Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

General Questions

Encounter Coaching has three key features that distinguish it from other coaching approaches: 

It coaches a different brain. 

  • Encounter Coaching works with the emotional brain, which is the gateway to the heart, to bring change to a person’s inner world of core beliefs, emotional memories and desires, as opposed to their outer world of behavior and circumstances.

It uses a different change methodology.

  • 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. 

It aims for a different outcome.

  • The goal of Encounter Coaching is heart transformation. We believe Jesus’ way of change is from the inside out, not the outside in. Behavioral change then becomes a byproduct of heart change, not the primary goal.
    While this is a Christian program, encounter coaching is a conversational tool that can be used with anyone who is willing to having a spiritual conversation with God.

Encounter Coaching is designed for mature followers of Jesus who desire to grow in their relational influence. We have participants from a variety of vocations including ministry leaders, business leaders, church volunteers, counselors & therapists, professional life coaches, teachers, cross-cultural workers, parents & grandparents etc.  It’s a perfect fit for those wanting a powerful set of tools for generating heart transformation with those they influence or lead.

  • You’ll start with Coaching Fundamentals such as intuitive listening, asking powerful questions, goal-setting and action planning. 
  • Then you’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 you, and how different experiences change the heart. You’ll get plenty of practice facilitating encounters where Jesus shows up at a deep heart level and speaks directly to those you coach.
  • Module 1 introduces you to the fundamental tools and values of the coaching method. It also covers how the heart functions and how to access it.
  • Module 2 focuses on reframing circumstances in light of God’s purposes, rewriting life stories from heaven’s perspective, and bringing experiential encounters into your coaching conversations.
  • Both modules include live group sessions where you practice coaching and receive feedback from our certified coach trainers.
  • If you’re unsure about committing to Module 1, we encourage you to speak to one of our enrollment coaches to get any of your concerns addressed early. You can also take Intro to Encounter Coaching to get a taste for our training before committing to Module 1 (your investment in the Intro course can be applied to the investment in Module 1 as well).

Yes! Most coaching approaches use a secular methodology that tends to focus on the rational brain. MetaFormation’s training focuses on the emotional brain, and utilizes tools that bring Jesus into the coaching conversation. Therefore, our training is the perfect complement to most any coach training you’ve received. By going through Modules 1 & 2 you can earn your Encounter Coaching Certification.

Although the approach we use is overtly Christian— meeting Jesus in heart desires—we’ve found many people believe in God. They just don’t like religion. So if you invite them to ask God a question and see what He says (instead of telling them what you think God is saying to them), you’ll almost always get a positive response—and often an incredible breakthrough!

The term “Life Coach” is often used as a general term for coaches, with the word “life” distinguishing it from sports coaching. So yes, it is a life coach certification program with some distinct differences from most life coach programs.

By the way… we find that many of our certified encounter coaches are not necessarily pursuing a professional life coach path. They use these powerful heart transformational tools in the context of a wide variety of vocations.

Founder Tony Stoltzfus has been in the coaching arena since 1999, and has launched three professional coaching schools, coached and trained thousands of coaches, plus authored over a dozen books on coaching, including Amazon.com’s best-selling Coaching Questions.

Our coach trainers are hand-picked Encounter Coaches who have logged in hundreds of encounter coaching hours, ascribe to our core values and have completed (or are in the process of completing) our year-long Trainer Certification Program. Those coach trainers that are in-progress with their certification are paired up with our senior Coach Trainers.


Fun, intense, interactive, authentic. You’ve probably never been to a workshop like this before. The heart learns best from experience as opposed to words and concepts. So we use a lot of learning games, demonstrations, group exercises, coaching practice sessions, encounters, mentor coach feedback sessions and more. You’ll work through the core training in cohorts of 3 or 4 like-minded leaders, which provides for you a ready-made team of supporters to sustain your progress through the journey.

Each of the 20 weeks looks like this:

  • Pre-Session Work – 60 to 90 minutes comprised of reading, personal meditations, working through short video demonstrations, and/or practice exercises you can do with family and friends.
  • Weekly Live Session – We meet together for 2 hours over Zoom. These are highly interactive sessions where you’ll learn new content, observe live coaching demonstrations, practice the skills within breakout rooms, and debrief your experience.
  • Post-Session Cohort Follow-Up – You’ll meet with your cohort of 3 or 4 people to celebrate progress, discuss challenges and practice the skills taught in the Live Session.  Eight of the twenty follow-up sessions will be with a Mentor Coach, where you will receive personalized feedback on your coaching skills.

Yes, start with Module 1 and then move on to Module 2.

We built our training knowing our participants often have full-time jobs and other priorities that come up. If you miss two or perhaps three sessions, you’ll be fine. Each session is recorded so you can watch it later.  If you know you’ll miss more than three sessions, please don’t sign up. Our learning methodology relies heavily on you being there for your fellow cohort members. If you repeatedly don’t show up, it deteriorates the learning experience for your team members.

