The Coaching Institute at Columbia Theological Seminary


The Coaching Institute at Columbia Theological Seminary (TCI@CTS) will equip leaders like you with the skills to effectively address the challenges encountered in today’s ecumenical Church and thrive in the midst of them.”

– Rev. Dr. Laurie Ferguson

TCI@CTS is a proven coach training program that equips participants with the knowledge and skills to navigate their own way forward or guide others in a process of discernment and accountability.  As a participant in TCI@CTS, you will:

♦ Learn a curriculum that combines practical coaching skills with theological substance to empower you to coach through a range of traditions.

♦ Acquire the training necessary to seek credentials to be an Associate Certified Coach by the International Coaching Federation (ICF).

♦ Have the opportunity to work with your own clients and maximize their personal and professional goals.

Applications for the 2023 Cohort are open!

Meet The Coach Trainers!


In October 2012, the Pew Forum on Faith and Public Life published a poll showing two important shifts in American religious life:

1. for the first time in American history, the majority of the population is not Protestant; and

2. the number of people declaring themselves religiously unaffiliated (the “nones”) has risen dramatically to 20% of the population.

In a 2014 update, the Pew Research Center’s Religious Landscape Survey presented consistent evidence that the “nones” are becoming even less religious and the percentage had increased to 23%.

While many see this as evidence of the continued decline of American Protestant churches in their vitality, relevance, impact, and power, we believe these reports and others like them point toward extraordinary opportunities for imaginative and resilient leaders to guide their congregations to minister in powerful and innovative ways.

Faith communities in the 21st Century will benefit from the vision, creativity, and innovate approached shared among leaders and congregations. That’s where coaching comes in.

We are convinced that coaching is one of the most powerful tools the ecumenical church has for building the resilience and innovative spirit our pastors need to thrive in the changing religious landscape of America.

Pastors who work with coaches say, “this revitalized my sense of call and helped me actually do the kind of ministry I’ve always wanted to do.”

Columbia’s approach to coaching involves three elements:

The vertical dimension appreciates that church leaders ground their identity and vitality in their sense of call from God. It also uses coaching to help the leader identify and access one’s sense of self and values as resources for ministry.

The horizontal dimension allows the leader, with his or her coach, to assess needs, set goals, and develop the stewardship of time and resources to meet or surpass their goals.

A third element that we emphasize is hardiness or resilience, which is a quality that can be nurtured in both persons and communities. Hardy leaders are committed, seek challenge, and take responsibility for their personal and professional lives.

The Coaching Institute at Columbia Theological Seminary is another means by which the Center for Lifelong Learning supports leaders who learn, adapt, and grow and, in turn, lead others to do the same.


A virtual introductory session to kick off the 2023 cohort will take place on January 3, 2023 from 7:00 – 9:00 PM ET. 

January Intensive will be all virtual:  January 9-12, 2023

January – July, 2022. Virtual sessions, twice a month, Thursdays from 11:00 AM- 1:00 PM ET

The  January intensive portion of the coaching institute will now take place virtually only. It will begin as planned starts at 9:00 AM ET on Monday and concludes by 12:30 PM ET on Thursday. The schedule includes a mix of plenary sessions, small group discussions and practice coaching sessions.  A cohort manual will be provided to participants, and an online course site will support the entire course of training through July 2023. The leadership team will utilize Zoom as the virtual platform to engage participants, along with the course site. TCI@CTS is delivered in the English language.

The ICF has revised its core competencies and code of ethics. The leader team of TCI@CTS has incorporated revisions in the course design to reflect and support those revisions.

Pre-course readings and reflectionn and the virtual introductory gathering are part of the course design.  In the event a participant must miss a virtual gathering, they are required to view the recording of that session and provide written responses to topics posed by the session leader.

The virtual classes (also referred to as tele-classes) will run approximately twice a month beginning in late January through mid-July 2023. Each class session is scheduled from 11:00 am to 1:00 pm ET on Thursdays. Specific dates will be shared during the January residential courses. The virtual classes feature discussions and practice sessions focusing on specific topics. Any missed sessions must be documented by viewing the recording of that session and providing written responses as instructed.

Applicants will need to have a copy of a current resume or CV, and a letter of recommendation available at the time of the application. These documents must be submitted with the application.

Applications for the 2023 Cohort will close on December 9, 2022 by close of business.

After receiving acceptance into the program, a non­refundable $500 deposit is required to secure your place. This will be credited toward the full costs of the program.


Who should apply? Are there any pre-requisites?

Clergy and other church leaders, serving in congregations or other ministry settings who would like to  become more effective leaders are encouraged to apply. Coaching skills learned in TCI@CTS can be immediately puyt to us “back home” as you work with other staff, volunteers committees and community groups. There are no pre-requisites for TCI@CTS. To undertake Mentor Coaching, you must be enrolled in a coach education program like TCI@CTS and be actively coaching two clients.

What does it cost? 

The commuter ALL VIRTUAL fee for 2023 is $4,470. This includes a training manual, access to the course site, the intensive session in January and the teleclasses.

Upon acceptance, you will receive instructions to complete the registration process and submit your deposit.  Full payment is due by December 9, 2022. A payment plan can can be arranged; 50% of the program fee  is payable by January 9, 2023 and the balance due by June 30, 2023.

If you elect to enroll in  “Mentor Coaching” after completing TCI@CTS (10 contact hours with a Mentor Coach to fulfill an additional ICF certification requirement), this will cost approximately $1,500. Mentor coaching participants must be actively coaching two coachees during the course. Chris Holmes, PCC,  is the course leader. Mentor Coaching generally runs run from September – December, and includes three sessions of two hours each with a group and four individual one-hour coaching sessions.

