Every quest starts with questions. Below are some of the more frequently asked questions about coaching and Western Coach Training. If you have a question not addressed here, don’t hesitate to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. You can use e-mail or phone us.


How is coaching different from other helping relationships such as counseling and mentoring?

Coaching shares some similarities with other helping relationships such as counseling and mentoring.  Coaching is not a replacement for these other ways of helping and is distinct.  At the core, coaching differs in that coaches ask questions in order to draw out the expertise of the person being coached rather than deliver their own expertise through telling.
Some other distinctions can be seen in this chart:


What’s the difference between Life Coaching and Business/Executive Coaching?

The difference mostly has to do with the presenting focus of the coaching relationship: life coaching tends to deal with personal issues such as health, faith, relationships, and personal growth, while business and executive coaching tends to focus on career and professional aspects of the client’s life.  That said, they are not entirely distinct.  The mindset, skill set, tools and resources used by the coach are largely the same, and there is much overlap and integration between one’s person and profession.

How are Christians using coaching?

Coaching has found its way into the church and beyond and is helping vocational ministers, volunteers, and Christians in the marketplace.  To learn more, listen to an interview conducted by The Coaching Commons with our Director of Coaching, Chad Hall and faculty member, Linda Miller.

How much training do I need before I can start coaching?

You will start coaching immediately on the first day of training and be equipped to coach at a novice level after taking Intro to Coaching.  With each class taken, you will move closer to mastery and be more confident and capable as a coach.  Most students complete two or three coaching classes before offering coaching services to paying clients.

Can I make a living as a coach?

It depends.  To be a successful coach takes more than training and more than competence as a coach.  Successful coaches are also skilled and committed to developing their practice and attracting clients.  Many of our coaching students do earn a living through coaching, and far more of them choose to incorporate coaching into their professional role.

I’ve heard that coaching is kind of new age, is this true?

Not at Western Seminary.  Coaching is a neutral mindset and skill set that can be practiced by anyone from pretty much any (or no) faith or philosophical system.  Some coach training schools present coaching in rather new age ways, saying that all the answers are within the client.  At Western Seminary, we help you recognize coaching for what it is (and what it is not) and to test everything against scripture and the person and work of Christ.

What kind of license or credential do I need in order to practice coaching?

Currently, there is no legal requirement for practicing coaching; anyone can call himself or herself a coach and start a coaching practice — even without any training.   While this is permissible, it’s not necessarily wise.  More common is for a coach to be trained and to earn a certificate from a coach training school such as Western Seminary and to earn a credential from the International Coach Federation also referred to as the ICF (usually in this order) and to start practicing coaching somewhere along this development path.  We believe that Christian coaches should strive to practice coaching with excellence and that certification and credentialing processes contribute to excellence.

What is the ICF and should I just go to them for training?

The International Coach Federation (ICF) is a professional membership organization, that offers competency standards and ethical guidelines for the coaching profession. The ICF does not offer training. They maintain credibility as a credentialing agency by not offering training. All of Western’s coach training classes meet ICF standards and is considered an Approved Coach Specific Training Hours (ACSTH) program.

How does ICF Credentialing work?

The ICF currently credentials coaches at three levels: ACC, PCC, and MCC (Associate, Professional, and Master Certified Coach).  To qualify for the initial level of credentialing with the ICF (the ACC level), you must have 60 hours of training, 100 hours of coaching experience, two letters of recommendation, 10 hours of work with a qualified mentor coach, and pass a Coach Knowledge Assessment (CKA). For an in-depth look at the credentialing process and requirements, check out this page on the ICF’s website.


How is the training conducted?

Our coaching classes are conducted live and in-person at three west coast campuses (Portland, Sacramento, and San Jose).  Each class is taught as a two-day intensive beginning at 8:30 AM and ending at 4:30 PM each day.  If you choose to seek the Certificate in Transformational Coaching, you will also experience coaching supervision and mentor coaching (both via phone), plus an assessment exam that requires submission of recorded coaching sessions.

What are the costs for the training?

Taken individually as an auditor, each coaching course costs $505*.  This includes two days of training, participant materials, and snacks.

Students enrolled in Western Seminary who are taking the course for academic credit pay $585* per course and are given approximately 30 hours of reading and writing assignments.

The Certificate in Transformational Coaching expenses are $6,545 (auditor rate). This includes 8 courses (16 days of training), 12 hours of coaching supervision, and 6 one-on-one mentor coaching sessions, an assessment exam where two recorded coaching sessions will be reviewed for PCC level competencies.

*Rates are new as of 2018-2019 school year. Rate increases, if any, take place once a year and go into effect each Fall.

Do I have to be a coach or want to be a coach to take your training?

No. Many of our courses are taken by persons looking for personal growth and development; they find these courses increase effectiveness and creativity in all areas of their life.  Others take our courses in order to increase their effectiveness and performance in a role such as pastor, manager, director, counselor, teacher, or salesperson.

Who are the instructors?

Our faculty are some of the best and most respected coaches and coach trainers in the country.  List of Current Faculty

How large are the classes?

We limit class size to 28 students, but most classes are much smaller.  The typical class has between 6 and 16 students, which allows for plenty of participation, interaction, and relational learning.

Does the training count for credentialing with the International Coach Federation?

Yes. Our Certificate in Transformational Coaching (CTC) is recognized as an Accredited Coach Training Program (ACTP) by the ICF.  This is the ICF's highest designation and any training you receive from Western can be applied toward an ICF credential (ACC, PCC, or MCC), even if you don't fully complete the CTC.  Graduates of the CTC use the ACTP application pathway, while others use the ACSTH application pathway. 

What do you mean that the training is Christ-centered?

All training is based on deeply held Christian beliefs and values and is taught from a Christian perspective.  Since Western Seminary is an evangelical seminary, students must also sign a Statement of Faith from the World Evangelical Alliance.  It’s also important to know that the coaching classes are not Bible studies or theology classes.

Western is a seminary, so is the coach training only for ministers?

No.  Our training is highly appropriate for Christians serving in marketplace and other non-ministry settings.  In fact, many secular employers choose to pay for the training as continuing education for employees.  Our training is developed by coach trainers who also developed and deliver coach training for iNTERNAL iMPACT, Ken Blanchard Companies, Purdue University, and other respected non-ministry organizations.

Can I earn a degree in coaching?

Yes and No.  We do not offer a Master’s in Coaching, per se.  Such a degree does not exist to our knowledge.  For students who wish to earn a graduate degree and focus their studies on coaching, we offer a coaching track within the Master’s in Ministry and Leadership.

Should I audit the classes or take them for credit?

Many people choose to audit our coaching courses rather than enroll in the seminary and earn academic credit for the training.  The choice is yours.  Those with a high school diploma or GED are considered enrichment participants and those with a bachelor’s degree are considered audit participants.  Both take the class for audit and participate fully in all class activities. We also ask, per our ICF program status, that those taking the class for audit do 5 hours of reading on their own time.

Credit students pay a bit more and are required to complete about 30 hours of reading and written assignments.  Most students who take the classes for academic credit have a graduate degree they are working toward. We recommend you speak with a Western Admissions Counselor to talk through the credit and degree options.

Audit and credit students can both apply their training toward ICF credentialing and/or earning a Certificate in Transformational Coaching.

How do I register?

The process you use to register, depends on your status as a seminary student and your learning goals.  We explain all of that here.

Can I take classes at more than one campus?

Certainly.  We make no distinction which campus you attend and you will receive the same high value coach training no matter which campus(es) you attend or if you take training online.