Our learning methodology relies heavily on you being there for your fellow cohort members. If you drop out, it affects the learning experience for your team members. If you go in with some doubts as to whether or not this is a good fit, we strongly encourage you to take the Intro to Encounter Coaching course first to get that assurance. Also speak to one of our Enrollment Coaches, who can pray with you to discern if now is the best time for you to participate with us.

We do understand that life happens. If there’s an unexpected significant life event that occurs prior to Session 3, which prevents you from participating, we’ll work with you and your cohort team to make it work for you and the team. You can either apply the amount paid to a future workshop offering or we will refund 80% of the total fee for the Module.

If you need to drop out prior to Session 6, we will refund 50% of the total fee for the Module or apply the full amount paid to a future workshop.

If you drop out after Session 6, we cannot provide a financial refund but we will work with you to find a way to apply the amount paid for a future workshop.

MetaFormation training involves both deep heart change for our participants, plus we are imparting to you skills that are likely very new for you. In our 10+ years of offering this training, we have found that it simply takes time for our participants to grow confident in these transformational conversation skills. Our training leverages adult learning research, which shows that people retain more knowledge when concepts are taught and repeated in bite-size chunks over a longer period of time vs. forcing you to ‘drink from a fire hose’ in a 3-day event. We also know from the research that we are ‘social learners’ in that we learn best when it’s done within the context of human relationships. Our extended training allows time for you to build strong, trusting relationships with your peers and your Coach Trainers.

Each of the two Modules takes 20 weeks to complete. Some people like to go straight into the next Module while others take a short break. Either approach is fine as we review some of the Module 1 concepts in Module 2. 

From a content perspective, Module 1: Encounter is largely comprised of material from Foundations of Encounter Coaching and Transforming the Heart. Importantly, Module 1 now incorporates 13.5 hours of Mentor Coaching, which was not part of the historical workshop experience. We see tremendous growth in our participant’s coaching skills as they work through these mentor coach sessions.

Module 2: Grow is largely comprised of content from Coaching the Heart and Living from the Heart, with the addition of 13.5 hours of Mentor Coaching.

If there are open seats left, we do offer last-minute discounts for those retaking the training. Send an email to admin@meta-formation.com to enquire about opportunities to do that.

We are also planning a new mini-workshop called Encounter Coach Revive, which is an 8-week workshop for those who have completed three of our traditional workshops. Send an email to admin@meta-formation.com if you’d like to be added to the waitlist.


The full certification program cost is $3,590 USD and the time investment is typically one to 1.5 years. The investment breaks down as follows:

  • Module 1: Encounter ($1,695) & 20 Weeks
  • Module 2: Grow ($1,895) & 20 Weeks
  • 100 hours of encounter coach experience (35 hours are within the training). You can begin logging hours after completing the foundational coaching content in Module 1 (after week 6). If you coached five hours per month beginning month 2, you can complete this portion by the 15th month after starting your training.

Note: Prices may change without notice. We also offer payment options for each of the Modules.

We consider you automatically enrolled in the certification program when you start Module 2: Grow. There is no incremental cost for certification, simply log your coaching hours and submit that to us once you’ve completed both modules and the mentor coaching sessions. If you choose to do the course work but not complete the certification requirements, that’s perfectly fine as well. You just can’t advertise to others that you’re a certified encounter coach.

Once you complete certification, you can participate in our graduation ceremony, receive a certificate, as well as graphics that you can add to your website / social media.

We offer both physical and e-books. Physical books are included in the Module price and will be shipped at no extra cost once you register for the modules.

We are not affiliated with the ICF and do not offer ICF certification. Since our courses follow a distinctly Christian methodology wherein we invite Jesus to be our co-coach, our content does not fit into the ICF coaching competencies that they require. Our Certified Encounter Coaches have generally found that the lack of an ICF credential has not negatively impacted their ability to secure paying clients.

The difference between our Encounter Coaching Certification compared to the ICF Portfolio certification process are as follows:


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

Mentor Coaching hours

27 hours (24 group / 3 one-one)

10 hours (7 can be group and at least 3 one-one)

Hours of Coaching Experience

100 hours*

100 hours

*The ICF requires 75 of the 100 coaching experience hours to be with paying clients. Because the MetaFormation program is designed to work for individuals who coach as part of an existing job or ministry role, we do not require that. Also, 35 of the 100 hours required are completed just by attending Modules 1 & 2.


You can: 

  • call yourself a 
    • Certified Encounter Coach
    • Encounter Coach
    • Life Coach
    • Coach
  • use the Certified Encounter Coach logo in your advertising and/or website.
  • choose to receive an Encounter Coaching certificate from MetaFormation.

What you cannot do:

  • claim to be a representative of MetaFormation 
  • call yourself a MetaFormation Coach
  • use the MetaFormation logo in your advertising/website

These would infringe on our name.

We celebrate your completion with a special online graduation ceremony you can invite friends and family to!  We will also send you Certified Encounter Coach graphic you can incorporate into your marketing materials and website.

Offering transformational Christian coach training for over 15 years.


© 2022 Meta-Formation. All rights reserved