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Transformissional Coaching: Empowering Leaders in a Changing Ministry World, by Steve

Ogne and Tim Roehl. Nashville: Broadman & Holman, 2008. 286 pages. Reviewed by Jason
M. Fletcher.

This work was chosen for review as it is a current work in the field of leadership

development, with the stated purpose of engaging new leaders in fulfilling the Great Commission

(3). Steve Ogne serves as a consultant for Church Resource Ministries. He holds a Doctor of

Ministry in Transformational Leadership from Bakke Graduate University in Seattle

Washington. He has served as a church planter and has also co-authored the Church Planter’s

Toolkit and Empowering Leaders Through Coaching. Tim Roehl serves as a consultant with

Church Resource Ministries, and in 2011 became the Denominational Director of Church Health

and Multiplication for The Wesleyan Church.

In Transformissional Coaching the authors have coined a new term. Their goal in this

work is to show how coaching can help someone progress both in their spiritual development

(inward) and their ministry productivity (outward). The underlying basis for transformissional

coaching is the implementations of both the Great Commandment as well as the Great

Commission (3). If this book is successful at marrying these two biblical principles it might just

be able to provide a way forward in developing well-grounded ministry leaders. There is so

much material in this work that the limitations of this book review prevent a full treatment, I

would like to address the areas that were most significant.

In response to a changing culture the authors have presented a new paradigm for

coaching. This new paradigm moves away from a primary purpose on ministry productivity and

performance and offers a more holistic approach that combines character development with

ministry leadership (29). They specifically focus this holistic approach toward four critical


areas: “helping the leader clarify calling, cultivate character, create community, and connect

with culture” (author’s emphasis, 29-30).

The authors make it clear that Scripture is the standard and source for character

development (36-37). In their six steps toward helping someone overcome character challenges,

step two is to “help the leader identify and accept biblical references, standards, and examples”

(36). 2 Timothy 3:16 is cited for the sufficiency and authority of Scripture. Finally, they issue a

warning that every other standard other than Scripture will eventually wear down, including the

coach’s own personal standard as well as the standard of culture (37).

The authors also call for a transformissional coach to create community. The church

needs authentic community. The authors cite a definition that states, “real people, in real

relationships, all of the time” (39). Again, underscoring the importance of Scripture the authors

quote twenty-nine biblical passages pertaining to community (40-41).

The four critical areas do not simply stand alone, they intersect and inform one another.

In their concluding remarks concerning these areas, the authors include a list of questions which

act as a grid by which one might evaluate the convergence of each area. For example, in the first

area, “calling,” they ask, “How is your calling influencing your character?”, “How are you called

to serve your faith community?”, and “How are you called to influence your culture?” (49).

Showing the interconnectedness of the four areas of coaching is helpful in reinforcing the holistic

approach that the authors have set out to describe.

In chapter six the authors overlay seven habits for successful coaching on top of the four

critical areas. These seven habits include listening, caring, celebrating, strategizing, training,

discipling, and challenging. Most of these habits may be self-evident, but the authors distinguish

between training and discipling. Training emphasizes the instruction in a skill or certain

information that is necessary for the leader to learn. The authors use the habit of discipling to

make the spiritual growth and development of the leader primary.

Unfortunately, the authors do not discuss where they developed the seven habits. In other

places where they have borrowed material from others it is clearly stated, so it might be safe to

assume that it is their own opinion. It would have been helpful to discuss how they identified

these seven habits and why they are the most important. For instance, why are there only seven


They also include a strategy for guiding coaching conversations. The “4D” approach was

developed by Steve Ogne and is the strategy both authors recommend. The four d’s include

discern, discover, develop, and depend (116). Discern asks the question, “where is God

working?” (116). This question makes for a great starting point that might cause the leader to

think intentionally on the spiritual level. In the second step the leader then “discovers” how God

might want him or her to participate in what He’s doing (117). The final two steps begin to deal

strategically with what has been uncovered in the discern and discovery phases. The third step

“develops” the next steps and helps the leader “construct a practical course of action” (117). The

final step acknowledges the leaders “dependence” upon the Lord and others to help make the

course of action a success (118). Unlike the discussion in this chapter concerning the seven

habits, in speaking of this conversation strategy they state from their experience that “younger

leaders who minister in a more postmodern context appreciate its relational emphasis” (115).

