Working with a coach can have a very big impact on a leader or someone aspiring to be a leader - and at a very reasonable cost. Coaches can help you identify and change conditions and behaviors that are barriers to your success and peace of mind.
How is a coach different from a consultant? The following table from the Support Center for Nonprofit Management explains some of the differences between consulting and coaching.
|Even when one person is the main client contact, the consultant usually works with more than one person, often in a team, group, board, or department||Works on a one-to-one basis; may coach more than one person in an organization, individually|
|Structures projects for specific deliverable or result, which the consultant is primarily responsible for||Supports the client to achieve her or his own result or outcome|
|Usually problem-focused, i.e., identifies and tries to correct problems or weaknesses||Builds on the client's strengths|
|Regarded as the "expert" who will solve problems (the magic bullet)||Enables the client to solve problems or change things for the better|
|Consultant brings technical expertise to advise on solutions||Coach brings relationship expertise to support the client's solutions|
|If behavior change is needed, consultant generally does not get involved in it||A focus on individual and interpersonal dynamics supports behavior change|
|Gathers data and reports on what needs to be done||Facilitates growth|
|Time-limited; generally short-term and project-oriented results||Occurs over a period of time that generally involves renewable contracts; focused on long-term results|
|Provides information||Promotes self-discovery|
|Goals generally related to programs and funding||Values-based goal setting|
|Requires limited commitment from client to implement||Maximizes client's commitment to implement solutions|
The Coaching and Philanthropy Project done by Compasspoint Nonprofit Services in California has demonstrated the power of coaching in nonprofits. A study done by Compasspoint with 25 executive directors found that coaching improved leadership skills by:
- Increasing confidence in exercising leadership
- Improving ability to connect with the organization’s vision
- Increasing confidence in leading the organization toward fulfilling the vision
It increased management skills by:
- Increasing task completion and productivity
- Improving personnel management skills
- Fostering better relationships with staff and Board of Directors (e.g.,communication skills)
Compasspoint has developed three action guides – for funders, nonprofits, and coaches. Wondering if coaching is for you or need help selecting a coach? Check out the Coaching Readiness Questionnaire and the Compasspoint Guide to Selecting a Nonprofit Coach in this Coaching and Philanthropy Action Guide for Nonprofits.