Go Good Places Faster

Over the last year of coaching, I’ve seen transformation in individuals that at first was alarming when compared to what I’ve encountered over the last 15 years of work within the local church. The forward movement they experienced, professionally, personally, and spiritually within 2 months of starting a coaching process far exceeds the movement most make within a local congregation over the course of 2 or 3 years ... if ever. I’m increasingly convinced that coaching is an essential part of the discipleship process. Apart from coaching, people are left to simply deal in advice-giving with a splash of religious goods and services. They gain little awareness of whether or not they are living into their purpose toward greater wholeness. Coaching helps people go good places faster.
— Joel DeMott

Five years ago I was trained and certified in coaching as an artful yet developmental science. It has single-handedly been the most profitable training I’ve received in my 20+ years of people and leadership development. It’s my dream that anyone in spiritual leadership would become a coach because it will change how you do leadership by taking people to good places faster.

Joel’s quote above isn’t an uncommon experience from spiritual leaders who’ve completed our coaching certification training through the Center for Advanced Coaching. The movement, progress, and achievements of people who go through a coaching process isn’t rocket science, but it’s certainly a developmental science. We’d see different results if we practiced different tools. If we are to take seriously other’s transformation, we’d do better if we understood more of the art and science of change. We are only able to lead people to places where they need to go if we are going first into good places.

This spring we are facilitating 2 two trainings (Orange County, CA and Chicago, IL) for spiritual leaders who want to take their personal development and people development to the next level. Our 3-days together will be intentionally focused on you first, so you can take the models, tools, and skills to others seeking transformation. It will likely change your own life before you even have an opportunity to change someone else’s life. What do you have to lose?

Learn More + Register HERE.

Become a Coach

The Cure for Too-Much-To-Do

Silence + Solitude - April L. Diaz

“Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion?
Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace.
I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.”
(Matthew 11:28-30, The Message)

Ever feel like a hot mess?

How often do you feel like you get to the end of the day and not only is your “to do” list not completed, but its actually longer than when you started the day?

When was the last time you missed a deadline?

How long has it been since you’ve had a solid 8-hours of sleep for a whole week?

When someone asks you how you’re doing, do you respond with “busy!” more often than not?

How many unanswered emails, voice mails, text messages, social media messages, or pieces of snail mail do you have?

Have you ever been tempted to ditch a commitment because you’re just so overwhelmed and exhausted?

How often do you get headaches, feel the weight of the world on your shoulders, or like a thousand pound gorilla is sitting on your chest?

I tend to live life very full, intense, and passionate, which then can look like I’ve got way too much to do for one human. Stress emerges. Impatience surges. My temper flares. I’m scattered and frustrated with everyone, when really I’m the only one to blame. I’m tired and worn out because of my own decisions.

For a decade I went to this place to recover my life. The first Monday of every month I sat on a bench overlooking the ocean to get away with Jesus and learn the unforced rhythms of grace. It didn’t come natural. It actually felt forced in the beginning. It never came at a good time, but I did it. Then, I became a parent and slowly but surely I let go of this monthly rhythm. I created a litany of excuses why I couldn’t take a day to be alone with God. So, for a few years I abandoned the one practice that kept me rooted, grounded, healing, and anchored in the chaos of life.

Last fall I read Invitation to Retreat (Ruth Haley Barton) and was wooed back to this monthly rhythm of silence and solitude. In many ways, my life has never been more full. I don’t have time for this. But I can’t afford not tending to my soul well. Since October, I’ve re-instituted strategic withdrawal on the first Monday of the month. Once again, I am getting away to lonely places where I can withdraw for good reasons so I can fight what’s necessary the rest of the month. It’s intentional and strategic.

If you find yourself eager yet resistant to this kind of rhythm, perhaps these words will weight you into the truth about the cure for too-much-to-do. It’s been the best thing I’ve done for myself in a while.

