The key to improving performance is to locate the areas of drag of an existing design.
For example, in the 1950’s car windshields were designed upright, but windshields on today’s cars are more angled to reduce drag. Consider the Olympics. The swimmer’s “skin” is patterned after sharkskin in order to reduce drag. Likewise, the winter Olympic bobsleds and speed skating suits are designed to reduce drag.
Some attempt to defeat drag. Runners and elite athletes often try to cheat drag by running with a small parachute attached at their waists. The purpose is to create resistance (drag) as they run, which increases their stamina and strength. But one of the clear facts from the laws of aerodynamics is that you can’t cheat drag.
Just like runners can’t cheat drag, leaders can’t cheat drag. Leaders cannot reach their potential or maximize their effectiveness by carrying around a drag parachute comprised of significant social and emotional skill set and organizational deficients.
But organizational, emotional, and spiritual drag can be reduced.
Coaching can help do just that. The Church Multiplication Network (CMN), a ministry of the Assemblies of God for church planting, believes that the use of coaching will reduce drag and lead to healthier ministers and healthier church plants. Coaching is not the only tool that can be used to reduce drag, CMN trained coaches help persons being coached determine how to implement the use of other tools such as mentors, consultants and counseling in the journey of reducing drag from their personal and ministry lives.
The Church Multiplication Network has partnered with Purdue University to train, assess, evaluate and report on the impact of coaches’ work with church plants. Coaches are being trained using International Coach Federation competencies. They are then assessed to determine when their coaching skills are at a predetermined quality level and given a certificate as Assemblies of God certified coaches. Coaches start working with church plant pastors during pre-launch and continue working with the team for at least the first three years of the church’s life. Church Multiplication Network has partnered to help coach 79 churches plants thus far in 09. Through these 79 churches, 2,126 persons have given their lives to Christ; and over $314,000 has been given to missions. CMN’s goal is to plant 500 churches each year.
CMN Coaches are being trained with skills to help ministry leaders discover areas of skill set drag, which impact performance and efficiency, both personally and organizationally. Coaches use Christian coaching listening and questioning skills, which include an ear that hears not only the person being coached but also the Holy Spirit, helping ministers establish personal plans for intervention and accountability systems. These God-birthed plans lead not only to more efficient performance but also less personal friction, a by-product of drag that can lead to damaging emotional and spiritual drain.
Church Multiplication Network has also been asked by the Assemblies of God to train and certify coaches for the Church Transformation Network. Training includes specific coaching skills in the area of change, transition and transformation and the coaching of teams. These coaches are being used with pastors who are working in older, established churches to revitalize missional focus, develop vision for the future, and overcome obstacles that cloud decisions or keep them from growing. The coaches work as well with these pastors helping them move forward as leaders and personally in their spiritual, emotional, and relational lives.
 Rich Handley, “Advanced EQ-I Interpretation Techniques: The Concepts of Drag, Balance, and Leverage,” in Handbook for Developing Emotional and Social Intelligence: Best Practices, Case Studies, and Strategies, ed. by Marcia Hughes, Henry L. Thompson, and James Bradford Terrell (San Francisco: Pfeiffer, 2006), 97-110.