Supervision Through Gospel Coaching
The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse was a Royal Commission established in 2013 by the Australian government to inquire into and report upon responses by institutions to instances and allegations of child sexual abuse in Australia. The Commission examined the history of abuse in educational institutions, religious groups, sporting organisations, state institutions and youth organisations. The final report of the Commission made public on 15 December 2017 identified that failures of leadership were critical elements of what had gone wrong in churches, denominations and religious institutions.
The Essence of What Is Needed
In response to these failures of leadership and the damage caused by them, the commission recommended that systems be established for religious leaders to regularly discuss their work with a trained and qualified professional who can help them to consider and reflect on their leadership. Whilst the picture is complex, the needs in those regular reflection times fall into four broad areas:
a. Relationships and dynamics. Leaders need a structure to regularly reflect on the dynamics that exist between leaders and followers and the issues of power and influence that relate to leadership and followership; healthy relational boundaries; conflicts of interest etc.
b. Developing Processes and Systems. Leaders need to be able to create and maintain structures that encourage integrity, transparency, healthy risk management, vitalising culture and sound ethics as important elements of good governance; healthy accountability systems, and to deal well with other cultural issues within their ministry contexts with the goal of developing vitalising and safe values and practices.
c. Specific Leadership Skills. Leaders need to develop specific skills as they themselves supervise others under their direction and oversight. This includes things like self-awareness around personality, personal values, ministry philosophy, personal need and style, clear role descriptions, clarity also around reporting, complaints and grievance policies, performance reviews, oversight of workers and helpful conflict management practices
d. Support. Leaders also benefit from healthy emotional and practical support in these regular reflection times.
For a full understanding of the Royal Commission’s Response see Peter Moore’s paper here.
The Reach Australia coaching network is ready and equipped to support congregational and ministry leaders with the regular reflection that the Royal Commission has recommended. We offer a framework that meets the needs identified by the commission, and which is based on each coach receiving:
- Professional training;
- Ongoing professional development and with their own regular rhythm of supervision;
- Appointment from outside the denominational structure.
- Use of documented boundaries around confidentiality and the chain of reporting.
- A holistic focus that includes a keen interest on external behaviours and impacts, but also the inner life, including personal security that sees Christian leaders own weakness and failings and deal with those in ways that will be helpful for them and those they lead.
- Monitoring each leader’s engagement with professional development, and particularly in healthy ministry practices with a focus on child safety.
- Monitoring each leader’s participation in regular and credible performance appraisal.
Please contact us.
If you would like to explore the possibility of Reach Australia gospel coaches supporting you, or leaders within your denomination, please contact Michael Sams (firstname.lastname@example.org). Our coaches offer you the possibility of experienced, competent support that is developed for best practice and will allow healthy vitalised leaders and faith communities reach Australia for Christ.
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