The cure for too-much-to-do is solitude and silence, for there you find you are safely more than what you do ... You will know this finding of your soul and God is happening by an increased sense of who you are and a lessening of the feeling that you have to do this, that, or the other thing. That harassing, hovering feeling of “have to” largely comes from the vacuum in your soul, where you ought to be at home with your Father in his kingdom. As the vacuum is rightly filled, you will increasingly know that you do not have to do those things - not even those things you want to do.
— Dallas Willard

Friend, strategically withdraw from your life so you can recover it and live freely and lightly. Let’s be the kind of people who live in the unforced rhythms of grace. You are safe and you are loved. (Yes, yesterday I strategically withdrew and took a real rest with Jesus. It was good for my soul. Can’ t wait for March.)

3 Transformation Approaches: Therapist, Spiritual Director, + Coach

You need others to help you move forward in your life, but how do you know who the right person is to invest into your life? One of my favorite Proverbs is “plans fail for a lack of counsel, but with many advisors they succeed.” Collecting reliable voices in your life will be a huge predictor of your life’s wholeness.

Recently, I’ve been asked multiple times about how a coach actually compares to other types of “mentors”. Because of the upsurge of coaches in the last 5 years, there’s a lot of confusion about what makes coaching different and what makes a coach qualified. Here are the over-simplified, not comprehensive distinctions between the 3 approaches:

THERAPIST: past focus

A therapist is a healing discipline, focused on the past. A great therapist knows how to help you heal from family of origins wounds, trauma, process past hurts, and know yourself better in light of your past experiences. I’m a huge fan of therapy. I’ve personally had several chunks of time in my life where I’ve utilized a trained therapist for my specific issues. Every member of my family has been to counseling. The healthiest of leaders I know are people who’ve spent significant time in a counselor’s office. I consider this healing discipline a requirement for healthy, thriving life and leadership.


Spiritual Direction a mystical practice, focused on the present moment. A spiritual director is someone who helps you hear the voice of God in your life right now. A fantastic spiritual director has discernment and often prophetic gifts that can help you tap into the mystical nature of God. Direction offers the you the opportunity to open yourself up to a deepening relationship with the Divine. I’ve had the same spiritual director for over 15 years. Brian and I haven’t made a major life decision without asking her to help us hear from God well. I’ve utilized another spiritual director this last year as I needed to know where the Spirit was in the midst of some confusion and pain. Spiritual Direction is a beautiful and powerful practice.

COACH: future focus

A coach is a behavioral discipline, focused on the future. Coaching applies the art and science of transformation for how a person wants to move forward in their life. A trained coach is intuitive enough to know people are complex, thus coaching is an artful process. However, they are also skilled in how people change on a neurological and behavioral level. Coaching is rooted in behavioral science. It’s mandate-based, action-oriented, and results focused. A coach’s job is to see how people relate to the future and to use that as leverage for the present.


It’s ideal when we have access to all three modalities of transformation. When I’m coaching someone I will often recommend using a therapist or spiritual director in partnership with coaching. Since they each focus on different aspects of transformation, each of them offer a unique perspective and approach. There are different periods of life when each modality is necessary and needs to be a priority. However, just as you would never go to a therapist who’s not trained and certified, you should really only work with a trained and certified spiritual director and coach. I’m not a certified therapist or spiritual director, so I don’t offer this kind of transformational work. I am a certified coach and because coaching has changed my life, I love providing this space for others. It’s so empowering when we’re able to achieve our goals and move from here to there.

There are a lot of “coaches” these days. The majority of those who provide coaching offer reactive, advice-giving based solutions. That approach has its benefits, but it’s not coaching. They’ve positioned themselves as the expert with the answers for your life. Since coaching is a developmental science, be sure to get a coach who practices the art and science of results-based coaching. Before you jump into a coaching relationship, explore their training and ongoing coaching development. Not all coaches are the same.

If you’d like to explore coaching for your future, you can take a next step HERE.

You can activate 1on1 coaching or participate in a catalytic coaching group this year.

Perhaps you want to be a certified coach. You can learn more about that HERE.


April L. Diaz

April has been a visionary activist her entire life. She has made it her mission to lead high performing teams and develop leaders in the margins of society while caring for our bodies, mind, and spirit. Secretly, she’s a mix of a total girly girl and a tomboy, and is still crazy about her high school sweetheart, Brian. Together, they co-parent 3 fabulous kiddos and live in Orange County, CA.