Partnering Between Immediate and Distant Teams

In a ministry like ours where we are trying to reach students in every ethnic community, all of the athletes, the Greeks, the Goths, etc., etc. not all of us have the skills necessary to reach every type of student on every campus.  It will take partnering with others who have such specific training to reach those students.  Whether it is Impact, AIA, Valor or Bridges, there are staff who can partner with you to reach every student on your campuses.

Lorna Johnson, Team Leader for the North and West Regions Field Ministry of the ImpactMovement, sent me her article that speaks to partnering with others.  Here is a portion of that article.

New Lenses in Partnering

As a certified track coach, I have experienced the importance of working as a team to see an athlete excel to the best of their ability.  I have been called the technician of the team.  My focus is with hurdles.  Others on teams I’ve coached are called sprint coaches, distance coaches or field coaches which involve events like high jump, pole vault, etc.  I think you get the idea.  As IMPACT and Campus Crusade endeavor in this partnership, we, too, are coaches on a field.  II Timothy 2:5 states, “Also if anyone competes as an athlete, he does not win the prize unless he competes according to the rules.’’  Our target students, the African American descent, are on a track that is requiring our coaching abilities.  Our desire is to provide discipline, strength, and endurance for this Spiritual race.

“Everyone one competes in the games exercises self-control in all things.  They then do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable.  Therefore I run in such a way, as not without aim; I box in such a way, as not beating the air; but discipline my body and make it my slave, so that, after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified.” I Corinthians 9:25-27

Being a team coach requires a wide range of skills and perspectives and the ability to know which to access and when. Underlying those are personal qualities of courage, risk taking and maturity. I will be referring to the two partnering teams as “Immediate Team” which is the team that is in close proximity, or on-site with the targeted students.  “Distant Team” will be the name of the partnership team that is coaching from a distance.  Skills and orientations needed for effective partnership coaching include:

  • Clarity regarding performance and development. When a coach facilitates learning for the team as a whole, then coaching takes on a developmental dimension. This learning includes individuals gaining insight, practicing different behaviors and thought processes as an individual as well as their team members effectiveness. It also involves teams assessing and moderating their behaviors in order to increase overall effectiveness.  There will need to be a sliding scale for a learning curve.   In order for this to work, constant communication and repetition will be required.
  • A legacy and altruistic orientation. Team coaching work does not always have an immediate payoff for the coach or the teams. The pulls of other outside forces not under either teams control are great and constant. Committing to this type of coaching does call on an altruistic dimension of the coach or a strong connection to the mission and its team members in both partnerships.
  • Organizational savvy. The coach needs to be adept at being part of a coaching organization and not just be skilled at individual coaching. This means being collaborative and open to influence and learning. It also means being willing to share unsuccessful strategies so other coaches may avoid the same difficulties.
  • Systems thinking perspective. Coaches must have enough expertise in organizational dynamics to conduct team coaching with awareness and understanding of the complex organizational dynamics in which the team operates. I call this flexibility and things being different not wrong.
  • Comfort with ambiguity. Emerging organizational and team dynamics lend unpredictability to the process. Coaches must be willing to be led by the team, the “Distant Team,” to the ways in which the “Immediate Team,” carries out its work and the outcomes that the team delivers, rather than the “Immediate Team” expecting to drive the direction and specific outcomes. What this allows are athletes, our target students, that are getting the expertise of each coach as long as there is coordination of the workouts.
  • Understanding, identifying and managing boundaries. Team coaching calls on the coach to be finely attuned to boundary management because there are many more active relationships involved on an ongoing basis, and the coach is working within at least three relational units: one-to-one with individual coaches, the teams and the students.
  • Balancing individual, team and organizational needs. The team coach has to be able to balance the needs of each relationship and do that with clarity and consent. For the leader coach accustomed to the pattern and process of one-to-one coaching, team coaching requires a basic shift in orientation.

The ideas, concepts, and principles shared with you have been spurred on by The Center for Creative Leadership Handbook of Coaching (Jossey-Bass 2006).  Our job description is calling us to extend our development and coaching responsibilities to entire teams. These teams are no longer the typical teams that are in close proximity but ones connected via a cause, a people group or cultures. The challenge for us leaders coaching is identifying what each partner significantly contributions to team effectiveness by using coaching practices.

So what does this mean for us?  Say, for example, you have International Students on your campus that you have a desire to reach.  However, you might not have experience working with Internationals.  Having Linda Woods, on my Student LINC team, coach your students to reach Internationals is an example of that Distance Team connecting with your Immediate Team that Lorna is talking about.  Here are a few others:  (In some cases, they may suggest a person closer to your location or the one responsible for your region.)

  • AIA:  Scott Mottice
  • Destino:  Anna Pratt
  • Epic:  Darrin Mabuni
  • Faculty Commons:  Rick Hove
  • ImpactMovement:  Scott Crocker
  • Korean Campus Crusade for Christ:  Dong Whan Kim
  • Nations:  Mike Kelly
  • Student Venture:  Pat Senkbeil
  • Valor Movement:  Jim Hocker

If you would want contact info for any of these, email me and I can provide that information.


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