You know the scenario…your mission team leader has just called you and asked if you would come to the team meeting on Thursday to help them set a new direction for the year. With new members on the team, there’s great energy to see some new initiatives started. You don’t want to walk in empty-handed but you really want to see the team take ownership for the direction they choose. How can you help them catch a fresh vision for missions? Try doing a SWOT Analysis.
Coaching, whether with an individual or a team, starts with the premise that God has already been speaking to those you coach and your role is simply to ask the right questions to help the coachee discover that direction. When coaching a team, one of the challenges is to help each person on the team participate and yet keep the whole team moving in the same direction.
Before setting new direction, it’s always good to begin by evaluating where you are right now. Getting ‘the lay of the land’ will enable you to see, evaluate and celebrate what God has already been doing. You will also be able to assess on-going ministry opportunities and resources you can take advantage of.
The SWOT Model
A great tool to help you do this with a team is the SWOT Analysis. SWOT stands for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats. The tool is a 4 quadrant square (see example on next page). Strengths and Opportunities are positioned on the left side of the square, encompassing the positive aspects of your situation. The Weaknesses and Threats, on the right side, help you look at the challenging aspects of your ministry situation. Strengths and Weaknesses are on the top, primarily focused on internal aspects of the ministry while Opportunities and Threats, on the bottom, focus on external aspects of your situation.
When working with a team you will need a writing space large enough, such as a white board, to capture their input. We suggest that you begin by asking the team what strengths they see in the existing ministry. It’s always good to start out with the positive and take time to celebrate what God is already doing. Then move on to Weaknesses, Opportunities (not yet taken advantage of) and Threats or obstacles that would keep the team from accomplishing their goals. Try to exhaust ideas for each list before going on to the next.
As a coach you will need to help the team keep the focus on the present ministry and not get side-tracked. You may want to go around the group and have people take turns adding their comments to each list. In this way everyone will contribute which will increase their investment in the process and the outcome. Resist the temptation to rephrase their comments into your own language – use their words! If the comment is too long to write, ask them to rephrase it.
After you have filled out each quadrant to everyone’s satisfaction , ask them to reflect on what they observe about their present situation. Have someone transcribe the list onto a paper that can be given or emailed out to the team for their prayer and reflection.
using the SWOT Analysis tool you now have a word picture of your present situation! To take the next step, follow up with an APA Analysis using the tool found at this link.
SWOT Analysis Tool
Use this tool to help a team take an honest look at the present ministry landscape.
Strengths: What is working well?
Weaknesses: What needs improvement or change?
Opportunities: What opportunities are around us?
Threats: What obstacles do we face?
Jeannette Buller Slater has been a coach since 1984. She offers executive coaching for pastors and church planters through www.CoachingPastors.com