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What is coaching?

Having a coach and being coached means you are focused on next steps. Coaching is forward looking: Here’s where you are. What are you willing to consider to get you where you want to be?”

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.

Support for Congregations and Ministry Leaders

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, continuing uncertainty and changing demographics of our neighborhoods. They are left feeling overwhelmed, overworked, ineffective, insecure, isolated and alone. Coaching can help. Coaches provide just-in-time support by asking questions and challenging the one being coached to set and reach their goals. Using deep listening, coaches ask questions to trigger deeper contemplation, providing a sounding board that allows the coachee to think more deeply and profoundly than they would without coaching. 

Discovering new perspectives

Coaching begins with a hoped-for outcome.

Unlike counseling, mentoring, teaching, or consulting, coaching challenges the one being coached to think differently to discover new perspectives.  These perspectives, in turn, invite and empower movement toward action. Using deep listening and probing questions, a coach walks alongside you as you discover your resources, set your goals and unlock yourself from stuck thinking. 

As part of the Michigan Conference vision to create Bold & Effective Leaders and Vibrant Congregations, clergy and church leaders can be referred to a trained Michigan Conference coach.  Click Here to request a coach. 

What Types of Coaching Does The Michigan Conference Offer?

Click the buttons to learn about each type of coaching.

Ministry Transitions

Coaching for leaders (staff, lay, and clergy) experiencing role transitions. Offered free for 12 months (12 sessions)

Accessed by: 

Intercultural Competence

Anti-Bias and Anti-Racism

Accessed by: 

Ministry Incubators

Support risk taking ministry ideas of young adult imagineers

Accessed by: 

Church Unique Strategic Planning

Support pastor in leading the congregation's future

Accessed by:

Self Starters: Motivated and Ready

Time and space to explore and seek clarity in your work, ministry and life.

Accessed by: 

Frequently Asked Questions about Coaching

What is coaching?

  • The International Coach Federation defines coaching as “partnering with clients in a thought-provoking and creative process that inspires them to maximize their personal and professional potential.”
  • Others might define coaching as:
    • Discovery-based process to help people get results by bringing out the best in themselves
    • A healthy, encouraging and grace-filled way to challenge assumptions that lead to a shift in perspective, emotion or attitude uncovering new possibilities.
  • Coaching operates from the perspective that the client has the answers within themselves. Through deep listening and powerful questions, a coach enables the client to gain clarity about what they really want. 
  • Coaching maximizes potential, moving people from good to great as they are ready.

Is it confidential?

Everything shared between the coach and the client is absolutely confidential.

Who can benefit from coaching?

  • Anyone willing to invite new awareness, understanding, and plan for change can benefit.
  • Anyone reaching for professional and/or personal goals
  • Someone who appreciates a sounding board when making decisions
  • Clergy or laity who want to grow in professional and personal development, communication and life skills
  • Anyone who could use a cheerleader, accountability partner and unconditional supporter.

What do people say about being coached?

  • “I wish I had a coach years ago.”
  • “It is almost magical how creating a safe, dedicated time for thinking, clears a path to new thinking.”
  • “A resting place for sound thinking.”
  • “Unexpectedly ‘easy-hard’ every time.”

What kind of topics can you be coached on?

Most anything. The topic is determined by the one-being-coached.

How is it different from counseling/therapy?

Counseling/therapy looks to the past to provide meaning and discovery, while coaching looks to the future and starts on the foundation of tapping into the individual’s potential.

How often do you get coached?

This varies with each individual being coached. It could be weekly, every other week, once a month or anywhere in between.

How long is a coaching session? Typically between 30-60 minutes

Is it individual coaching or for a group?

Coaching is effective for both individuals and groups.

What if I start with a coach and it doesn’t click or feel right?

At any time, the one being coached or the coach may choose to discontinue or request a change. The lead coach recommends a minimum of 3 coaching sessions.

Is coaching done in person, over the phone or on Zoom?

Any of those methods, as determined by the one being coached with their coach

What does it cost?

Typically the charge is $50-$75/hour

Who pays for it?

  • Currently, if you are in transition, the MiC may provide up to 12 sessions during a 14-month time period at no cost to you.
  • For those not in ministry transition, other funding sources may be available.

What is transition coaching?

Transition coaching is a gift of the Michigan Conference to persons entering ministry transitions within the MiConference connection.

How do I request a coach or more information?