Creative Approaches to Coaching in the Social Sector
Richard Michaels & Sharon Brown
Coaching for Transformation
Three fast-growing trends in coaching that make investment dollars go further include peer coaching, group coaching and community coaching.
Peer coaching is a long-term investment that pays strong dividends. When organizations set up a peer coaching culture they create high-trust relationships, and support each other’s leadership development across traditional boundaries. People can coach 360º—it’s not uncommon for people from different levels to coach upward, downward or laterally. The author of The Heart of Coaching, Thomas Crane describes The 7 Characteristics of a Coaching Culture: 1
- Leaders are Positive Role Models
- Every Member is Focused on Customer Feedback
- Coaching Flows in all Directions—Up, Down and Laterally
- Teams Become Passionate and Energized
- Learning Occurs, More Effective Decisions are Made, and Change Moves Faster
- HR Systems are Aligned and Fully Integrated
- The Organization Has a Common Coaching Practice and Language
When the entire organization collaborates to create a coaching culture and people have a shared understanding of how to coach, they support each other’s growth and development. The systemic practice of coaching increases the capacity for growth and change.2
Group coaching is a facilitated group process that uses coaching principles to support professional development. The synergy comes from leveraging the wisdom, energy and experience of the group. The process gives leaders a valuable opportunity to connect with their peers and know that they’re not alone in their challenges. Instead of perpetuating the silo mentality, group coaching is a way to use leadership development funds more productively while actively working on pressing issues.
Community coaching is a group process that uses the mindset and skill set of coaching to support communities who are seeking change. The coach serves as a catalyst to bring forward the wisdom of the group. The coach uses expanded coaching tools by helping groups:
- Get clarity about their work and nurture their collective vision.
- Catalyze group learning and discover new options.
- Analyze situations and develop collaborative processes.
- Overcome barriers to change and synthesize strategic initiatives.
- Make collective decisions and sustain their work together.
Mary Emery and Ken Hubbell, leaders in community coaching, list the following outcomes of community coaching: 3
Coaching Creates These 7 Outcomes
- Communities used new ways to live and work together.
- Community teams uncovered new ideas that led to successful community change.
- People came to see the reality of different perspectives, so they could work with others more effectively, reduce conflict and create the conditions for a learning community.
- Leaders included the whole community rather than a select few or the traditional elite.
- Groups successfully challenged the status quo.
- Community groups were able to generate self-direction—to decide for themselves what will work, how and why.
- The group found a way to get unstuck and connect or reconnect their strategic work to their vision.
They go on to say that “activities where these coaches are providing support range from board development, economic revitalization, civic engagement, helping low income women become financially independent, community planning and encouraging organizational collaboration. The coaches have goals of helping groups generate improvement in the areas of employment, education, poverty-reduction, housing, environmental enhancement, business development, economic renewal and leadership development.”
As the coaching profession evolves, empowerment becomes a way of life, not just for people with means, but for everyone. Coaches and clients alike are continuously seeking ways to make a difference and create positive change in the world. Coaching in the social sector is gaining momentum and the impact is truly transformational.
Questions to Consider
What’s your vision for expanding coaching in the social sector?
In what way are you called to make a difference in your community? How might you begin?
1 Crane. Thomas. 2011. Business Coaching Worldwide (2005, Volume 1, Issue 1).
2 Crane. Thomas. 2011. Business Coaching Worldwide (2005, Volume 1, Issue 1).
3 Mary Emery and Ken Hubbell, retrieved from http://communitycoaching.com/six-rs_2.html
Excerpt from the book Coaching for Transformation: Pathways to Ignite Personal & Social Change by Martha Lasley, Virginia Kellogg, Richard Michaels and Sharon Brown. As faculty at Leadership that Works, they certify coaches who offer personal, organization and community transformation. Check out the free Power of Coaching teleclass.
Coaching is life-changing, world-changing work. The coaching programs at Leadership that Works go beyond theories and models and work with clients on a deeper level. You learn how to coach the whole person: physical, mental, emotional and spiritual. Whole person Transformation.
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