Begin your journey of discovery with the ACC-level Training Course 

We look forward to walking alongside you on your journey toward being an effective and engaged coach! You will learn the essential coaching skills, approaches, mindsets needed to facilitate powerful and transformative coaching conversations.  You will engage with other student that bring their wisdom and experience to the training, and you'll work with several Vibrant Faith coaching school instructors . Listed below are faculty that you'll interact with on a regular basis - both during classes, practice labs, panel and book discussions, and via blogs.  You'll also meet several other faculty members who will equip, encourage, and empower you in fulfilling your training objectives.

Meet the training team.

Felix Villanueva, MCC

Director of the Coaching School

Nathan Swenson-Reinhold, PCC

Trainer & Mentor Coach

Brandyn Simmons, PCC

Trainer and Mentor Coach

Jim LaDoux, PCC- in Training

Director of Coaching & Consulting


  • 2/1 - L1: Define what coaching is and isn't
  • 2/3 - L2: Create safe, sacred space for coaching
  • 2/8 -  L3: Learn to listen actively
  • 2/10 - L4: Develop your coaching presence
  • 2/15 - L5: Ask powerful questions
  • 2/22 - L6: Build a list of powerful questions
  • 3/1 - L7:  Set coaching norms and expectations
  • 3/3 - L8: Practice lab 1 - triad coaching demonstrations
  • 3/8 - L9: Design action steps and accountability
  • 3/10 -L10 : Evoke new awareness
  • 3/15 - L11: Facilitate client growth
  • 3/17 - L12: Practice lab 2 - triad coaching demonstrations
  • 3/22 - L13: Assess your coaching skills and impact
  • 3/24 - L14: Practice lab 3 - triad coaching demonstrations
  • 4/7 - L15: Develop direct communication skills
  • 4/12 - L16: Help clients set & celebrate goals
  • 4/14 - L17: Practice lab 4 - triad coaching demonstration
  • 4/19 - L18: Coach people through conflict and change
  • 4/21 - L19: Coach teams, cohorts and small groups
  • 4/26 - L20: Bring closure to coaching relationships.
  • 4/28 - L21: Manage multiple coaching relationships
  • 5/3 - L22: Develop your coaching network
  • 5/5 - L23: Prepare for the CKA exam


Jim LaDoux (; 612.865.0628)  | Schedule a Meeting with Jim (
  • Students should be  fully present during all sessions; avoid unnecessary distractions.
  • Sessions will be recorded, and only shared with course participants/instructors.
  • Instructors create weekly videos (some as pre-work; others as session recaps).
  • Presentation Slides are posted immediately before or after each session.
  • Students will share "TLQ's" - takeaways, learnings, and questions after each session.
  • Several coaching books have shaped this course; we'll highlight 1 book a week.
  • You'll be invited to join a monthly book discussion (totally optional).

  • Default Zoom link:
  • Zoom by Phone: Call 408.638.0968 (ID: 541 252 9630)
  • Please inform Jim if you are going to be absent or late to a course.
  • Click here to view the status of your ACC-level Course Assignments.
  • Beginning February 1, 2021, students may start tracking their coaching hours. Students may download this Excel Coaching Hours Log or make a copy of this Google Sheet.
Pre-Session Assignments
  • Complete Coaching School Manual Assignments.
  • Watch the Core Competencies videos.
  • Be willing to share some of your desired coaching outcomes.

Post-Sessions Assignments (to be completed before 2/28)
  • Memorize ICF's coaching definition.
  • Share how you describe coaching to one of your clients.
  • Memorize the ongoing coaching agreement .
  • Share progress on obtaining  Coaching Hours Log.
  • Post "TLQs" for 2/22 (See assignment button in Session 5)
  • Reply to blog dated 2/24/21.

This Week's Experiment (The best coaches are naturally curious.)
  • Make list of 15 current or potential coaching clients.
  • Practice: "I/we abide by ICF's Code of Ethics, and therefore, everything we discuss today will be kept confidential . . ."

