Listening for the Growing Edge

By Ircel Harrison, Pinnacle's Coaching Coordinator

The famous thinker Anonymous is reported to have said, “History repeats itself because no one listens the first time.” Someone commented recently that she appreciated my blog comments. My response was, “That’s because I am becoming a better listener.”

Listening is an important life skill. It is one that a good leader will work to develop. Listening is a mandatory skill for a coach. I have been thinking recently that I have learned the most in my ministry when I have asked the right questions and listened carefully for the answers. When coaching skills such as listening and leadership are brought together, phenomenal things can happen.

The area in which I am spending a good deal of my time these days is in leadership coaching. I have always been interested in the area of leadership, especially as it applies to the church and its various manifestations, but I have become more aware of the impact that effective coaching can have in the life of believers and their empowerment as leaders.

Taking a cue from Gary Collins in Christian Coaching, I embrace the idea that “leadership coaching refers to the coaching of leaders and potential leaders around two specific issues: enabling leaders to become better leaders and equipping leaders to use coaching as a way to lead others.”

In my work with Pinnacle Leadership Associates, I do individual coaching with clergy leaders as they deal with personal, professional, and spiritual issues. They identify their “growing edge,” then I work with them to develop an action plan and provide support as they pursue it.

We are helping leaders apply coaching skills in the local church through our Disciple Development Coaching © workshops and training. DDC helps church leaders—both lay and clergy—to learn coaching skills as they work with their peers, church members, teams, and committees. I have found that church leaders are ready to embrace a new approach to disciple development based on the priesthood of the believer and clergy resourcing.

As we seek to encourage and involve young leaders in the church, older lay leaders as well as clergy can use coaching skills to empower and equip younger church members. Young adults are looking for encouraging relationships to help them discover their own gifts and skills and to grow into them. They no longer want to “fill a slot” on a committee; they want to make a difference for the Kingdom of God.

Think about where your “growing edge” may be. How are you engaging it? Who can coach you to move toward it? Who can you coach as they pursue their own walk as a disciple?

Contact Ircel at