There seems to be some confusion regarding the various roles leaders must play if they hope to succeed. For me, success in a leader is defined by having a vision, accomplishing the vision, and making more leaders who can have a vision, accomplish the vision, and make more leaders who… and so on.
When I am evaluating leaders I always look for three generations in the room – myself, the person I am mentoring, and the people he or she is mentoring. If you cannot see three generations, then the leadership model is probably new, flawed or broken. Leaders make more leaders as a natural part of leadership. Some are more intentional that others, but all real leaders produce more leaders.
In the reproduction of leaders we have to work through information/knowledge transfer, skill set transfer, and capacity building. Information/knowledge transfer is the primary function of teachers. Skill set transfer is the primary function of coaches & trainers, and development of capacity is the primary role of mentors.
Please note that all three functions require some capacity in the other two functions. Teachers who can’t coach & train new skill sets or help individuals expand their capacity are doomed to be poor to mediocre teachers. Great teachers are also leaders who can teach, coach & train, and mentor. The same can be said for coaches & trainers and their capacity to teach and mentor, and the same is true of mentors and their capacity to teach and coach & train. But each function has a focus, and we need to understand the differences in the foci.
The primary function of teachers is to transfer knowledge. Students are tested on knowledge. Usually teachers focus on one field of knowledge. You usually don’t see math teachers teaching English grammar. Education is about knowledge. Teachers are about the transfer of knowledge. And students are expected to demonstrate mastery of knowledge. Teachers focus on the knowledge they want to transfer. Great teachers also coach and mentor.
The primary function of coaches & trainers is to transfer skill sets. A football coach expects his players to know and sharpen the various skills required to play football. A football coach is only interested in teaching the knowledge related to football. A football coach does not care about bowling or any other sport not related to football. Character and capacity may or may not be a part of the coach’s plan, depending on the character of the coach.
Trainers fall into the same category as coaches. Trainers focus on the skill sets being trained. If a trainer of bank tellers is doing training, it is about being a teller. Trainers of bank tellers do not train them how to drive their cars. Coaches & trainers focus on the skill sets they want to transfer to others. One can know about football and still not play the game. Knowledge is not the focus. Specific knowledge and the skills to put this knowledge into action is the focus.
Mentors focus on people. Mentors want to help their mentorees to become the very best persons they can be. This will include knowledge and skill sets, plus character and capacity. When I mentor a person, it is not simply about church planting. It is about every area of life that helps the mentoree to be a better person in every aspect of life and a better leader.
When involved in mentoring I develop relationships that include the discussion, practice, improvement and multiplication of the following:
1. Relationship to God – what are you doing to improve your relationship with God and to lead those around you to improve their relationships with God?
2. Relationship to Family – what are you doing to improve each family member relationship and to lead each family member to improve their relationships with other family members?
3. Relationship to church and community – what are you doing to improve your relationship in your church and community, and to assist your church and community to be the best they can be?
4. Fulfillment of God’s call on one’s life – how do you understand God’s call on your life and how are you striving to be the best at this call, and how are you helping others to understand their calls and how to be the best at what God has called them to do?
5. Excellence in job performance – what are you doing to be the best at your job and help others be the best at their jobs?
6. Keeping fit mentally, physically, emotionally, and spiritually – what are you doing to improve your mental, physical, emotional, and spiritual health, and how are you helping those around you to do the same?
Please note that these are in order. You will not do well on number six if you have not done one through five. Some have questioned my order, but I submit that the qualifications required to be involved in ministry place numbers one through three ahead of four and five, and God’s call (number four) should take precedence over any job.
Some may say that their call and their job are the same. I find this unlikely. I can plant churches, but if I don’t make the reports my job requires I will lose my job. Or, I can be very good at filling out reports and never get around to fulfilling my call. Call and job are not the same for anyone I know.
I hope this post will help you to begin evaluating and discussing how to be a better leader. Church Planting and Church Planting Movements require great leaders. Great leaders don’t just happen. The development of leaders is intentional and on-going.
From Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia