As communicators, we live by speaking and communicating. We have our speakers to help us share and spread the word of God effectively. But as experienced as our speakers could be, is it still necessary for them to get coached and evaluated from time to time? There are a few conversations in accounts to this topic, talking about the need for speakers to be assessed and mentored every once in a while. Some people say that it isn’t necessary and what’s actually important is these speakers’ calling. But why is it even necessary that our speakers get evaluated and coached?
What Does it Mean to Coach and Evaluate?
First, let’s define coaching and evaluating. One key difference between coaching and evaluating is that coaching can be directly applied to any skill you’re working to improve. On the other hand, evaluation is the process of determining if what you did went well or something is wrong. To do an evaluation means you have to observe and monitor a process, a person, or an object. Evaluating something means you point out, or bring attention to, something that is not correct or needs improvement.
Usually, these two are often done alongside each other. Evaluation happens first. Then, if possible, coaching happens next. So what actually is coaching? When someone gives you exact steps or actions on how to improve something, that is coaching.
Why is it Important?
For us communicators, it is important to work on our way of communicating. How we speak, how we move, and how we deliver the message we want to send across our congregation is important. The question is, how are we gonna improve these factors and our overall performance? The answer lies in coaching and evaluation. There are lots of start-up speakers and teachers out there who are good and are passionate. Just think about how great they will be if they had proper training and assessment?
Receiving coaching and evaluation doesn’t mean that you’re bad at what you do. Think of it as ways or stepping stones for improvement and growth. These processes would help us, speakers, to grow. It helps us to do our mission better, which is to spread the Word of God. But it does not stop right there. It is also important to consider “who” coaches and evaluates us. After all, it is not just the “hows” of preaching that we need to monitor but also the very message that our preachers impart.
Thoughts from our Fellow Church Communicators
“As a team, we evaluate every week, and I’ve got a few people I get to evaluate whenever I’m up!” – Owen Scott.
“There are meetings in which speakers discuss how it went for those who preached. It’s coaching-focused (how to help), not really feedback-focused (how it could be better). But I guess the problem with speakers is usually not their talent but their ability to listen to what God wants to communicate today. I’d rather have a stumbling sincere, faithful speaker with a personal relationship with God than a very articulate and charismatic speaker who is just repeating some theology. Only when you really have a God-focused group of speakers does it make sense to focus on techniques. In all other cases, it would be more useful to focus on faith, in my opinion.” – Jelte Arntzen.
“It’s widespread for our pastor to stop in my office, or the office of someone else on the message prep team, to bounce ideas off of during the week while he is writing. Then we do a full message run-through on Thursday to give feedback on content and delivery, so he has time to make adjustments and practice before Sunday. We do a brief feedback session between services on Sunday, just if there is anything that could be clarified or cleaned up for the second service. Our team is made up of people who have built up a lot of trust among one another, and we are each able to speak into the evaluation process from a different angle. It’s been beneficial for us.” – Julie Biorkman.
“Coaching and feedback are great and very useful for those being trained to go into pastoral ministry. Even well-seasoned pastors may benefit from it. Our Pastor has been preaching for 20 years, and his sermon is critiqued just the same. It’s about striving for clarity and accuracy. That is to be celebrated, not denigrated.” –Rodrigo Navarrete Jr.
All speakers have different ways of how they do their work. But we also have to remember that the accuracy of the message we share is just as important, if not more, than the way it is delivered. We should always remind ourselves that our words have a powerful impact on those who listen to them. We need to practice responsible communication. A way to do that is to evaluate and coach the speaker’s theological correctness and proper delivery.