Over the last 10+ years I’ve served a small group of coaching clients and have accumulated over 600 hours of paid experience. Honestly, it has been among the most meaningful and fulfilling work I’ve ever done. My clients have been one of the greatest forces in my life that gives me hope in our collective future!
What Is Coaching?
First, we start by agreeing that you are already capable of being who you want to be and doing what you want to do – whether you’ve managed to pull it off consistently before now or not. Coaching begins with a profound statement of confidence in You as the client.
You will focus on moving from where you are to where you need, or want, to be. I will listen and ask questions which will invite you to focus your skills and knowledge in new ways for productive, tangible outcomes.
Coaching is a metaphor – but perhaps not the one you think. Most folks think first of an athletic coach who teaches, guides, and directs. The main idea of coaching is rooted in the 18th century conveyance device – the coach. It is a vehicle for getting from where one is, to where one wants to be. A coach driver may have some skill in managing a coach and I, as a coach, may have some skill in managing conversations, but you as the client will always determine the ultimate destination – and the route for getting there.
Another frequent first thought is that coaching is only for folks who have a problem to solve or a specific challenge to meet. While that’s a common use of coaching, it can be even more effective for those who are already satisfied with their current situation or accomplishments and are discerning how to prioritize their investments in new possibilities.
Setting A Schedule
Most of my coaching sessions happen by phone, but I can also work with video if you prefer. Each session lasts from 30 minutes up to an hour in one or two sessions a month. It usually works best to pick a regular day and time each month. Mid-day appointments tend to work best but my schedule is flexible. Most clients require from three to six sessions depending on the project or questions on which they choose to focus.
The clients I’m the most interested in working with, and perhaps most able to work with, tend to fall into one of three categories:
- Individuals who are starting their own food or hunger focused project, or who are already working on such a project and would like to make it more effective.
- New Ministers growing into their work and calling, and interim ministers managing congregational transformation and collective self-reflection.
- Not-for-profit executives and fundraisers in small to medium sized organizations.
If you don’t find yourself in one of the categories above, I may know of another coach to recommend. But, hey, if it promises to be an interesting conversation, and you think I’d be a helpful conversation partner for a few steps along your journey, I hope you’ll get in touch!
I use a sliding fee scale which takes into account whether the client is paying personally or services are being provided by an organizational sponsor, the number of sessions anticipated, whether or not there are multiple clients from the same organization, and overall ability to pay. You’ll give me an honor-system based appraisal of these factors and I’ll take you at your word. Fees range from $75 to $125 an hour. While I can’t do this for free, I believe strongly in the value of the coaching process and don’t want an inflexible fee structure to prevent you from benefiting.
I was trained in 2009-10 at The Pastoral Institute in Columbus, GA in conjunction with The Center for Congregational Health in Winston-Salem, NC.
Don has been my coach since 2012. Every conversation is life giving and challenging. He listens intently and offers guidance in a way that is personal to the client. I am forever grateful for Don.Joe Kendrick
Don was my coach during the most difficult congregational challenge I have faced in ministry. He walked with me through every step. It’s not an exaggeration to say that without Don’s insightful questions, empathetic ear, and faithful encouragement, I would not still be a pastor today.Matthew Johnson
Don was my coach immediately following graduation from seminary. His coaching helped me navigate life within a congregation in a healthy way. Don coached me, and helped me grow in my calling, looking at leadership within the church from angles I haven’t thought about before.Joel Campbell
Don and I attended the same coaching training together and for over a year we coached each other as a challenge to hone our skills. From my experience, as a fellow coach and friend, Don has some of the best skills for engaging clients and is very astute at asking incisive questions. Observing his skill sets over the past 10 years, I can unequivocally recommend him as a highly competent coach!Tim Willis