109. Leadership as Learning, Part 2: Coaches and Cohorts, with Tod Bolsinger


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Leadership, at its core, always has to do with navigating change. In a world like ours, change leadership is more critical than ever. But change leadership, or adaptive leadership, is impossible if the leader isn’t willing or able to take a learning posture.
In this episode, Tod Bolsinger and Markus Watson talk about how best to learn for the sake of leadership. Learning is always more effective in community. Learning happens best, in other words, with the support of a cohort of others who are on the same leadership journey, and the guidance of a coach who can challenge our assumptions and ask provocative questions.

  • Tod Bolsinger is the Executive Director of Fuller Theological Seminary’s Church Leadership Institute.
  • Markus Watson and Tod Bolsinger give a brief synopsis of Episode 108, “Context and Creativity.”
  • Many leaders are discovering that they need help. They are realizing that they don’t have all the answers.
  • Tod Bolsinger explains why a cohort is so important for learning as a leader. The leader’s job in a cohort is really just to convene a group of learners.
  • Lewis and Clark and their team were a learning cohort.
  • Tod shares the story of a megachurch pastor who admitted he needed coaching.
  • A coach’s job is to care about you for the sake of the mission.
  • A dysfunctional leader is more interested in control than in learning.
  • Markus Watson and Tod Bolsinger discuss the role of spiritual formation in healthy leadership.
  • Leaders need a cohort for support and a coach for challenge.
  • Leaders need to ask for help. Asking for help is an act of leadership.
  • The Lilly Endowment has made it possible for the Fuller Seminary’s Church Leadership Institute to provide learning cohorts and coaching at an affordable price through the Online Adaptive Capacity Cohort.
    • The cost is $3500 for an 18-month cohort and coaching process.
    • Mention Spiritual Life and Leadership when you apply to get a $500 scholarship.
    • More scholarship money is available depending on need.
  • At the end of the Online Adaptive Capacity Cohort, you will have a team of people who are ready to take on the challenge of a changing world. Your team will be change leadership experts.


  • Online Adaptive Capacity Cohort:
    • For more information, click HERE
    • To register, click HERE
    • Mention Spiritual Life and Leadership to get a $500 scholarship
  • Books mentioned:

Learn how to lead your church into ministry that matters. Check out the online course, Engaging God's Mission.

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