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.