You have become a bit of a champion for coaching in the YFC movement. Why are you so passionate about coaching?

Because it works!  A couple of years ago the Leadership Development field team seriously began to grapple with how to resource our more senior leaders.  Executive Leadership (XL) Forums and coaching were the first answers.  Coaching is so effective because the agenda is set by the person being coached: What do they want to accomplish?  What are their obstacles?  What is available to them for resources?  A good coach draws out the second or third layer of answers and gets to the nub of the 'what, how, who”, etc. to really make a difference in accomplishing these objectives.  When the person being coached comes up with their answers, they own the outcome, and are very excited and motivated to see it all become a reality.

The National Coach Team is creating opportunities for growth around Coaching Conversations, Event Coaching, Player Coaching, and Discovery Coaching.

We have a lot of executive directors who oversee staff and volunteers. How does coaching differ from staff oversight?

If staff truly don’t know what to do, they need to be given the resources and training to do their job.  But coaching conversations don’t involve a bunch of “do this” and “don’t do that”.  Rather a coach asks a lot of powerful questions.  The person being coached determines what they need to do and how to go about it.  Coaching isn’t soft - its hard work on both sides of the conversation.  The biggest difference between oversight and coaching is a matter of who sets the agenda.  For instance while a supervisor may know the basic RMA’s, they don’t know the kids, the particular school culture, and isn’t that staff person.  Coaching staff relies on the staff determining how they will go about setting goals, owning them, and then carrying them out.  When its your idea your buy-in is so much stronger.

What could a board member expect out of an ED who is well coached?

Renewed interest in their job, a re-envisioned passion, increased performance.

I understand that coaching has been used by YFC International for some time, tell us about the success they have experienced.

In 2004 Chris Harding from Australia became the YFCI Directors of Coaching.  To name just a few successes since then the current National Director of Australia, the Regional Director of Latin America, and the Americas Areas Director were “just” young leaders at the 2008 YFC General Assembly in South Africa.  They were coached into these positions of responsibility using the system YFCUSA now employs.  Since 2008 over 400 young leaders from 70 countries have been coached or become coaches and over the past four years YFCI has grown tremendously.

Asking powerful questions is one of the most common ways that Jesus interacted with people. It serves us well to learn this skill as we intend to become more like Him.

The coaching format YFC uses recognizes that as the coach and the coachee listen and respond to  the Holy Spirit God can lead us to do amazing things.

If an executive director, board member, staff or volunteer in YFC wants to be coached… how can they go about doing that?

To begin the process send an email of intention to [email protected]


My coach doesn’t give me all the answers but he helps me make the better decisions on things. It’s more empowering that way then just being told what to do. I realize that a lot of ideas are already within me…He asks me where I am and what small victories have been accomplished. Sometimes I’m so worried about the end goal I missed the small wins.
– Marcus Jackson, North/East Area Director, Oklahoma City

My coach helps me by asking excellent, probing questions that I have not asked myself. Those questions help me understand my circumstances and see my story more clearly. He also asks questions that lead me to discover my next steps, helping me clarify as I go.
-- Mitch Janzen, Ministry Director, Central Coast YFC


Virginia Nurmi serves with YFC USA in Executive Leadership Development. 

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