Key Elements of the ACC-level Training

The first two steps toward completing the ACC-level training course is to:
  1.  Read the Coaching Manual.  This will give you an overview of the most important elements covered in the course. Please keep in handy during live coaching school sessions.  There are assignments to be completed at the end of each  chapter.
  2. Complete the Core Competencies Course. This course will help prepare you for the live online training sessions. There's a separate web page on this site that contains all the information you need. Watch the first Core Competencies video here. Go to the Core Competencies web page to complete the asynchronous training.
  3. Participate in the 23 "live" online Zoom sessions that are listed below.
  4. Submit assignments and a final reflection paper that summarizes your learnings and applications from the course.
  5. Take the final exam that assesses your understanding of the key coaching terms, concepts, and competencies. 

1 | Define what coaching is and isn't

February 1, 2021

Learning Topics & Activities
  • Review ICF's definition of coaching (students should memorize it).
  • Describe key differences between coaching,  mentoring, counseling,  and consulting.
  • Coaching VS counseling (Coaching is future-oriented - architect  VS archeologist).
  • Coaching is often described using metaphors (dancing, walking alongside, stage coach, bike, etc.).
  • Coaches need to understand which "hat" they're wearing and also inform the client.
  • Describe how coaching has changed over the years; how it's currently evolving.
  • Describe the difference between the overarching agreement and the ongoing agreement.
  • Describe the 5 basic questions that make up the ongoing agreement.
  • Describe the coaching demonstration roles (coach, client, and observer)
  • Assign students to upcoming coaching demonstrations.
  • Key question: Coaching is a process - will you trust the process?

2 | Create safe, sacred space for coaching

February 3, 2021

Learning Topics & Activities
  • List traits of safe and sacred space for coaching.
  • Describe the coach's role in creating a safe, sacred environment.
  • Describe the importance of confidentiality in creating safe spaces.
  • Discuss the connection between coaching presence, mindset and physical coaching space.
  • Coaching demonstration (Janae coaches Carl); practice ongoing agreement.
  • Begin a coaching session by referring to the ICF's Code of Conduct, stating, ""I/we abide by ICF's Code of Ethics, and therefore, everything we discuss today will be kept confidential . . ."
  • When playing the role of the observer, note what types of questions the coach asks, which questions were particularly powerful, what the coach did to maintain presence, and what types of transformation occurs for the client.  List questions you may have after observing the coaching demonstration.
  • Key questions: Do you currently have a coach? What would you look for in a coach?
  • Exercise for the week: Notice how often and what types of questions people ask. 

3 | Learn to listening actively

February 8, 2021

Learning Topics & Activities
  • Share observations about questions you heard this  past week.
  • Highlight, Change Your Questions, Change Your Life, and upcoming book discussions.
  • Review ICF Coaching Log Template and Google Sheet Version.
  • Describe in chat: "What is active listening?" List characteristics of active listening.
  • Describe ways to Listen with your eyes, ears, and whole body.
  • Share examples of listening for what is said and not said.
  • Note the importance of using pauses to allow for reflection.
  • Coaches typically talk less than 20% of the time; keep your questions short.
  • Avoid the desire to add explanations and details to your questions.
  • Coaching demonstration (Bill coaches Kate); observe how active listening was demonstrated.
  • Question: When might an affirmation be inappropriate in a coaching session?

4 | Develop your coaching presence

February 10, 2021

Learning Topics & Activities
  • Define what coaching presence is.
  • Describe how coaching presence shows up in a coaching conversation.
  • List what gets in the way of establishing and maintaining coaching presence.
  • Coaching demonstration (Jessie coaches Saeed); note indicators of coaching presence.
  • Introduce students  to Coaching Tips and Truths list.
  • Introduce KISS process for continuous improvement of coaching skills.
  • Introduce coaching session evaluation/feedback forms.
  • Exercise 1 for the week: List 10 thought-provoking questions you asked this week.
  • Exercise 2 for the week: List 15 people you can imagine yourself coaching in the future.
  • Question: What do you need to do to amp up your coaching presence?

