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Coaching is a powerful approach to clergy support and professional empowerment. Coaches are, first and foremost, listeners. They help peers focus and listen to their own wisdom. Coaching is not counseling. Coaching focuses on the present and future with no intention of healing issues from the past. Coaching helps clergy clarify their best direction forward and empowers them to take the necessary steps. 

What is Coaching?

The Rev. Marc Stewart, a UCC Conference Minister,  stated it this way:


"What is coaching? "Coaching for clergy" is the gift of deep listening. Coaching focuses on the answers that a person has within themselves to find their best direction forward. It is a time of setting aside distractions to hone in on what the person knows to be true about an answer to something that has been vexing. Coaching is different than consulting, because the person being coached is already the expert. Coaching is different than counseling, because the focus is on the present and future, rather than on healing the past.


Thirty minutes of coaching begins with a check-in, where I explain a bit about coaching and affirm confidentiality. You share something about which you may be looking for a way forward. I listen and may ask some prompting questions to get you to a deeper understanding. Rarely do I give advice, unless absolutely requested. Usually, coaching provides a sense of direction and the person commits to moving into that direction. Three coaching sessions in the course of a month provides a good direction that can move a person forward."

What are the benefits of coaching?

Clergy coaching is exploding across the country and in multiple denominations because coaching:  

  • Builds trust, creates an atmosphere for collaboration;

  • Moves churches and councils from talk to action;

  • Creates a sacred space where spiritual discernment and dreams are nurtured and honored;

  • Brings focus, intentionality and forward movement to groups and plans;

  • Works from the best God has planted in us and nurtures hope for the future;

  • Builds ownership for new ideas and establishes a climate for new leadership to emerge;

  • Works with healthy leaders and congregations to introduce and manage change and transition deemed appropriate;

  • Values the strengths, callings and gifting of all persons and seeks the best for all in ministry;

  • Celebrates progress, affirms strengths and offers challenge and a safe place to stretch into the future to which God is calling us.

List of Coaches


Click on a name for bio and further contact information

Name                                         Email

B.J. Beu                      

Stephen Boyd            

Heather Branton       

Greg Davis                 

Rudolph Dimery        

Rod Echols                

Paula J. Elizabeth     

Bill Freeman             

Sharon  Graff            

Peter Inglefritz         

Fate Kent                  

Marianna Kirwan      

James LaDoux          

Scott Landis              

Al Lopez                   

Steven Mabry          

Sylvia Mann             

Jane Miller               

Heather Miner         

Wil Moore                

Marta Nielsen          

Mark Pettis-Larsen  

Matthew Redrich     

Chrissy Siva              

Giff Smith                 

Marc Stewart            

John Varga               

John Whiteacre       

Coach Bios and Contacts

Rev. Stephen Boyd

Rev. Stephen Boyd is the Minister for Chaplains and Ministers in Specialized Settings for the National Setting of the United Church of Christ.  He has pastored three UCC congregations in Southern California and served as an Army Chaplain.  Rev. Boyd enjoys coaching those in ministry, clergy and lay, as together they discover the minister's gifts for creative solutions.

Photo of Reverend Steven Boyd

Rev. Greg Davis

In coaching, I have witnessed transformation on many levels.  There is nothing quite like the joy of assisting folks in finding their truth and next moves that can often seem hidden.


Rev. Rudolph Dimery

The Rev. Dr. Rudolph Dimery Pastor Mentone Congregational Church.


Rev. Rodrich Echols

Rev. Rodrick Echols serves as pastor at Neighborhood Congregational UCC in Laguna Beach.  In addition to his professional passions, including pastoral care, leadership development, fundraising, and counseling, Rod deeply enjoys the gift of connection through community.

Photo of  Reverend Rodrich Echols

Rev. Paula J. Elizabeth

The Rev. Paula J. Elizabeth is a credentialed transitional coach and consultant, specializing in transformational growth and development. With the ability of adding her counseling and spiritual direction expertise and experience Paula offers a powerful triad for change. Check her out at:

Photo of Paula J. Elizabeth

Rev. Sharon Graff

Rev. Dr. Sharon R. Graff, having served UCC and DOC churches throughout SoCal since 1983, is now coaching individuals and congregations into their future.  Contact her through


Rev. Peter Ilgenfritz

Peter Ilgenfritz is a UCC pastor, Zen Buddhist practitioner and sailing instructor committed to the voyage of discovery and new life.  He accompanies others who are stepping off their familiar "dock" into the challenge and adventure of transition and change.

Photo of Reverend Marianna Kirwin

Rev. Marianna Kirwan

Coaching's helps us focus on the present, rather than the Past. Coaching affirms that you are the expert on your own life and helps determine next steps in measurable accountability. Coaching works for individuals and groups. Personally, coaching, has been one of the best tools for my own revitalization and success.  Dr. Marianna Kirwan, is a Coach in Training with 40 yrs. of ministry experience in the UCC & DOC.


Rev. Mark Pettis

The Reverend Mark Pettis is the Senior Minister of the Manhattan Beach Community Church (MBCC).  He is a Coach in Training, incorporating his coaching skills primarily with his staff and lay leadership at MBCC