South Charlotte

She's the one who coaches the coaches

Christian Coach Institute LLC, based in Charlotte, offers a variety of training programs and services that educate, equip and encourage Christian life coaches worldwide.

Founded and led by President Janice LaVore-Fletcher, the program is designed to ensure every coaching student can not only meet but exceed the goals they feel God has for them.

LaVore-Fletcher, who says she always has had an interest in behavioral science, says she felt moved to start the Christian Coach Institute after her own experience in life-coaching education, which includes more than 20 years of corporate experience, primarily in human resources and employment development.

Finding that most of the early coaching schools in the mid-90s had a very "new-age" feel that focused on the power of the individual, she set out to develop a program based on her own Christian values.

"I recognized the need for a comprehensive Christian coach institute because there were some key focus areas that I felt were not addressed," said LaVore-Fletcher.

With the assistance of her husband, Dale, and another Christian life coach, Kimberly Dinsdale, Christian Coach Institute launched a pilot class of seven students less than a year ago. Having just started its fourth class, the program now has an office in Ballantyne and offers a variety of day, evening and weekend courses to meet the needs of its diverse student population.

Participants have included pastors, youth ministers, mental health counselors, teachers, coaches and marketing directors. Each class is capped at 12 students to allow for individual attention and a rich learning experience.

The signature Certified Christian Life Coach program is 16 weeks long and begins at various times throughout the year, offered in both group and one-on-one formats. The program includes a live weekly webinar, a community discussion board and "buddy" skill-building exercises. Private coaching sessions are also offered that allow the student to experience the coach-client relationship from the client's position.

LaVore-Fletcher says she believes what sets the program apart from other Christian life-coach training programs is the support and community among the participants. She tells the students they cannot be both a Christian coach and a "Lone Ranger" because, "as members of the body of Christ, we have work to do and we can't do it alone," she said. She believes "coaching is biblical and (that) Jesus role-modeled the coaching relationship in many ways, asking powerful questions and being a great listener, hearing what was said and unsaid."

This belief fuels the element that distinguishes Christian coaching from secular coaching. Although both focus on the individual's personal power and capabilities, Christian coaching moves beyond self and also takes into account the individual's spiritual gifts and talents, as well as what it is God is calling them to do.

This leads to one of the main benefits for clients of Christian coaches: A shared system of beliefs and values. Because of this commonality, both coach and client can speak openly about their spirituality and ultimately even pray together.

After being diagnosed with a life-threatening brain tumor in 2000 and later recovering, LaVore-Fletcher said, she knew she needed to take her God-given gifts and offer them to God.

"Whatever comes of my work is for God's glory and not mine," she said. "I am honored and humbled by the students he sends and the work he calls each of them to do. I am just helping them add tools to their toolbox."