Helping people live, love, and lead like Jesus

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
  • 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.
  • Reply to blog dated 4/7/21.

This Week's Experiment 
  • Observe: List what prevents you from being fully present? Note when and with whom you tend to be least present?
  • Practice: Coach through the lens of a particular coaching question or phrase.

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.
  • Question: Coaching is a process - are you willing to trust the process?
  • Weekly Exercise: Use each of the 5 ongoing agreement questions at least 3 times, in different settings.

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 traits do you look for in a coach?
  • Weekly Exercise: 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?
  • Weekly Exercise: List questions you asked others this week.

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.
  • Question: What do you need to do to amp up your coaching presence?
  • Exercise: List 10 thought-provoking questions you asked this week.

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
  • Question: Where will you keep you list of questions so that they are handy when you need them?
  • Exercise: When asking "short" questions this week, try pausing after you ask.

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 
  • Question: How often do you build on what's already present?
  • Weekly Exercise:  Notice 1 individual or organizational strength each day. Name a "bright spot."
  • Assignment: Review your coaching log. Decide who you plan to coach next.

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
  • Question: Which expectations do you feel are most important to discuss with a client?
  • Weekly Exercise: Each day, list 2-3 people you could see yourself coaching in the near future.

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

  •  Meeting ID: 891 741 093 Passcode: 950519

Felix's responses to student questions
  • Liability Insurance – It all depends on what kind of insurance Vibrant Faith has. If you are not covered, ICF offers an affordable option through the Hartford. As a member of ICF  you can purchase it for Vibrant Faith.
  • Mandatory Reporters  – Yes. Coaches are not exempted. Clergy need to be aware of this as, in some states, clergy are not mandatory reporters, but if they are operating as coaches, they are. I am not an attorney, so they will need to check with their state or consult an attorney.
  • Coaching a Minor – I would get written permission from the parent(s) or guardian(s) and will have them sign the Coaching Agreement.

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)
  • Question: What do you think is the primary reason people don't move forward, faster?
  • Weekly Exercise: Ask/invite 3 people to name their next steps toward a goal that matters to them.

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

Review: ICF definition, 8 Core Competencies, Ongoing Agreement,  teams VS groups, Types of questions, Coaching Tips and Truths.

Learning Topics & Activities
  • Defining client growth and learning (Attitude, Assumption, Approaches, Actions)
  • 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.

  •  Meeting ID: 891 741 093 Passcode: 950519

13 | Assess your coaching skills & impact

March 22, 2021

Learning Topics & Activities
  • Review comments from recent assignments.
  • Every coach should have a coach.
  • Review your self-limiting beliefs, your client's self-limiting beliefs.
  • List ways to evaluate your impact on coaching sessions..
  • Ask, "Did you land the plane? Did you honor the WHO?"
  • List opportunities to ask clients for feedback.
  • Watch one of your recorded coaching sessions  through the lens of the performance review form.
  • Review: coaching log, coaching notes, coaching tips and truths; your list of powerful questions.

14 | Practice lab  3

March 24, 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.

  •  Meeting ID: 891 741 093 Passcode: 950519

15 | Listen actively; engage in direct communication

April 7, 2021 | Jim Merhaut, PCC

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 | Rev. 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

  •  Meeting ID: 891 741 093 Passcode: 950519

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 | Jim Merhaut, PCC

Learning Topics & Activities
  • Scheduling  time to tend to past, present, and future clients
  • Forms and systems for managing coaching relationships
  • Forms and systems for intake,  tracking , and following up with clients
  • Managing information related to coaching relationships and outcomes
  • Tips and truths for managing multiple relationships.
  • Learnings from veteran coaches about managing multiple relationships.

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.

Final Assignment | Submit you reflection paper (due 5/12/21)

Questions to address
  • How has your understanding of coaching and its practices changed as a result of participating in the Coaching School? 
  • In what ways has the Coaching School experience increased your capacity to lead others, and to lead change?
  • Which concepts, models, or approaches covered in this course did you find most helpful as a coach?
  • Which specific skills/competencies covered in this course did you find most impactful as a coach? Which competency are you most interested in further developing?
  • Please list how you’re currently describing what coaching is to a potential client (this may be the same as what you’ve shared in the past).
  • How do you envision using your coaching skills more intentionally in the future?  What support do you need now or in the near future to fulfill your intentions?

One final note: Within a few weeks, assuming that all assignments have been submitted, you’ll receive a digital version of a Coaching School Certificate. Please email me how you’d like your name to be listed on the certificate. 

23 | Prepare for CKA exam

May 5, 2021 | Rev. Dr. Feli Villanueva

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

Type your new text here.

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

TRUTHS about the coaching process

  • Good questions help frame great conversations..
  • Coaches follow the lead of their clients.
  • Outcomes stated by the client must be owned by the client.
  • Coaching is a partnership between the client and coach.

TIPS about the coaching process

  • Shorter questions are usually better questions.
  • Coaches follow the lead of their clients.
  • Use "say more" or "tell me more" when unsure what to say.
  • Avoid the tendency to explain your questions.
  • Trust the "process" and questions from the ongoing agreement.

TASKS to expand coaching awareness

  • Listen to the types of questions people ask: List questions you ask.
  • List 15+ people who could benefit from your  coaching.
  • List people's challenges or pain points.
  • List people's self-limitations when observing their words and actions.
  • Take notes at an upcoming meeting; reflect on coaching notes. 

TLQ topics for further conversations

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

BLOG topics for further conversation

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

SESSION topics for further conversation

  • 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?