment centers, experiential courses, executive retreats, and self-help books) present broad concepts directed at diverse audiences as determined by the trainer. Coaching, on the other hand, can address a range of very individualized issues from understanding the need for and learning of new skills to application of those skills to a very specific work situation and organizational context. Leadership coaching is a personalized and customized process—developed to meet the unique needs, characteristics, and experiences of each client with particular consideration of the client’s organization. Coaches require a unique set of knowledge, skills, and abilities to effectively meet and adapt to individual clients. The coaching relationship is a unique partnership built on rapport, collaboration, commitment, and trust providing a safe environment to support a tailored coaching process that focuses on performing relevant assessments, appropriately challenging, and supporting leadership development.
I recall a pivotal moment in my own leadership journey that was forever changed by a coach I hired. I was stuck in a ministry context that I found deadening. I reached out to my coach, a former ministry colleague from Atlanta, who arranged weekly phone calls to walk with me through critical decision points. I credit her, Suzanne Goebel, with helping me simplify my complicated situation, and assisting me to discern a future role in philanthropy. Because of her encouragement, I seized an opportunity and found my particular calling. I developed a white paper and strategic plan, presented it to my family, and found myself heading up a significant foundation. The rest is history. Having a coach join me in my journey at this critical juncture changed my life.
What Suzanne provided me was perspective. This increased self-awareness empowered me to move ahead and become unstuck. While researching for this blog post, I decided to google my old friend, and discovered she has now published articles on coaching. Regarding the benefits of coaching she cites: “Additional research that connects self-awareness to executive coaching is supported through the research of Kampa, Kokesch & Anderson where 45% of those survey reported increased self-awareness.”
This type of informal, customized, yet structured companionship is really the core of what I am hoping to achieve in the development of my artifact. Next generation philanthropy leaders are emerging, and yet many of them are strangers to suffering – instead, surrounded by the comforts and security of wealth, these Millennials are gold nuggets waiting to be discovered and refined. Walking into leadership requires an openness to passing through the fire of testing and learning to let pain be used by God to make us stronger. Finding those to be a companion on the journey is needed.
 Tom Camacho, Mining for Gold: Developing Kingdom Leaders Through Coaching (unpublished manuscript), 9.
 Tom Camacho, Mining for Gold: Developing Kingdom Leaders Through Coaching (unpublished manuscript), 28.
 Katherine Ely et al., “Evaluating Leadership Coaching: A Review and Integrated Framework,” The Leadership Quarterly, Leadership Development Evaluation, 21, no. 4 (August 1, 2010): 585–99, Accessed on June 20, 2019, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.leaqua.2010.06.003.
 Suzanne Goebel and Richard Baskerville, “From Self-Discovery to Learning Agility in Senior Executives,” SSRN Scholarly Paper (Rochester, NY: Social Science Research Network, September 20, 2013), Accessed on June 20, 2019, https://papers.ssrn.com/abstract=2327668.
7 responses to “Companions on a journey”
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Mark, I love to hear more about your artifact. As for the fact that with whom you are working are “strangers to suffering,” what refining processes do you see are work in their lives?
I loved hearing about your coach, Suzanne. What a great testimony, but better yet, well done for reaching out to her and seeking help. To me, that is the greatest struggle in coaching, many people won’t ask for help. Why is that? Maybe because of pride, or shame, or the money, or whatever.
Looking forward to meeting Pastor Camacho.
Mark, I simply want to say that you have contributed mightily to this Cohort! You are a jewel, and we are the better for the opportunity to learn with you.
Good post Mark. I think the bottle neck for organizations is always leaders. How’s many leaders can you develop!?
That’s awesome to hear about your experience with coaching. I’ve always wanted one but have always spent my time and resources in school. Perhaps eventually I will circle back to that.
You hit the nail on the head, a coach is so much more than a teacher. They are focussed on what we need rather than their agenda of what they want us to know. Thanks for the post and look forward to seeing you in London!
Great last post Mark…we are finally done with all the course work and ready to move on to finish our dissertations. Halleluja!!! What a pleasure it has been getting to know you and your wife and so fun to get to know your ministry of philanthropy. What a blessing you are to many people and I’m sure you are mining for gold with many of the people you work with in order to bring out the best in them and their giving. Look forward to playing in London!
My friend. How’s it going, eh? I’m proud of you for the strong finish for 2 years at GFU in the LGP program. Well done!
Nice quick summary on Camacho and how he digs up leaders, finds gold, and coaches them into successful Christian leaders.
I know you read Jay’s post, and he throws the wrench in the mix for coaching outside of the sterile, participating, and interested player list. Jay’s Evangelical pastors do not want to play ball and would rather ride the bench than go into the game. I’ll be interested to see how his questions play out in the Zoom tomorrow.
Great job Mark. See you in London.
You are such a wise soul and someone who has been an excellent writer, mentor, and friend. You are executing your research incredibly well and I am in awe of your focus and talent. Your perspective is so important in this program – and so is your lived faith. I am grateful for our friendship and am definitely a better person for knowing you!