What happens if I need to withdraw from the course after registering? 

Withdrawal by January 9, 2023: full refund of all payment, minus the non-­refundable deposit. Withdrawal before April 1, 2023, 50% refund of tuition only (no refund of residential costs). Withdrawal after April 1, 2023: no refund.

What does being a “coach” really involve? Can I do it full-time? Part-time?

A coach is someone who helps a client get to a goal, or achieve significant change. Being a trained coach means that you have taken some of your natural gifts and skills for listening, encouraging and motivating, and developed them to a more effective level. TCI@CTS is designed to train you to be that kind of coach – someone who is knowledgeable and practiced in helping clients create change.

We emphasize two aspects – the coaching mindset, and the specific skills that coaching uses. The coaching mindset involves thinking about the client and their situation from the perspective of where they are and where they can go. It includes having a sense of possibility and a deep curiosity. It is the foundation of the process. The skills are the practices you use to coach.

When you complete the program, you will be able to use this training in ways that complement your work and sense of call. Some participants enroll with the intention of pursuing ICF certification (beginning as an Associate Certified Coach, or ACC) and becoming full- or part-time coaches. Others simply want to learn the coaching process so they can use it in the setting where they already are. As you work through the program, the faculty will help you sort out your next steps.

What is the curriculum like?

The entire coach training cycle consists of a total of 60 hours. The majority of the hours are completed during the three and a half days of the intensive training (January 9-12, 2023 plus the virtual meeting a week prior) and seven months of virtual classes delivered through distance learning. The course text, (Co-Active Coaching: The Proven Framework for Transformative Conversations at Work and In Life, 4rd ed. by Kimsey-House, H., Kimsey-House, K., Sandahl, P., & Whitworth, L.. Boston, MA: Nicholas Brealey Publishing)written reflections, and virtual gatherings account for the remaining hours.

The virtual classes meet twice a month (January – July), utilizing the web, telephone and course site for two hours per class. Every class, whether in person or virtual, will include practice coaching.

The curriculum is designed to address the specifics of church and ministry coaching. It will include theological reflections on coaching, the role of coaching in ministry settings, and how coaching as catalyst for transformation and adaptive growth in faith leaders and congregations.

What is the January intensive class schedule like?

The intensive sessions will take place Monday – Wednesdsay from 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM, with an extended session until 6:00 PM on Tuesday; Thursday is scheduled 9:00 AM – 12:30 PM. The schedule includes plenary sessions, numerous breaks and active coaching practice in pairs and triads.

What courses will I take?

In-person courses (for residential week): Introduction to Coaching, Creating the Coaching Relationship, Active Listening, Asking Powerful Questions, Intuition and Testing, Getting to Goals and Actions, Expanding Possibilities, Change Theory, Keeping the Client Moving Forward, Creating Your Coaching Practice, Coaching Relationship II. Webinar courses: Resilience and Hardiness through coaching, Coaching for Adaptive Change, Coaching in a Cross-Cultural Setting, Organizational Change and Coaching, Coaching a Team +supervision, Artful Coaching, Appreciative Coaching, Poetry of Coaching, Spirituality of Coaching. The virtual classes will these topics in greater depth.

Will I have opportunities to actually practice coaching?

Coaching practice, feedback, and supervision are the heart of the training. There are presentations of material, discussions and observations of coaching, but the emphasis in each class is for the participants to develop coaching skills and a coaching mindset through actual live coaching.

Participants who want to move towards certification will also need to accrue coaching hours beyond the training classes. TCI@CTS faculty can help students identify strategies for seeking potential clients.

Who can I coach after I complete the program?

You will be able to coach anyone who wants to work with you! While much of the training emphasis is on coaching pastors and other leaders in congregations and judicatories, you are receiving a standard coach training through a rigorous ICF-approved curriculum that can equip you to coach in a variety of settings.  You will develop your own style and identify your best potential clients in the process.

Can I get certified as a coach through this program?

This program meets all the educational requirements for the credential of Associate Certified Coach through the International Coaching Federation (ICF), the most widely-­recognized provider of coaching credentials. The ICF has recognized TCI@CTS as an Approved Coach Specific Training Hours (ACSTH) program. Additional coaching hours and completion of Mentor Coaching are required before applying for ACC status.

What about mentor coaching?

The Mentor Coaching Program offers a ten-hour training to deepen your coaching skills, and prepare for the ICF accreditation process. The training occurs in groups no larger than six members. Mentor coaching consists of three, 2-hour group sessions where you will practice coaching and receive feedback, and four individual hour-long coaching sessions. Mentor Coaching for 2022 will begin in September 2022.  Participants must have completed a 60 hour ACSTH/Level 1 or equivalent training program or be enrolled in one prior to enrolling in Mentor Coaching and must be actively coaching two clients. To register, click here.

In the individual sessions,  the emphasis is on helping the coach get clear about goals, evaluating where they are in the process, where they feel they need to grow as a coach, and other issues specific to each coach. After successful completion of the training, participants receive a Certificate of Mentor Coaching, and one of the written letters of recommendation needed for the ICF process.


Apply today!

Applications for the 3 Cohort will close on December 9, 2022 by close of business (Eastern time).

Have further questions? 

About the program or credentialing: contact Director of Coach Education Laurie J. Ferguson at or Director of Lifelong Learning, Sarah Erickson at Sarah may also be reached at 404-687-4526.

For more information about registration, contact