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Creating a Coaching Culture by Tony Stoltzfus

Apr 1st, 2011 | By | Category: Featured Content

How an Entire District of One Denomination Embraced Coaching

Why has Western Ontario District [WOD] of the Pentecostal Assemblies of Canada been able to create an environment in their organization where people value coaching and desire to implement it in their ministry settings?

Nine years ago, two key leaders in WOD felt compelled to look for a tangible leadership development program that they could offer credentialed leaders (pastors) in their organization.  In searching out what were identified as growth areas by a collaborative committee representing members in the organization, WOD was introduced to Tony Stoltzfus of Coach22, and chose to launch a coach training program in the district.

The program began by mandating coach training for all district executives and two key leaders from the district’s Bible College. Once the organizational leaders were trained, the district set out toward the goal of having every one of their 600 credentialed ministry leaders would take at least one level of coaching training.

While that goal has yet to be fully reached,  the training of several hundred leaders has generated enough momentum that a coaching culture was created in the District.  Regional leaders now coach pastors and congregations through transition and growth.  Coaching networks of sectional leaders now exist to provide support and encouragement to others. Church planters and all candidates applying for credentials are required to take coach training offered in the District through their own certified trainer.  Local church leaders are implementing coach training for their staff and volunteer leaders using practical materials introduced to them in their own training.

The training process begins with an eight-week tele-course, followed by a two-day workshop where participants practice coaching skills on each other. The result of that intensive experience is immediate. Leaders go home and coach their staff, volunteers, children and spouses.  They leave coach training with a renewed interest in what God is saying to those they live and work with.  They are relieved to know that change in those around them does not depend on them but on the Holy Spirit and the privilege God gives to each person to solve their own problems, establish their own goals and embrace their own challenges.

Each leader who has taken the coaching training offered in WOD has personalized it for their own context. The adaptability of the coaching discipline provides a distinct identity and profile of what it is that each leader does best in their context. Leaders are now living with greater clarity about what their ministry is and have greater alignment in their gifts matching what they do on a daily basis. More leaders are living with life purpose and crafting goals that help realize their hopes and dreams.

Over 280 credentialed leaders have gone through level one basic coaching skills training and close to 100 credentialed leaders have gone through a level two life coach training track.  WOD is presently piloting a basic coaching certification track with Church Planting Canada with the goal of certifying ministry leaders who want to establish a professional coaching practice to support their ministry.  The challenge that lies ahead is franchising the centralized coaching training so that it can be offered in church and ministry contexts across the District. Along with this comes the challenge of raising up more Coach Trainers and reaching the grass roots level with coaching training so that church communities can instill a coaching culture in their church and community at large.

Since its beginnings, WOD has implemented no other training program that has had the kind of impact and organization-wide influence as leadership coach training.

Luc Lombardi, Director of Operations, Master’s College and Seminary
Certified Coach and Coach Trainer

Mark Collins, Director of Missions and Communication, PAOC Western Ontario District
Certified Coach

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