What is Encounter Coaching?

By Tony Stoltzfus

Encounter coaching is a new discipline that goes beyond practical goals and behavioral change to bring the supernatural into the coaching conversation. Here’s how it works.

In this video, Master Coach Tony Stoltzfus shows how to identify the desire under a behavior and create a powerful encounter where Jesus touches that desire.

All streams of coaching use listening, questions, dialog to help coaches find and implement their own answers. Encounter coaching adds two things to the mix. First, it focuses the change process on filling the deep desires (for things like love, belonging, peace and significance) that motivate behavior instead of the behavior itself. In other words,, it addresses the problem (the hole in your heart) instead of the symptom (the bad things you do to try to fill the hole).

The second big change is that when we get to the heart of the issue, instead of just talking about it, we start asking Jesus questions and let him speak to the issue. And he does! Coachees typically hear Jesus speak powerfully to their deepest needs in a few minutes, transforming how they think and act, and starting an intimate conversation that will last the rest of their  lives.

For instance, I worked with a client recently who believed that the way to deal with pain was to hide. She knew she’d done it all her life, yet nothing she tried could change that impulse to turn inward and tell no one. So I had her begin asking Jesus questions like these:

  • “Jesus, where did I first learn to hide?”
  • “What does my heart believe hiding will protect me from?”
  • “Jesus, when I was hiding in my room, how did you see me?”
  • “Jesus, how am I secure in you?”

These are questions we could easily have talked about together. But when we start asking Jesus, it changes our conversation into a supernatural encounter. Jesus shows up, and the person starts hearing so clearly and quickly they are often shocked. I customarily give my clients only 30-60 seconds to listen—because once they get in the flow, the answers come right away.

Most Christian coaching uses a set of tools (like goal setting, action steps, etc.) that originated in the secular world. In other words, we employ a mostly-secular methodology but with a Christian value system. There’s nothing at all wrong with that. But what excites me about Encounter Coaching is that it marries those Christian values with a uniquely Christian methodology. In other words, you can’t coach with this tool without knowing Jesus! And that gives us something as Christian coaches that no one else can offer. Cool!  

You can get advanced training and certification in Encounter Coaching through our workshops. Or get acquainted with the Questions for Jesus approach with the book, Questions for Jesus or the free Questions for Jesus Mobile App