Manpower: People are selected and placed in positions that fit their gifts, passions and callings and that align with the church’s objectives and culture

Mentor-Coaching In A Supervisory Relationship

In my experience the twin approach of coaching – facilitating discovery in you – and mentoring – filling in the knowledge that you don’t have – can be a powerful tool for the supervisor to use to catapult learning and initiate synergistic change in those they supervise.

In mentoring the expertise lies in the mentor and is transferred to the mentee. Mentoring recognizes that no amount of questioning can create knowledge where none exists and that external experience based sources of expertise are required to fill in knowledge gaps.

When mentoring, the supervisor is drawing upon their own life, leadership and job experience, knowledge, skills and habits to provide insights, ideas and understandings. In essence, when wearing the mentor hat the supervisor is striving to close the knowledge gap between themselves and their mentee.

In coaching the expertise lies within the person being coached, and the role of the coach is to help the coachee, in partnership with the Holy Spirit, discover and maximize their personality, strengths, gifts and potential to accomplish God’s plan and purpose for their life and ministry. Further, through asking powerful questions the supervisor can cause their direct reports to think reflectively, creatively problem solve, develop answers and behaviors they believe in, and motivate them to act on their ideas

In Designed to Lead, Eric Geiger and Kevin Peck observe that leaders are developed when knowledge, experiences and coaching converge. Knowledge is information that leaders must possess. Experiences are the opportunities to serve and put knowledge into practice. Coaching involves a shepherding leader helping those under their influence apply knowledge and experience

Similarly, William Yount, in Teaching Ministry of the Church, asserts that teaching is a synergy of thinking (knowledge), feeling (experiences) and doing (coaching). This type of development moves the head (cognitive learning), the heart (affective learning), and the hands (skills) and leads to transformation.

The convergence of these elements is the sweet spot of development that a supervisor is aiming for in a mentor-coach relationship.

Supervisor-Supervisee Mentoring

In 2 Tim. 2:2, Paul instructs Timothy, his mentee, “and what you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses entrust to faithful men who will be able to teach others also.” Paul mentored Timothy with specific knowledge, behaviors and skills and challenged Timothy to likewise train others, who would in turn teach others. This is the challenge a supervisor accepts when mentoring a supervisee.

Mentoring relationships with church staff frequently involves teaching, modeling, practicing and evaluating around specific church leadership concepts, such as:

  • Decision Making
  • Problem Solving
  • Prioritization
  • Strategic Planning
  • Leader Recruitment
  • Delegation
  • Communication
  • Leading Meetings
  • Ministry Best Practices

 Supervisor-Supervisee Coaching

Jesus illustrated principles of coaching in Luke 1:1-24 when He sent out the seventy disciples on a ministry assignment and followed up with an evaluation time upon their return.

Coaching relationships with church staff involves asking powerful questions, active listening and affirmation that lead the supervisee to develop solutions, determine next steps, make decisions, set outcome oriented goals, and put accountabilities in place that they believe in and own. Coaching related conversations may happen around relevant issues, such as:

  • Personhood Issues
  • Strengths and Personality
  • Calling
  • Life Transitions
  • Soul Care
  • Conflict Resolution
  • Staff Relationships and Interactions
  • Leader Relationships and Interactions
  • Next Level Leadership Behaviors and Barriers
  • Personal and Professional Goal Setting


Supervisor directed mentor-coaching sessions involve both an agenda set by the supervisor as well as the opportunity for the direct report to talk about what is most important to them. The goal of each mentor-coaching conversation is to help the direct report be their best and truest self, improve their job performance and satisfaction, provide accountability and offer support. In other words, create a better future and a better today.


Posted on March 14, 2017

Jim Baker

Jim is a Church Organizational Leadership and Management Coach, Consultant and Trainer. Throughout his career Jim has demonstrated a passion for showing Pastors and Ministers how to use organizational tools for church and personal growth and health.

More About Jim

“For I may be absent in body, but I am with you in spirit, rejoicing to see how well ordered you are and the strength of your faith in Christ.” Colossians 2:5