Certification FAQ

General Questions

1. How is this different from other life coaching certification programs?

Encounter Coaching has three key features that distinguish it from other coaching approaches: it coaches a different brain, with a different change methodology, and aims for a different outcome:

  • Encounter Coaching works with the emotional brain, the gateway to the heart, bringing change to a person’s inner world of core beliefs, emotional memories and desire, as opposed to their outer world of behavior and circumstances.
  • Encounter Coaching uses live encounters with Jesus as a core part of the coaching methodology. Jesus speaks life to the heart, which flows outward to create behavioral change. It puts Jesus at the center of the coaching conversation. 
  • The goal of Encounter Coaching is heart transformation. We believe Jesus way of change is from the inside out, not the outside in. So the behavioral change Encounter Coaching products is a byproduct of heart change, not the primary goal.

As you’ve probably guessed, this is an overtly Christian program that trains you to bring Jesus directly into the coaching conversation, so that the client dialogs with Jesus during the coaching appointments instead of just with the coach. As such, Encounter Coaching certification may not be the best fit for those who coach in environments where you can’t openly talk about Jesus

2. Who is Encounter Coaching Certification designed for?

Encounter Coaching Certification is great for ministry leaders, coaches and prospective coaches, counselors—anyone who wants a powerful set of tools for creating heart transformation.

Our main focus is on those who want to coach as part of an existing leadership role. This is different than most coach training programs, which focus almost exclusively on preparing trainees to launch their own coaching practice as an independent business. We chose this focus because it is an underserved need, it is a better fit for the needs of the local church, and it fits our coaching model. However, our training can be a great fit for those who want to become professional coaches, too—the main difference is that we don’t provide the business-building tools other programs do. We keep the focus on the coaching.

3. What will I learn?

You’ll get started with the fundamentals of coaching: listening, asking powerful questions, goal-setting and action planning. Then we’ll dive into the realm of the heart, learning how to quickly and effectively follow emotional brain cues to core issues. The MetaFormation Heart Model shows how beliefs, emotional memories and desires form and guide us, and how different experiences change the heart. And you’ll get plenty of practice creating encounters where Jesus shows up and speaks directly to your coaches at the deepest level.

4. What courses will I take?

  • Foundations of Encounter Coaching introduces you to the fundamental tools and values of the coaching approach
  • Transforming the Heart covers the fundamentals of how the heart works and accessing the heart
  • Living from the Heart focuses on reframing circumstances in terms of God’s purposes and rewriting life stories from heaven’s perspective
  • Coaching the Heart is a practical intensive in bringing experiential encounter into your coaching conversations
  • Mentor Coaching gives you 21 live group coaching sessions where you get extensive practice with feedback.

5. I already have a coaching certification. Is there a way to add this to my existing credential?

Yes! We offer a Continuing Ed certification for those who’ve already gone through a formal coach training program. You’ll bypass the basics you’ve probably already covered, leaving the two core courses (Transforming the Heart and Coaching the Heart) that cover the Heart Model and the Encounter Coaching Method of using Questions for Jesus. You’ll find that this is almost all new and not a repeat of what you’ve already learned.

6. Can I use these techniques to coach people who aren’t Christians?

The approach we use is overtly Christian, especially since the guts of it is about meeting Jesus in your desires. So if you are coaching someone who doesn’t want God to be part of the conversation, there are important pieces of this you won’t be able to use. On the other hand, most Americans believe in God, they just don’t like religion. So if you invite them to ask Jesus a question and see what he says (instead of telling them what you think God says to them), you’ll often get a positive response—and sometimes an incredible breakthrough.

7. Is this a life coaching certification program?

Depends on how you use the word “Life Coach”. Most often, it is often used as a general term for coaches, with the word “life” used to distinguish this from sports coaching. In that sense, yes.

However, “life coach” is also used more specifically of the subset of coaches who help people discover and live their destinies. Destiny discovery tools are not a major focus of LM’s program.


Training Details

8. What are your three core courses like?

Fun. Emotionally intense. Highly interactive. Authentic. You’ve probably never been to a workshop like this before! Because the heart learns best from experience (as opposed to words and concepts), we use lots of learning games, demos, group exercises, coaching practice sessions, encounters and more. We try to be heavy on interactive, adult learning approaches and go light on the talking head. And then there’s the Taste of Heaven (see below)…

9. What is the Taste of Heaven Encounter?

Our core workshops kick off with a Taste of Heaven, a 90-minute God-encounter where we use actors, staging, lighting, original music, even ballet to create a powerful heart experience that bonds the group and creates an authentic culture for the rest of the workshop. Then we debrief on the experience, using what happened in the participant’s hearts to unpack some of the core concepts of the workshop. Many participants say that this hour and a half was worth the entire cost of the event! [Please Note: Coaching the Heart does NOT include a Taste of Heaven.]

10. What are the qualifications of your instructors?

Our founder, Tony Stoltzfus, has been involved in coaching and coach training since 1999. He has helped launch three different professional coaching schools, trained thousands of coaches and authored over a dozen books on coaching (including Coaching Questions, the best-selling coaching book on Amazon.com).

