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Become unstuck through coaching

Coach works with coachee

Coaching can turn obstacles into opportunities and frustrations into goals. The  first of two tiers of training launches this October. Be among the first to register.


Senior Content Editor

The Michigan Conference has become a satellite for Coaching4Clergy, a global training company that equips leaders of congregations for guiding God’s people in their spiritual journeys. “Coaching4Clergy equips pastors with the understanding and skills to be an effective leader, and to compensate for the missing skills they were unaware they would need.”

Naomi Garcia, Associate Director of Congregational Vibrancy for The Michigan Conference, is a certified coach now serving on the faculty of Coaching4Clergy. She welcomes all who would like to become coaches to join her for a 16-week online training experience that begins this October and finishes next May.

“We hope to generate a pool of coaches,” she says. “Learners will have access to Coaching4Clergy web resources. The market price is $2,700 but we are able to offer the training for $1,145.”

A bargain but still a significant cost. So why does coaching matter enough to pay that price? Perhaps the best place to start is with what coaching is not. Naomi explains, “Coaching is not mentoring because the experience of the coach doesn’t matter. Coaching is not teaching; the coach doesn’t tell but asks. Nor is this athletic coaching that tells what to do. Coaching is not counseling; counseling is about what has happened in the past. Coaching is forward looking: here’s where you are. What are you willing to consider doing to get you where you want to be.”

Naomi goes on to describe coaching as intentional reflection. For example, a coach will offer, “I heard you say this and, also, this. Which one do you want to pursue?” There’s an element of coaching that holds up the mirror. “You drew this picture and that picture. For which one do you have energy?” Naomi adds, “Coaching is essentially about being reflective enough for the one being coached to get to their next action step.” That person is challenged to think differently in order to gain new perspectives that inspire new actions. Naomi asserts, “Coaching is a cooperative partnership in which a coach supports a coachee to uncover the idea, thought, or belief that holds everything in a stuck place.” Effective coaching helps crippling frustrations of the past give way to attainable goals for the future. 

The Coaching Website of The Michigan Conference lays out why coaching is sorely needed. “In today’s world, pastors, ministry staff and church leaders find themselves poorly equipped to affect the kind of culture change needed.  Leaders are expected to enable new dreams for their congregations despite shrinking budgets and changing demographics of our neighborhoods. It leaves them feeling overwhelmed, overworked, ineffective, insecure, isolated and alone.”

Coaches help individuals and congregations to move into a healthier and purposeful life and ministry. According to Naomi, the online video training uses lots of demonstrations that approach a situation from various vantage points. “Scenarios involve new parents, those wrestling with whether they want to become a church professional, or what to do when being a pastor is not life-giving anymore.”

Those trained as coaches may use their new skills for their own purposes within their personal life or the life of a congregation they serve. Some of those who complete the 2019-2020 training module will be selected for additional equipping as transition coaches. The goal of The Michigan Conference is that deployment of these trained transition coaches may begin in 2,022.

So, what is the first step toward training as a coach?

  • Part I — October 2019 to May 2020
    16 four-hour sessions of instruction meet the requirements for credentialing as an Associate Certified Coach (ACC) with the International Coach Federation. These class sessions for the 2019-2020 ministry year will be offered on both Tuesday or Thursday. The total cost is $1,145.* This includes the online instruction and purchase of necessary resource material (Managing Transitions by William and Susan Bridges.)


  • Part II — Offered 2020-2021
    16 4-hour sessions of additional instruction meet the requirement for credentialing with the International Coach Federation as a Professional Certified Coach (PCC). Total cost is $1,070* for 16 sessions online and purchase of necessary resource material (We Can’t Talk about That at Work by Mary-Francis-Winters).

A frequently asked question. What if I miss a session? The sessions will be recorded and available online. Naomi Garcia will facilitate access. More questions? Contact Naomi Garcia 517-347-4030 x 4092 or [email protected].

*Funding assistance to cover training costs may be available through your local congregation, ministry settings and district ministries.

More than 15 persons in Michigan have already been trained. Over the next several weeks, MiConnect will feature their perspectives on the difference coaching can make.

Naomi issues an invitation. “Join the Michigan Conference in creating a coaching culture. Be among the first Michigan United Methodists to increase the quality of our Gospel faithfulness through the offer of high- quality coaching.”

Last Updated on November 7, 2022

The Michigan Conference