Advance Your Nonprofit Leadership

Are you a nonprofit leader that finds yourself with a more challenging and isolated role in your organization? Would you like to advance your nonprofit leadership, organizational effectiveness and increase your goal attainment?

Coaching in the business world is one of the foremost methods used to develop creative, collaborative leadership in the organization. The nonprofit world is now beginning to understand how professional coaches hired to work with charity leaders and grant makers can make a difference in the outcomes of the organization. Professional coaching can help decrease the pressures felt by fund raising, burn out, and executives leaving the organization.

The Coaching for Change, Coaching and Philanthropy Project (2008, p. 10) defined coaching this way: “Coaching is a process that supports individuals to make more conscious decisions about their professional and personal lives.” Coaching:

Helps individuals identify and build upon their strengths and internal resources.
Enters into the gap between where a person is and where that person wants or needs to be.
Fosters awareness, accountability and action, resulting in improved performance.
Allows for deeper learning.

Does coaching work for everyone? “Coaching will not work “if the individual isn’t interested, doesn’t want to participate, doesn’t take it seriously, or isn’t interested in doing anything differently,” states Mallary Tytel, a leadership coach to nonprofits in South Dakota (Adams, 1999),

As described by ICF, professional coaching is an ongoing professional relationship that helps people produce extraordinary results in their lives, careers, or organizations. It is through this process of coaching, clients deepen their learning, improve performance and their quality of life.

What to look for in a nonprofit coach? Christine Kwak, a program director for W.K. Kellogg Foundation, says that certification has become an important criterion for hiring a coach. Reviewing several candidates is wise to ensure compatibility and a good coaching relationship.

A study of 24 executive directors in California, (Compass Point, 2003) who received coaching for a year showed significant organizational improvement:

Areas related organizational mission and vision;
Clarity of decision-making processes and roles and responsibilities of staff;
Organization’s fundraising capacity and financial stability;
Organizational effectiveness including communication and teamwork.

How do nonprofit leaders get funding to pay the costs of coaching? Some executive directors are paying the cost of coaching out of their own pockets. Professional coaching is typically a six month or annual contract and may cost $100.00-$150.00 an hour. An increased number of funders are providing support for leadership development, consulting/coaching or capacity building grants. Foundations are expressing more interest in coaching as a form of professional development than previously. It may simply be a need to educate or bring an awareness to funders how coaching can impact the organization in such a positive way.

Toni Roberts Norris Taylor, PCC
Coaching Pathway, LLC
International Coach Federation

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