Coaching for Nonprofit Leaders

Based in Austin – Specialized in Empathy and Self-Compassion

Happy Participants

A world of peace and connection with those I care about most

"I never dreamed the conflicts and arguments in my relationships could be overcome. I felt locked in a frustrating cycle of trying to talk, but seemingly always ending in an argument or worse: feeling emotionally disconnected. David and Elly have shown me a truth that has changed my life. Through their Nonviolent Communication teaching and loving compassion, I have learned how to listen for the first time. To hear others and in doing so open a world of peace and connection with those I care about most. NVC is so simple, but so effective.”

Harlan Hatter


Fun and engaging and very welcoming

"I’ve been attending the Nonviolent Communication practice group for over two years and continue to find value in the practice, as well as new areas of my life where I can apply empathy and Nonviolent Communication. Elly’s style is fun and engaging and very welcoming to new members joining the group. I recommend the group to anyone interested in bringing more empathy into their lives or learning more about Nonviolent Communication.”

Bud Loveall


Ideal amount of lesson and paired empathy practice

“The Nonviolent Communication workshop was great. Ideal amount of lesson and paired empathy practice, with a well-balanced intermixing of the two modes. Content was excellent and flowed nicely. The created environment felt safe. The pairings were good and I was surprised at the ease I felt continuing our stories even though it was with a new person. It’s good to switch up the people because each pairing brings a refreshing dynamic and new insight. Overall, I got a lot out of it.”

Donna DiGangi


Nonviolent Communication Practice Groups

We have two practice meetings a week: Sundays (1:00-3:30 pm) and Mondays (7:00-9:15 pm) at our home, Hydepark. We typically follow the same format: check-in, dialogue about an NVC-topic, empathy pairings, and closing circle. We ask $20 to support the continuing education of the coaches. Contact us if you want to join.

Visit Us

Eilers Avenue, Hyde Park

Austin, Texas 78751

Benefits of Nonviolent Communication

  • Deeper ability to connect to others and ourselves through empathy
  • Better understanding that everything we say or do is an attempt to meet universal, human needs
  • More openness to connect to feelings as messengers of needs met or unmet
  • More acceptance that some strategies are a tragic expression of unmet needs
  • More willingness to offer support for collaborative solutions, when needs are unmet

overcome conflicts and arguments in your relationships

Everything we think, say, and do is an attempt to meet a universal, human need.

We share the same human needs throughout space and time. People in China want respect, autonomy and connection just like people in Nigeria. The Aztecs and the Romans all wanted understanding, acceptance, support, just like we do. 

Because our needs are universal throughout space and time, we can understand each other. We understand what it is like to want love, belonging, safety. We have compassion for our shared humanity. 

One of the beauties of recognizing universal human needs is that they open up our capacity for mutual understanding and our options for collaboration. 

Strategies are specific ways to meet our needs.

Strategies are localized in space and time and idiosyncratic to each of us. Safety is a need, $60.000 net income a year a strategy to meet that need. A monastic for example does want safety — to be protected from harm. $60.000 net income a year doesn’t mean much to them. Having shelter and being free from persecution does.



  • to choose one’s dreams, goals, values
  • to choose one’s plan for fulfilling one’s dreams, goals, values


  • to celebrate the creation of life and dreams fulfilled
  • to celebrate losses: loved ones, dreams, etc. (mourning)


  • authenticity
  • creativity
  • meaning
  • self-worth


  • acceptance
  • appreciation
  • closeness
  • community
  • consideration
  • contribution to the enrichment of life (to exercise one’s power by giving that which contributes to life)
  • emotional safety
  • honesty (the empowering honesty that enables us to learn from our limitations)
  • love
  • reassurance
  • respect
  • support
  • trust
  • understanding
  • warmth


  • fun
  • laughter

Spiritual Communion

  • beauty
  • harmony
  • inspiration
  • order
  • peace

Physical Nurturance

  • air
  • food
  • movement, exercise
  • protection from life-threatening forms of life: viruses, bacteria, insects, predatory animals
  • rest
  • sexual expression
  • shelter
  • touch
  • water

(c) Rosenberg, M. (2016), “Nonviolent Communication, a language of life”, California, USA: PuddleDancer Press, p. 54-55

Stay in touch

Read how Elly stumbles through life and learns how to practice empathy, mindfulness and compassion.

Our Blog

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Protests, grackles, and ways of renewal

There are protests in Austin. A car is set on fire, nine shops are vandalized. The police use tear gas and I can hear helicopters all night long. The highway is blocked off by protesters, I can hear voices through a megaphone. probably less than three miles away. And...



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Man’s Search for Meaning

Man’s Search for Meaning

We are not determined by our conditions, by our conditioning, by our childhood. We determine ourselves by our search for meaning.

The squirrel and Superman

The squirrel and Superman

We don’t have a lot of songbirds here in Hyde Park, Austin. We have Carolina wren, American robin, mockingbird, northern cardinal. And occasionally a tufted titmouse. That’s about it. The rest are grackles, blue jays, doves. To attract more singing birds, I hang up a...

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The professor is howling at the nurse

Every night at eight p.m. my neighbor across the street, a university professor, goes outside and howls. So does the real estate broker from his backyard, And the owner of a radio station three doors away. Even my neighbor, the nurse, goes outside to howl. And...

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Bumping your head against the communication ceiling

A few months ago I did a little market research. I wanted to know: Who are my best clients? I could do this very scientifically. And I could do it quick and not-so-dirty. My favorite research method is: Follow the results. Which clients come back, year after year?...

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You don’t have a negativity bias, do you?

This pandemic triggers all kinds of feelings in me: anger, sadness, fear, panic, shame, guilt, and a lot of “shoulds” about how I should help more. These are feelings and thoughts that I am not such a fan of,  especially when they come in huge quantities. I know from...

A bee is waking me up

A bee is waking me up

What is the difference between empathy and sympathy? And why do we even care? I believe empathy helps us to respectfully understand what others are experiencing. This helps with supporting them most constructively. Read what bees have to do with all of that.