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Conference celebrates coaching goal met

coaching virtually

The Michigan Conference recently met its goal to provide coaches to any leader in ministry transition who wanted one. Anyone who has been involved in coaching or who is interested in coaching is invited to a celebration of this milestone on November 1.

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On November 1, All Saints’ Day, the Michigan Conference will celebrate the conference field staff’s 2019 goal “to provide the gift of coaching to leaders in ministry transition” by 2022. This was the Michigan Conference’s first step in creating a coaching culture that supports the growth and success of ministry leaders throughout the conference.

All are invited to celebrate with the field staff and other coaches, either current or in process, and to hear what coaching is all about for those intrigued or curious and who want to learn more.

The virtual celebration will be held on November 1, from 6:30 to 8:30 pm, Eastern (5:30 to 7:30 pm, Central). Everyone planning to join should register by filling out this form to get the link to the event and find out how to prepare for the celebration.

In 2019, the field staff of the Michigan Conference set out to begin creating a sustainable coaching culture that would provide highly trained coaches to any leader in ministry transition who wanted one. A set of 12 complimentary coaching sessions would be available for clergy moving from one appointment to another. This offering was also expanded to include conference or district staff or anyone affiliated with the connectional life of the conference.

In fewer than 36 months, the number of highly trained Michigan Conference coaches has grown to more than 60. The Michigan Conference field staff has reached its coaching goal. Come celebrate this ministry milestone and learn more about coaching.

Four recently trained Michigan coaches are putting together this coaching celebration and plan for it to be fun and informative.

Rev. Cora Glass is one of those coaches. Program and Hospitality Manager at Lake Huron Retreat Center, Cora is an ordained Deacon in the Michigan Conference and is looking forward to this celebration. She and the other three coaches are making sure it’s engaging for everyone, with music, a time for worship, and breakout rooms to get a taste of what coaching is like.

There will be time to reflect on the Michigan Conference’s coaching initiative, which started in 2019, to understand how coaching adapted during the pandemic. Then the goal of providing highly skilled coaches to leaders in ministry transition will be celebrated. Under the leadership of conference field staff member Naomi García, Associate Director for Congregational Vibrancy, every person in ministry transition this past appointment cycle was successfully partnered with a coach to assist them through change, if they wanted one.

The culture of coaching within the Michigan Conference has been cultivated, watered, and fed by the enthusiasm of coaches in training like Cora. She got hooked on coaching when she participated in the Seed to Harvest program led by conference staff member Lisa Batten. Cora was in the program’s first class and met regularly with a coach to walk her through her next steps toward her entrepreneurial dream, which was related to art and faith retreats. Cora’s coach’s support was helpful in getting her dream off the ground and led her to her current ministry appointment at Lake Huron Retreat Center.

Cora believes the heart of coaching is getting clarity or direction on some issue or life decision that you’re having. She says, “The coach asks thoughtful questions and reflects back what you’re sharing to help the coachee tap into their own expertise, their gifts, and what they feel like their next steps can be.”

Rev. Jeanne Garza, the pastor at Dixboro United Methodist Church, is another one of the recently trained coaches who is putting together the November 1 coaching celebration. Jeanne went through the training to be a Michigan Conference coach not to discern a possible career or ministry change like Cora but to find out more and explore its benefits. She has found the training useful in her work as a pastor. Her coaching training has equipped her to focus the conversations better when counseling individuals or giving advice.

Jeanne explains that it’s important to start conversations, in a coaching relationship, with this key question: “What do we need to talk about?” Getting to the heart of the matter keeps the real issues front and center and leads to creating a doable plan for the coachee.

The beauty of coaching is that it can be on any life issue the coachee wants to talk about, not just matters related to job issues or career discernment. But it’s not about processing and understanding the past, like counseling or psychotherapy. It’s about the present, naming obstacles, asking good questions, and helping the coachee move forward in good faith.

Jeanne and Cora went through the year-long coaching training together, along with two others, and found that experience extremely valuable. The mutual support they received from each other and the creativity generated during that time led them to this coaching celebration. They are even continuing to coach each other even though their classes are over.

The celebration on November 1 will also look to the future and what is to come with coaching in the Michigan Conference. There’s a lot to celebrate, but there is still more work to do.

The Michigan Conference just received a $10,000 Multiethnic Ministries Grant from the Board of Global Ministries that will assist in diversifying the coaching faculty within the conference and put into practice our commitment as followers of Jesus Christ to become the Beloved Community. Naomi García feels this grant will give dimension and depth to the coaching culture here in the Michigan Conference.

“The variety of life experiences in our coaching community is on its way to reflect the Holy One’s world of favorites.” She continues, “Partnerships are in the works with our ministry commissions on African-American, Asian-American, Latino/Latinx, and Native American Ministries, plus the Anti-Bias/Anti-Racism Working Group and the Cabinet are already creating a 360-degree coaching culture.”

Coaching has become integral to the fabric of ministry leadership transition and support in the Michigan Conference. It’s available for clergy and pastoral staff, lay leaders, church staff, and congregational leaders of any kind.

Are you currently a coach, or have you been a coach in the past? Join the celebration on November 1. Have you been on the other side as a coachee? Come celebrate. Are you curious about coaching and want to learn more? Take a couple of hours on November 1 to learn more.

And participants don’t even have to live in Michigan to join the celebration. The November 1 coaching celebration is virtual; attendees will receive a link and instructions once they fill out this online form.

For more information about coaching in the Michigan Conference, view this web page or contact Naomi García at [email protected].

Last Updated on October 31, 2023

The Michigan Conference