25 Kislev 5778 / Wednesday, December 13, 2017 | Torah Reading: Mikeitz
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No Emuna, No Coach    

No Emuna, No Coach

They charge a hefty $7,400 for training and have a nifty coach referral service to their own coaches. They claim to provide you with the “wisdom of the Torah"; is that true?


I keep seeing this advertisement to become a certified life coach from a training institute that claims to be the world’s leading Torah-based coach training institute. Being that I’m always interested new ideas about how the teachings of the Torah can be applied to help people, I went onto their website and was amazed at what I found there.


There are pictures of very distinguished looking Rabbis. There are endorsements from prominent Rabbis. There are some well-known Rabbis who became coaches who were teaching classes – but these things weren’t what surprised me. What surprised me most were the curriculum and the reading list.


I turned to the content of what they teach at this place:


Cognitive Behavior Therapy, Solution Oriented Therapy, Neuro-linguistic Programming, Positive Psychology, Reality Therapy, and Relaxation.  All in all there were 36 topics of counseling described and there were only two Jewish words in the entire list. I wondered where are the great works of mussar (Jewish Ethical Thought) like the Path of the Just, Duties of the Heart (Jewish ethical thought), chassidut, the holy Zohar, the Bible. No where do they even mention any books on emuna (faith) such as those written by Rabbi Shalom, who is known by millions to be one of the leading spiritual coaches of our generation.


Let’s take a look at the source material for just one of Rabbi Arush’s books, The Garden of Purity: The Talmud, Midrash, the holy Zohar, Rambam, the code of Jewish Law, the writings of Rebbe Nachman of Breslev and his pupil Rebbe Natan, the writings of Rebbe Shneur Zalman of Ladi (Baal HaTanya), Rebbe Pinchas of Koritz, Rebbe Yaacov Abuchatzeira (Abir Yaacov), Rebbe Elazar Azikri (Sefer Charedim), Rebbe Chaim Yosef David Azulai (Chid’a), Rebbe Chaim ben Attar (Or Hachaim Hakadosh), Rebbe Yitzchak Meir Alter (Chidushei Harim), Rebbe Menachem Mendel Morgenstern of Kotsk, Rebbi Eliezer Papo (Pele Yoetz), Rebbe Yehuda Arie Alter of Gur (Sfat Emet), Rebbe Aaron Roth (Shomer Emunim), Rebbe Chaim of Chernovitz (Be’er Mayim Chaim), and others, all of sacred and blessed memory.


Now let’s see what the “World’s leading Torah-based coaching Institute” brings as its source materials. I was only able to find two: a non-descript “Coaching Manual” and “The Coaching Manual- The Definitive Guide to the Process, Principles and Skills of Personal Coaching” by J. Starr (Third Edition).


Another problem I have with this Institute is that the founder and “Dean” shows himself with some of the all-time great Rabbis of our time, one of which he sat with and listened to as he gave spiritual advice to over a thousand people. He then claims that this great Rabbi had a “mighty impact” on his own approach to coaching and that he is now “teaching what he saw him doing.”


But where in their coach training curriculum is there anything mentioned about this Rabbi’s teachings?  All he says is that the Rabbi was doing things naturally that well-known psychologists like Carl Rogers were doing. This is tantamount to teaching non-Jewish, non-emuna based, secular coaching and simply packaging it with some Jewish names and pictures of great Rabbis!


They charge a hefty $7,400 for training and they have a nifty coach referral service to their own coaches. They claim to provide you with the “wisdom of the Torah and the tools of evidence-based scientific methods which are of proven value to help people change for the better.” It’s not clear if the “proven value” they refer to are the scientific methods or the wisdom of the Torah. If they are referring to the Torah, since when does Torah need to be proven? The whole Torah is based on emuna. And if what they call “proven value” refers to the science of psychology, perhaps they are unknowingly revealing their bias that the real “value” of what they are selling comes from science and not the Torah which can’t be proven.


One thing is clear; I don’t see the Torah anywhere on their website (except in the logo).


Where is the power of prayer and of emuna mentioned? Where is Hashem’s name even mentioned once in this huge “Jewish” website. Where there's no emuna, there's a losing coach.


Consumer, please beware.



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We invite you to visit Dr. Zev Ballen's popular daily web journal Spiritual Coaching.

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