Our facilitators are hand-picked Encounter Coaches who have completed our year-long Trainer Certification Program under Tony’s direction. You can find more information on individual trainers on their respective web sites.

11. How does your program compare with the ICF requirements?

Here’s what the full Encounter Coaching Certification provides, compared to the requirements for the ICF ACC Portfolio certification process:


Encounter Coach Program

ICF ACC Portfolio requirements

Student Contact Hours (live, real-time contact hours between faculty and student)

107 hours

48 hours

Total coach training hours

145 hours

60 hours

Group Mentor Coaching hours



Hours of Coaching Experience

100 hours*

100 hours

*The ICF requires 70 of the 100 coaching experience hours to be with paying clients. Because the LM program is designed to work for individuals who coach as part of an existing job or role, we do not require that.

12. Do I have to take these courses in any particular order?

The Foundations of Encounter Coaching course is designed to be taken first, then you’ll do the three core workshops (Transforming the Heart, Living from the Heart and Coaching the Heartnext. These three can be done in any order. If youve already signed up or taken a first workshop and decide to get certified, check with our office at  admin@meta-formation.com for your next steps.

A detailed checklist of every step you have to take to be certified is posted on-line.

13. How long does the program take to complete?

Usually around nine months, depending on the course schedule. Most LM Trainers run all three core courses at least once per calendar year, and if needed you can take different courses from different MetaFormation Trainers. Each Trainer offers the same LM courses, and they all count toward your certification. Our three core courses last ten weeks each including the peer follow-up meetings.

14. What is the peer follow-up process?

Each core course includes a series of eight, 90-minute virtual follow-up sessions with your team of four peers. You go through the workshop as a team, building intimacy and relationship, and that same team continues to meet together for the follow-up. We have teams that got so much out of their fellowship that they are still meeting years after the training is over!

15. Are you affiliated with the International Coach Federation (ICF)?

We are not affiliated with the ICF, and do not offer an ICF certification, although these classes may qualify for their portfolio process of certification.

16. What does my certification allow me to say about my credentials?

You’ll be a fully certified coach, so you can call yourself a “Encounter Coach”, “coach” or “life coach”. You also earn the right to use the Certified Encounter Coach logo in your advertising or on your web site, as well as the right to say you are a, “Certified Encounter Coach.To prove it, you’ll get an Encounter Coaching certificate from LM suitable for framing

What you can’t do is claim to be a representative of LM, or use the LM logo in your advertising. For instance, you can’t say you are a “Leadership MetaFormation Coach”—that infringes on our name.

17. What happens when I graduate?

We have a special on-line graduation ceremony you can invite friends and family to!

18. How do I take the quiz after each workshop?

After you complete each core course (including the 8-week follow-up), you will take a 20-30 minute on-line quiz covering the material in the course and in the required reading. The quizzes aren’t a cakewalk, so make sure you’ve also done the reading for that course! Complete info on quizzes with the links to take them is on our exam page.


Financial & Logistics

19. What is the total cost of Encounter Coaching Certification?

The full certification program costs $2934.00 USD (as of 12-2020) and has the following components:

  • The Encounter Coaching Certification Fee ($1467.00 USD) covers the Foundations of Encounter Coaching e-course, the Mentor Coaching course and all program fees.
  • Registration to the three core workshops (regular price $489.00 USD each) is paid seprately to the workshop trainer.
  • Books are not included

Visit your LM Trainer’s registration page to see the latest pricing on the core courses, including early bird rates or other discounts. Please note that prices may change without notice.

20. What does the Continuing Ed Certification program cost?

The Continuing Ed certification program costs $1482.00 USD (as of 12-2020) and has the following components:

  • The Encounter Coaching Certification Fee ($504.00 USD) covers nine Mentor Coaching course sessions and all program fees.
  • Registration to two core workshops (regular price $489.00 USD each)
  • Books are not included

For the latest pricing, visit your trainer’s registration page to see early bird rates or other discounts. Please note that prices may change without notice.

21. How do I enroll in the certification program?

You purchase the Encounter Coaching Certification Fee up front (either through LM here or directly from any LM Trainer), then pay for each of the three core courses (Transforming the Heart, Living from the Heart and Coaching the Heart) from your trainer as you go (register for core courses here). This spreads your payments out over the course of the program.

The core courses are also offered to students who aren’t taking them for certification—that’s why the certification fee is purchased separately from these courses.

22. Where can I purchase the required books for these courses?

You can purchase them from your trainer, direct from us at www.Coach22.com/collections/lm-certification-books/ (the full list is on this one page), or at the book table during a workshop. We also have Kindle, Apple iBooks and Barnes and Noble Nook e-book versions available at their respective on-line stores.


I attended the Transforming the Heart conference in February and wanted to let you know it was life changing. I came expecting to gain tools to use in ministry and ended up receiving some of the most profound personal breakthrough Ive ever experienced [in] almost 20 years in ministry...


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