Path Coaching: Building Tomorrow’s Leaders
By Ben Rotz
Natalie and Johnny both stepped onto the campus of Oklahoma Wesleyan University as new students in the fall of 2022. As first-generation college students, both knew they wanted to grow and make the most of their time in college; they were unsure how to make it happen.
To help answer that question for our students, OKWU has launched a new venture called PATH Coaching. Built around Matthew 7:12-14, the goal of PATH is to provide life coaching designed to help move students from the broad path of “success” as culture defines it, to the narrow path of Christ-centered growth and discipleship.
Both Natalie and Johnny decided to engage in PATH Coaching to help navigate the questions and decisions they faced: How will my degree help prepare me for a career? How can I learn more about my God-given gifts and strengths and what those mean for my life and leadership? How can I grow in my faith?
Built upon the acronym of PATH, the coaching is designed to help students answer some of the questions Natalie, Johnny, and so many students have.
Tomorrow needs leaders who are prepared not just for a career but for the many demands of life and leadership. PATH is the way OKWU will intentionally invest in this next generation of professionals, spouses, parents, and followers of Christ so they can flourish for a lifetime.
So, in everything, do to others what you would have them do for you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets. Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.” – Matthew 7:12-14 NIV
PATH coaching helps students be prepared for life by harnessing their academic experiences and leveraging them to build a foundation for career preparation in the bigger mission of being sent for Christ. As Natalie engaged in PATH Coaching this year, she gained an appreciation for how some of her classes like calculus and chemistry were preparing her for pharmacy school after she graduates.
OKWU desires to help students to become more aware of their gifts and strengths and how they can be stewarded to thrive, serve others, and advance the mission of Christ. Part of Natalie’s coaching involved understanding her Clifton Strengths profile and how her Strengths could be leveraged towards a goal she wanted to achieve as a student-athlete. For Johnny, PATH Coaching offered the opportunity to explore how his Strengths could help him become more aware of how to be a better friend and family member.
The spiritual lives of OKWU students will be intentionally developed by helping students to engage in opportunities and experiences designed to help them mature and flourish as followers of Christ. Johnny’s experience of transformation this year was punctuated by his decision to be baptized in front of the entire student body in April of 2023. It was a public acknowledgment that, more than anything else, his life was defined by the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
PATH Coaching helps students understand and apply the experiences they’ve had outside the classroom as a member of the OKWU community to their life resume. From student leadership to university athletics, these hands-on experiences are vital for building a life resume. For Natalie and Johnny, PATH Coaching helped them understand how their experiences as student-athletes are giving them tools and experiences they can draw on in other areas of life and leadership.