A few years ago, I wrote a post titled “Why are non-profits adverse to executive coaching?” after a conference where I couldn’t give away executive coaching services. With a few more years under my belt, things haven’t gotten any easier. In fact, I still find it challenging to sell executive coaching services to non-profit leaders. However, I’ve changed my mind since writing that last blog post about the reasons why this is the case.
After a heart-to-heart with a few non-profit friends, I’ve come to believe executive coaching is seen by some (and perhaps many) as a service for professionals who are failing. One person even compared it to counseling.
When put into this context, people who see coaching as a remedy for failure also see asking their board or their supervisor to pay for coaching as an admission of weakness or being unable to do their job.
The ironic thing here is that some of the for-profit sector’s greatest leaders have worked with executive coaches. It wasn’t because they were failing, but it was because they needed to maximize their performance.
Executive coaching is not like coaching in athletics. They don’t call the plays in from the sidelines. In fact, they don’t even tell you what to do. A good executive coach will ask powerful questions, facilitate discussions, help you with goal setting and be an accountability agent in your professional life.
Executive coaches are not therapists, but hiring one can have the impact of bringing greater work-life balance and fulfillment to your professional life.
The reality is that executive coaches are hired for any number of reasons. Here are just a few:
- Help with succession planning
- Developing young leaders
- Improving performance / Maximizing performance
- Serving as a thought-partner during important projects (e.g. strategic planning)
- On-boarding new CEOs and key leaders (both staff and volunteer)
- Surviving and thriving during executive search and transition
I could go on and on with this list, but the bottom line is that there are any number of projects and situation where non-profit organizations can benefit from executive coaching services.
Has your organization every hired an executive coach for staff or board volunteer? If not, then what is stopping you? Please share your thoughts and experiences in the comment box. We can all learn from each other.
Here’s to your health!
Founder & President, The Healthy Non-Profit LLC
I really like the insights you have to offer. Part of successful coaching is clearly defining your role before assumptions from other people get in the way. I’ve had to tell a few people i’m not a therapist!