A chapter is included that deals specifically with coaching postmodern leaders. While

this chapter may become dated as soon as culture changes, its principles may yield fruit for the

current generation of leaders. Steve Ogne gives eight observations on how to coach postmoderns

effectively: values are more important than vision, authenticity is more important that quality,

ministry is personal and relational, not programmatic or institutional, ministry is more missional

than attractional, success is measured by the experience--not the result, accountability is found in

a community of leaders, Bible story is more powerful than management, and postmodern leaders

need holistic support (219-226).

Several of these observations resonated with me personally. Though I would not

consider myself a postmodern, my generation would be considered fully postmodern and as

such, I probably bear more cultural resemblance to my generation that I may like to admit.

Values are much more important to me personally, than vision. I struggle with vision as the

future is difficult to imagine. My generation has seen the destruction of the World Trade Towers

on 9/11/01 and the collapse of the financial markets in 2009. We live in a time of uncertainty

about our world, how much more difficult is it to project a vision for the future? It is far more

important, in my view, to establish healthy values within my life and ministry than it is to try to

chart out a future that may not happen.

I find myself very much agreeing with the quality that says accountability comes through

a community of leaders. I have personally experienced this in my role as pastor in how I have

sought to build a relationship with my deacons. I look to them as both a sounding board and

team of spiritual leaders within our church. I find that I do not lead out unilaterally on any

decision without having their full support. I also look to them for accountability, to call me out if

I am not leading or serving with integrity. I have also developed this in my own life

educationally. One of the factors that led me to the D.Min. program at Southeastern Baptist

Theological Seminary was the emphasis on a community of leaders. The first element was the

use of the cohort model, where I would journey through this degree along with other men and

women. The second element was the inclusion of my professors, the director of the program, my

faculty supervisor, as well as my field mentor. Through various parts of this program I would be

accountable to a community of leaders in order to graduate. Finally, I have seen how I have

developed this quality in my life through the participation with other pastors in our association.

It is not my desire to be a solitary leader. I want to learn, grow, and serve with a community of

leaders, with the other pastors in my area, that together we might reach our area for Christ. The

quality on the emphasis on a community of leaders is one in which, I believe, cannot be


The only quality in this list that I might have a disagreement over is the measure of

success being more on the experience than the results. This is a subjective marker, and, though it

might be helpful in knowing how to coach postmoderns, I believe one would be doing a

disservice to coach in the direction of experience. It becomes relative as one person’s judgment

of the experience may be different than another’s. Judging an experience may depend more

upon factors that are uncontrollable, such as emotional reactions, that may lead someone to

unfairly criticize a ministry, just because they did not “feel” right on that particular day. Apart

from this one particular element, this chapter does well in informing someone in how to

effectively coach those in the postmodern generation.

In conclusion, this book could be described as a handbook or manual for

“transformissional” coaching. Each chapter is full of material that could be directly used in a

coaching relationship. Each chapter ends with a list of personal questions to help the coach

evaluate and develop his own coaching methodology. Finally, it includes a generous

bibliography for further help. This work would be a welcome addition to the library of any

pastor, who could use it in leading his church leadership, including ministerial staff or

volunteers. The same listening and coaching skills could be easily adapted to use in pastoral

counseling. I would also highly recommend this book for anyone who is in a position of

leadership development as the principles could be used in a variety of settings: denominational,

parachurch, or even business and non-ministry settings. In fact, when it comes to taking the

gospel into the business community, the principles from this book would go a long way toward

helping those in secular leadership roles coach their co-workers and teams into a relationship

with Jesus Christ.