Coaching for Nonprofit Leaders

Transform Conflict into Collaboration

Thanks for participating in the webinar “Effective Communication”.

I hope you received some value.

Maybe you realize that knowing what to do and not to do, is not the same as knowing how to do it. So you wonder if you could get some help in implementing what you learned.

That’s when I come in handy.

And you might think that coaching is too expensive. Or that it is not worth the investment of time and money. Or that a coach is too critical. Or that they will give advice and then get attached to what you do with it. Or maybe you have no clue what coaching is.

Then you might enjoy reading what others like you have said about their experience with me.

It was absolutely worth my money. There were conversations that gave me far more insight into working with particular individuals, in my job situation, some very challenging relationships. I got far more insight into those interactions and that was so useful at the moment.

And then also the kind of reflective, creative work, really the work to discover. What do I want to be doing: how would I like to earn money for work? I feel like I had a lot of confidence in the outcome. I feel like it was well-thought-out. The process was awesome. I was encouraged and challenged to do that kind of deep, reflective work. And the outcome of that has been worth it.

It wasn’t just about work. It wasn’t just about the job search. It overlapped into how I related to myself. That was part of what gave me the space to be considering a job change while expecting a new child on the way. In many other situations, left to my own devices, it might have been: “No, that’s the wrong decision. I should stay in the job that I have. I should…” Whatever. In working with you, I had the freedom and confidence to consider doing different work.

The trend has continued where I am earning more, compared to when I was head of a high school. I’m earning more with a lot less stress, in less time and with more satisfaction. I feel really satisfied and fulfilled. I feel like I’m making a positive impact on not just the students at my school, but teachers around the area, the larger area of Austin and beyond.

You held space for that transition without attachment to it turning out a particular way. I left feeling empowered that it was still my call to make. Like a different kind of coaching. Not: “I’m going to tell you what to do, and you should do it.” But you’re going to make space for me to make the choices that are there to be made for me. And then also to reflect on them as in a reflective conversation.

I felt honored, supported, heard, empowered to be more graceful than I would have been otherwise through those transitions.

Eric Mann

Math and Computer Science Teacher, Longview School, Austin

Coaching seemed like a little bit of a scary thing. Perhaps you would be diving into my leadership or work, and really kind of being super critical of it. I was just a little bit nervous that I was going to feel like everything I was doing was wrong or that I just could be so much better than I was. It was just kind of a little bit of a fear of the unknown. What is this going to look like? What am I going to get out of it?

I loved it. I loved it. I mean, I think that it ended up being so much more than I would have ever thought that it could be. It really gave me some benefits that I would not have imagined and I found in it a really great relationship with you that allowed me to look at the work that I was doing and look at the direction that I was going professionally through a little bit of a clearer lens. I feel like it helped me to discern some things in a better way and then really think about how to move ahead. What kinds of things I wanted to change on my team and in my department, what kind of things I wanted to change as far as relationships go with other co-workers or my supervisor or people that I supervise and really look at those things like I said more clearly, and then be able to make changes to get them to be what I wanted them to be.

Some of the results I was creating in the coaching were really tangible things. Like structuring some team meetings or team training, and also kind of developing a little bit of a framework for how my team sees case management and what we’re doing on that side. How we would describe it to ourselves, how we would describe it to funders, so actual tangible things that came out like meeting wise.

I think the other real benefit was just a different way of thinking about things. So thinking about when maybe there’s some conflict in a team meeting, thinking about that conflict in a different way and more as an opportunity to figure out how to collaborate. And I really liked the stuff that we did around Nonviolent Communication, really thinking about the needs and strategies. And I think once I started seeing conversations with people through that lens, it really changed those conversations and made them to be a little bit more collaborative. I felt like I had more empathy for the people that I was working with, whether that be co-workers or clients, and then be able to not even problem-solve, but just kind of solution-find together to figure out what met both people’s needs. And that the strategies sometimes are going to be different, but that we needed to really look at what are the actual needs that we were trying to address.

One example would be helping me to think about my relationship with my supervisor. So I work really well with my supervisor. I really enjoy her. She’s great. But you helped me to see that some of the needs that she was trying to fill were different than some of the needs that I was trying to fill. We were trying to work on how to work well together and how I could trust her. And what I think you helped me see in this conversation was that it was that the strategy that she was using was not a strategy that I felt necessarily comfortable with, but that the need that she was trying to fill for herself was something that I understood and that I thought was also an important need.

And so it helped me to then be more compassionate towards her and have more empathy towards her, and then ended up having a really good conversation with her and saying to her, well, when you do this thing, act in this way, or prioritize a relationship over maybe truth-telling, it makes me feel like you -blank- make me feel like I can’t trust you. And we just ended up having a really good conversation, where she was very able to be really honest about what she felt some of the downsides were of valuing relationships over truth-telling and how that affected how she saw that that could potentially affect my relationship with her and her relationship with others.

So it really helped me to work with my supervisor better. Which was huge. It was really, really good. It’s interesting always to think about making a good relationship better. We end up a lot of times focusing on the really problematic ones. But this was really something that already worked well. But there was a little bit of tweaking that could have been done and was done, and I feel that I have a better and stronger relationship with her because I understand more where she’s coming from and why she’s doing certain things.

I can say I know that I trust this person. I know that this person is going, to be honest with me in the end, but that what she’s choosing to do right now is for a reason and that she does have the residents’ and the staff’s best interest in mind. Just her strategy is different than mine in achieving that.

And to really think about where do I want to be in 10 years or 20 years? Those were some of the most important and interesting exercises for me. To really think about long, long term goals and how what I was doing now could potentially get me to where I wanted to be

I love coaching. I mean, you should pat yourself on the back Elly.

Sofia Barbato

Director Supportive Services, Foundation Communities, Austin

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