These are notes of the talk given by Geoff Pound at the COACH elective at the ABC Community Ministries Expo on 31 August 2014. 

COACH is a new ministry ABC is looking to start in 2015 in conjunction with the Syndal Baptist Church

What is COACH

COACH is a community mentoring programme. C.O.A.C.H means Creating Opportunities And Casting Hope

How Does COACH Work

COACH is a long term mentoring programme that equips mentors from within the Christian community to draw alongside families and assist them to have a brighter future. It was started by the New Peninsula Baptist Church in 2004 to assist church volunteers to make safe and effective connections with families in their local public housing estate. More recently it has been placed under the umbrella of Mission Australia. It now exists in many churches throughout Australia and with scores of families.

What COACH HQ Will Do

When as ABC we say, ‘YES, we are ready to start’, Mark Matthews (formerly a social worker and now National Coordinator for COACH) will visit CamCare, the Craig Family Centre and Ashburton schools and explain what COACH is and what COACH might do. Mark will ask these local service organisations: “Do you have families that you think might benefit from a person or a couple who can meet with them on a regular basis to help with their goals and give encouragement and some accountability?”

What Ashburton Service Organisations Will Do

They will select families at the ‘softer end of the welfare spectrum’:

  • Not those with chronic difficulties.
  • Not high maintenance people with enormous problems.
  • Not people for whom it would be unsafe to develop a mentoring relationship.

Who are the Mentors?

Mentors do not have to be social workers, counsellors, teachers, pastors or financial advisers but they are people who will be taught mentoring and where people might get specialist advice. They are sometimes described as ‘friends with a purpose’.

Training and Supervision

  • The mentors will go through a selection process. 
  • They will undergo 14 hours of initial training.
  • They will be assigned a local COACH coordinator. 
  • Mentors can call for help at the COACH office.

The Mentoring Relationship

  • Mentors will get to establish a friendship. 
  • They will help families toward achieving 2-3 life goals. 
  • They write these goals in an agreement.
  • They make a 12-month commitment after which they decide to go on with new goals or they finish mentoring but continue as friends. 
  • There is a review at the six-month mark to check on whether the relationship is working and worthwhile pursuing.

How Will it Work at Ashburton Baptist?

  • ABC has struck an agreement with Syndal Baptist in which we’ll partner with them. 
  • Syndal (as a larger church) will serve as ‘Hub’ while ABC will be an ‘affiliate’. 
  • This means that ABC will piggy-back on SBC. ABC mentors will initially be trained with SBC mentors. 
  • ABC mentors will be coordinated by the SBC COACH coordinator.

N.B. A cap will be placed on the number of ABC and Syndal mentors as there is a limit to how many mentors a coordinator can look after. As COACH expands it is anticipated that the COACH Coordinator role will expand from one day a week to two and more.

When is it Happening?

  • The SBC COACH Coordinator role is being advertised appointed in September 1-21 2014 with an appointment being made soon after.
  • Training of ABC and SBC mentors will take place late in 2014.
  • The launch date of COACH at Syndal and Ashburton will be in February 2015.

Further Information and Resources

COACH, Mission Australia. Introductory video on COACH, Mission Australia web site. 2014 Coach Conference, 16 October 2014. Personnel involved in COACH.


If you are interested in learning more or being involved as a COACH mentor, please speak to Geoff Pound or contact the church office.