PB02l63TRGq9OfCsOPze_church.jpeg?profile=RESIZE_584xHow Coaching Gives Leaders Courage to Lead

10 Reasons Every Leader Needs a Coach

(Coach) Shawn Lovejoy

I find it hard to believe that I have already been coaching pastors for twenty years. 

However, when I am speaking to a group of leaders, I will often say, “If you hear me something and think to yourself, ‘I have heard that somewhere before,’ I can promise you that’s true. I have rarely had an original thought! Everything I know I learned from someone else... probably a coach!” 

I’ve had some great mentors and coaches in my life: 

  • Sam Chand
  • Andy Stanley
  • Larry Osborne
  • Dave Ferguson
  • Todd Wilson
  • Rick Warren
  • Many others

I say all of this NOT to name-drop, but to express that I am largely who I am because of the great coaches investing in my life. 


I simply believe that every leader should have a coach. 

I have usually had at least three different coaches regularly speaking into my life at the same time! 

I process every major decision through a coach— and many minor decisions as well.   

Why do I believe in coaching so much? 

Why do I believe every leader needs a coach? 

Well, listed below are ten reasons I believe every leader needs a coach. 


1. Coaching is Biblical

(Voices who are wise.)

God reminds us over and over in Scripture about the importance of seeking counsel and getting advice wise people around us. 

Proverbs 19:20 is a great example: “Get all the advice and instruction you can, so you will be wise the rest of your life.” 

Proverbs 20:18 says, “Plans succeed through good counsel; don’t go to war without wise advice.” 

Notice it says WISE advice. It’s easy to get counsel from all our friends. However, what we often need is counsel from someone who’s been where we’re going— 

  • Someone more experienced than we are. 
  • Someone wiser than us. 

It’s Biblical! 


2. Coaching protects us. 

(Voices that have been where we want to go.)

I’m proud of the fact that in 20 years of vocational ministry, I never had a trainwreck. The ministries I led never went off the rails. 

Because I’m perfect? 

No— not at all.

I really believe this… 

Because I stayed in relationship with Godly, wise coaches in my life, it helped keep me sane, centered, and married. 

I sought counsel before every major decision, so it made my decisions better! 

We never jumped the tracks in the ministries I led because coaches always helped me see the potential train coming and helped me navigate around it. 

Coaches have helped to save my butt MANY times! 


3. Coaching gives permission. 

(Voices who tells us what’s OK.)

I have found that many times we as leaders have a sense deep down in our minds what the issues are. We have a sensing of what God wants us to do. 

  • We just need to hear someone else say we’re not CRAZY for thinking what we’re thinking! 
  • We need courage to move forward! 

I call that giving leaders permission. 


4. Coaching talks leaders off the ledge. 

(Voices who keep us in the game.) 

There have been many days I have called a coach because I thought the sky was about to fall. 

  • Things were not good. 
  • Things were about to crumble. 
  • The stuff was hitting the fan. 

My mind was stuck on worse case scenario. However, as reason #5 highlights… 


5. Coaching inspires us.

(Voices that encourage us.)

Not one time in a coaching conversation did I ever come away discouraged. I went into almost every coaching conversation that way… but I didn’t leave that way! 

I can honestly say that I have been most inspired to think and dream bigger and pursue the vision God has placed on my heart on the heels of coaching conversations. Coaching has that kind of power!  

Good coaches inspire their players. I have been inspired and I love doing the same for other leaders. 


6. Coaching offers outside perspective.  

(Voices that will point out our blind spots.)

We all have blind spots. We all have certain lens through which we see the world and the organizations we lead. 

(And don’t say you don’t have any— by their very definition, blind spots are those areas you can’t see, those hidden things you think you don’t have!)

We all have certain ways of thinking. The challenges in front of us often become like forgotten cracks in a mirror we don’t see after a certain period of time. 

Coaching addresses all of that with a new, fresh perspective!


7. Coaching challenges us. 

(Voices who will challenge us.)

"Iron sharpens iron," says Proverbs 27:17.

Do you know HOW iron sharpens iron?

Heat and friction! 

We need both. 


  • We need to be pushed. 
  • We need to be held accountable. 
  • We need to execute. 
  • We need to read. We need to learn. 
  • We need to get and stay healthy. 

All of that requires a bit of intensity, doesn’t it?

Coaches are like personal trainers. They provide challenge and accountability that we can’t get by downloading content or attending conferences.


8. Coaching grows the leadership capacity of myself and the organization I lead.   

(Voices who will hold us accountable.) 

I doubt I have had very many original thoughts. Almost everything I know I learned from someone else. 

So when I spend time with someone who’s been further down the road than I am now, see things I’ve never seen before AND THEN I’m held responsible for doing something with the new information that I have.


9. Coaching confronts isolation and loneliness. 

(Voices that meet us where we are and remind us we’re part of something bigger)

Sure we can attend conferences and download content, but where can I sit down and talk through whatever’s keeping me up at night?

Where else can we go and ask: “So I’ve got this guy on my team ________________” and then completely fill-in the blanks, get honest feedback (with the appropriate encouragement AS WELL as challenge!)?

A great coach...

  • starts with my challenges, not their content!  
  • start with where you ARE, not with where they want to be… 

Of course, then they bridge that gap and help take you farther than you imagined possible!

We’re passionate about that aspect of coaching!


10. Coaching gives us an advantage. 

(Voices that will push us to think bigger)

Learning, growing, leaders win. 

They succeed.


Isolated leaders? 

They stop learning and stop growing. Sooner or later, the organizations they lead do the same. Don’t allow that to be you! 



Interested in learning more about what coaching could look like for you?

 WIth thanks to Courage to Lead

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    As J.C. Worley steps in to take a more active leadership role the Courageous Pastors movement-- and, as he preps to take over the podcast-- we decided to "catch him up" on where we've been.

    Nothing like a quick crash-course to do it!

    In this talk we divide the content from the past 23 talks into 7 “buckets,” that is, 7 repeating themes we noticed over the past 23 conversations with church and ministry leaders.

    Here's our list:

    #1 = Be you (not a knock-off of some other leader).

    #2 = Take care of you. You can’t pour from an empty cup, serve from dry well, run on an empty tank… you get the idea.

    #3 = Race relations are tough— and are worth the work. And they’re tough. And they’re worth the work. And tough. And worth it. And they are part of bringing the presence of the Kingdom.

    #4 = The pandemic happened. Regardless of where you stand politically or medically or on any other issue, culture shifted and that radically changed how we do church.

    #5 = One of the changes is that church moved out of the building. For sure, we don’t want to stay out of the four walls— as if it’s an either-or decision. We want to do both, gather and scatter.

    #6 = Look back to the past— not to see failures and frustrations but to see the faithfulness of God. When we see our history with Him, and where He’s brought us, we gain confidence to keep stepping forward.

    #7 = Coach-ability. It matters. Never underestimate the value of an outside voice to speak into your life and give you perspective, unleash new potential, and push you beyond what you dreamed possible.

    Many people think the church is in trouble, that it’s going to disappear.

    Don’t believe it. The church, I believe, is getting stronger!

    J.I. Packer was asked years ago, “Who’s the best preacher?” He replied, “You don’t know him.”

    When pushed, he replied that not even he knew him because God has people all over, everywhere-- and they're all doing phenomenal work.

    Elijah didn’t realize there were 7,000 more prophets besides him… and that is true today.

    You're not alone. And, you're an important part of what's happening.

    Listen in-- and you'll see what I mean.


    Your Friend & Coach,

    Shawn Lovejoy

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    PS-- I'd love to see you in Birmingham for the first "Killer Team" event!

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