5 | Ask Powerful questions

February 15, 2021

Learning Topics & Activities
  • List the characteristics of powerful questions.
  • Discuss the difference between open-end and  close-ended questions
  • Highlight four types of powerful questions (clarifying,  exploring, executing, and evaluating)
  • Participate in Red/Green/Orange street light exercise. 
  • Remember to honor the 80/20 rule - use short questions with little introduction. (Kate coaches Saeed)
  • Noticing which questions have the greatest impact on transformation

6 | Build a list of powerful questions

February 22, 2021 | Rev. Brandyn Simmons

Learning Topics & Activities
  • Review of powerful questions and powerful questioning
  • Make a list of your top 10 powerful questions
  • Using questions that reflect the individual coaching agreement
  • Using questions to help your clients prepare for a coaching session
  • Using questions to guide client before and after coaching sessions
  • Framing questions through the lens of what the client needs most from you
  • Tips for archiving and accessing  powerful questions
  • Introduce  Appreciative Inquiry principles used when coaching 

7 | Set coaching norms & expectations 

March 1, 2021

Learning Topics & Activities
  • Reviewing the individual and ongoing coaching agreements
  • Defining and clarifying norms in a coaching relationship
  • Defining and clarifying expectations (outcomes, roles, process, pace)
  • Written VS verbal agreements
  • General VS specific agreements
  • Setting, reviewing, modifying, and celebrating norms and expectations

Session 8 | Practice lab  1

March 3, 2021 | Rev. Dr. Felix Villanueva

Learning Topics & Activities
  • Review the roles of being a coach, a client, and an observer
  • Using the feedback form to give constructive feedback.
  • Using the sandwich feedback exercise
  • Create meeting room triads.
  • Large group debriefing session

9 | Design actions steps & accountability

March 8, 2021

Learning Topics & Outcomes
  • Helping clients land the plane
  • Helping clients envision the big picture, plans and personal contributions
  • Building in accountability
  • What resources are needed now?  Later?
  • Start with small steps to build accountability muscles
  • Helping clients think trifocally (30/90/365 goals)

10 | Evoke new awareness

March 10, 2021 | Rev. Brandyn Simmons

Learning Topics & Activities
  • Sharing observations to spark new awareness
  • Asking questions to evoke new awareness
  • Inviting clients to reflect between sessions
  • Identifying assumptions that no longer serve the client
  • Sparking new awareness through brainstorming
  • Sparking new awareness through question-storming
  • Frequently used questions and scripts that evoke new awareness 
  • Gaining new awareness through experimentation

11 | Facilitate client growth

March 15, 2021

Learning Topics & Activities
  • Defining client growth and learning
  • Following the client's lead on desired outcomes
  • Helping clients act, inspect, reflect and reimagine
  • Small sprinter steps often lead to begin change
  • Building on strength; working around weaknesses
  • Removing obstacles to growth and better results

12 | Practice lab 2

March 17, 2021 | Rev. Dr. Felix Villanueva

Learning Topics & Activities
  • Review the roles of being a coach, a client, and an observer
  • Using the feedback form to give constructive feedback.
  • Using the sandwich feedback exercise
  • Create meeting room triads.
  • Large group debriefing session

13 | Assess your coaching skills & impact

March 22, 2021

Learning Topics & Activities
  • Every coach should have a coach
  • Recognizing your self-limiting beliefs, your client's self-limiting beliefs
  • Ways to evaluate your impact on coaching sessions.
  • Did you land the plane? Did you honor the WHO?
  • Asking your clients for feedback?
  • Recording coaching sessions

14 | Practice lab  3

March 24, 2021

Learning Topics & Activities
  • Review the roles of being a coach, a client, and an observer
  • Using the feedback form to give constructive feedback.
  • Using the sandwich feedback exercise
  • Create meeting room triads.
  • Large group debriefing session

15 | Develop direct communication skills

April 7, 2021

Learning Topics & Activities
  • Sharing observations
  • When to interrupt; when not to interrupt your client
  • Asking for permission to share observations or suggestions
  • Maintaining neutrality when sharing observations 
  • Are you addressing your issue, or the client's issue?

