Meet our Coach Trainers
By Jennifer Hano
May 1, 2012

Meet Our Coach Trainers


Laurie J. Ferguson is a Presbyterian minister, licensed clinical psychologist, and a coach credentialed by the International Coaching Federation as a Professional Certified Coach (PCC). As the Senior Research Fellow for Coaching and Director of the Residential Coaching Program at Auburn Seminary, Dr. Ferguson has coached church leaders and supervised coaches since 2005. She is an adjunct lecturer at Auburn and Union Seminaries teaching classes and conducting workshops on using coaching skills in congregations and judicatories.

In 2006 Dr. Ferguson created a coaching skills curriculum and used it to train leaders from more than twenty-five Presbyterian judicatories and in national PCUSA groups, such as the Interim pastor faculty network, and the national pastoral care network.

In her private practice, Dr. Ferguson does individual and group coaching with clergy, judicatory executives, and church administrators. She is currently working on a book that outlines coaching skills for church leadership.
She earned her PhD from Adelphi University, a Master of Divinity from Princeton Seminary and her AB from Smith College.


Philip C. Bergey Is credentialed by the International Coach Federation as a Professional Certified Coach (PCC). Phil’s primary’s focus is coaching executives, pastors, leaders, and teams who are transforming systems in non-­‐profit and business settings. In his approach to training coaches, Phil draws from a range of evidence-­‐based theories with personal style emphasizing humor, vulnerability, and intuition to create an environment for deep listening and insightful conversation. Those who work with Phil consistently cite his capacity to build trust quickly, help clients gain clear perspective, and move individuals and groups forward in addressing complex agenda. Phil received an Evidence Based Coaching Certificate through Fielding Graduate University. He Earned a Master Of Arts in Human Development from Fielding, and a Master Of Arts in Theological Studies with a concentration in theology and ethics from Associated Mennonite Biblical Seminary. He is currently a PhD candidate in Human and Organizational Systems at Fielding. During his free time, Phil enjoys reading and being in nature. He and his life partner Evon are parents of three married children and have a grand-­‐dog and grand-­‐bunny. 


Gayle Irvin, RN, MA, is an Executive Coach and Organizational Consultant. Gayle is a Gestalt trained practitioner and as such, incorporates Gestalt theories, models and concepts in her work with individuals and organizations.
Gayle’s experience includes working in corporations and non-profits, the healthcare industry, financial services, publishing, and media. From 2000 to 2005, Gayle was an internal consultant and coach with The New York Times, and as such worked with top executives throughout the newspaper and served the New York Times Company Regional Newspapers throughout the United States as well. Gayle is a coach for executive MBA programmes at both Columbia University and Darden School of Business for the University of Virginia. Since 2005, Gayle has coached divinity students at Union Theological Seminary and Auburn Theological Seminary. Since 2007, Gayle has worked closely with the Church of Scotland developing a Coaching Programme for clergy and other faith leaders. In addition, Gayle selected and trained a team of coaches in Scotland, whom she continues to supervise and support. Over the years, Gayle has worked with over 200 people in the development of their leadership
The church has always been a large part of Gayle’s life. She has been an active participant and has lived a life as part of a clergy family. When coaching, Gayle works holistically but with particular emphasis on the importance of spiritual vitality, and believes it is crucial for faith leaders to continually reconnect to the values that undergird their ministry, as well as to what they are most committed to – their life’s purpose and meaning.


The International Coaching Federation (ICF) credentialed Chris Holmes as a Associate Coach in 2008, and the United Methodist Church endorsed Chris for the ministry of coaching in 2009. He is a pastor with 26 years of experience serving small to large churches and has seven years serving as District Superintendent in the Baltimore-Washington Conference of the United Methodist Church.

Chris has played a pivotal role in developing the coaching ministry in the Baltimore-Washington Conference. "As a leadership coach, I come beside denominational leaders and pastors to help them get sharply focused and committed to what they need to do in ministry and then lead boldly with courage."

Chris co-authored the Coach Approach Skills Training (CAST) manuals used by the General Board of Discipleship in the training of Bishops, District Superintendents, and Directors of Connection Ministries in the basic coaching skills. Chris has written numerous articles on coaching and serves as an adviser to several United Methodist Conferences in utilizing the basic skills of coaching in ministry at all levels of the church. He is the President-elect for the newly formed Maryland Chapter of the International Coaching Federation and a founding member of the Methodist Coaching Connection. Chris has begun working with Auburn's coaching program in 2012.

Chris and Margaret have been married for more than thirty years and have three grown children. Chris is also a watercolor artist with paintings, prints, and posters for sale in a variety of galleries and stores.




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