Accompanying Discerning Leaders

Accompanying Discerning Leaders

“We see the accompaniment of leaders as one of the important ingredients in helping the Church become more synodal.” says Dean Mason, JISA Campion Spiritual Director, who shares his experience in accompanying discerning leaders…

In 2019, with Michael Smith SJ, I have been collaborating on ways to integrate Ignatian spirituality with contemporary approaches to leadership coaching. With the purpose in mind of better supporting leaders and their teams in faith-based and corporate organisations, we use the term ‘Ignatian Coaching’ to describe our approach to accompaniment. We formed a small group to explore and reflect on the accompaniment work we do.

In 2020, our efforts were bolstered when we were invited to join a network of accompaniers supporting the Discerning Leadership Program (DLP) based in Rome. This network consists of 60 or so practitioners from around the world, each with a different mix of skillsets, who are engaged in accompanying senior church leaders either during or after they have participated in the DLP. We see the accompaniment of leaders as one of the important ingredients in helping the Church become more synodal. 

DLP participants mostly serve in senior leadership roles in Congregations, the Vatican, or Dioceses, and they are accompanied by Network members who help them integrate the learning from the DLP while leading their large and complex organisations. Their work can range from leading challenging international projects, such as those discerning God’s will through the tensions between fast-growing communities and those in decline, to more specific projects such as recruiting and setting up a culturally diverse team of formators for a congregation. When combined with the leader’s own ongoing personal formation, their living out of their own missional identity, and their effectiveness as leaders, there is always a rich pool of experiences to reflect on. We help the leader to discern, and learn, their way through change.

If you are interested in learning more about the Discerning Leadership Program, explore here or if you would like to be accompanied in your ministry leadership, contact us.

With thanks to Dean Mason for this contribution to the JISA Discernment Series. Dean is an Ignatian Spiritual Director and a giver of the full Spiritual Exercises and Retreats with JISA Campion in Victoria. He is also an Executive Coach