16 |  Help clients set & celebrate goals

April 12, 2021

Learning Topics & Activities
  • Set short-term wins and find ways to celebrate more often
  • Shorten turn around time on short-term winds
  • Help clients list short-term wins
  • Help clients list concrete , consequential next steps
  • Help your clients create a picture of a preferred future

17 | Practice lab  4

April 14, 2021

Learning Topics & Activities
  • Review the roles of being a coach, a client, and an observer
  • Using the feedback form to give constructive feedback.
  • Using the sandwich feedback exercise
  • Create meeting room triads.
  • Large group debriefing session

18 | Coach people through conflict and change 

April 19, 2021

Learning Topics & Activities
  • Becoming aware of our own conflict management styles
  • Clarifying norms, expectations, and outcomes
  • Introduce coaching concepts from the book, Thriving in the Fire
  • Practice using coaching concepts based on sample coaching scenarios
  • Preparing the soil  for a constructive, consequential conversation.

19 | Coach teams, cohorts & small groups

April 21, 2021

Learning Topics & Activities
  • List similarities and differences between individual and group coaching
  • List differences between coaching teams, groups, and cohorts
  • Approaches for creating shared meeting agendas and outcomes
  • Coaching groups VS leaders of groups
  • List what needs to happen between meetings to ensure forward movement
  • Available resources for coaching teams, cohorts and groups

20 | Bring closure to coaching relationships

April 26, 2021

Learning Topics & Activities
  • Define what it means to end well
  • List the wins for your final coaching session
  • Share learnings and observations
  • List changes in assumptions, attitudes, approaches, and actions
  • Explore next steps with or without a coach

21 | Manage multiple coaching relationships

April 28, 2021

Learning Topics & Activities
  • Determining the amount of time you have for tending to relationships
  • Categorizing relationship based on potential long-term impact
  • Creating an intake and tracking system
  • Creating coaching logs and portfolios
  • Recognizing how you manage paperwork and the flow of information
  • Tracking progress; sending or sharing reports

22 | Develop your coaching network

May 3, 2021

Learning Topics & Activities
  • Joining ICF and a local chapter
  • Joining study groups and Vibrant Faith's coaching community
  • Joining community organizations
  • Create master list of potential clients
  • Sorting potential clients by services and affinity groups
  • Raising your visibility within your networks
  • Giving potential clients a reason to check out your services

23 | Prepare for CKA exam

May 5, 2021

Learning Topics & Activities
  • Take sample CKA exam
  • Review responses to the sample CKA exam
  • List strategies for successfully passing the exam
  • Highlight additional resources to prepare for the exam
  • Registering for and taking the  exam 

Resources related to ACC-Level Course

Downloadable Coaching Tools (Helpful Resources)
  • Take sample CKA exam

Coaching Truths

  • Shorter questions are usually better questions.
  • Coaches follow the lead of their clients

Coaching Tips

  • Shorter questions are usually better questions.
  • Coaches follow the lead of their clients

Coaching Exercises

  • Listen to the types of questions people ask: List questions you ask.
  • List 15+ people who could benefit from your  coaching.

Expanding your vision of coaching . . .

How might your coaching skills enhance life with friends and family?

How will coaching help us empower our co-workers and colleagues?

Who, within my sphere of influence might benefit from being coached?

How do the coaching  skills I'm learning align with my passions?