Nonprofits and Executive Coaching – When is it Right?

In the ‘for profit’ realm of business, executive coaching is a common occurrence. While leaders and staff likely have several of the skills needed to properly run their organization, it is fair to assume that there is at least one area where they could use some additional guidance. However in the nonprofit sector this extra training and/or polishing tends to be less likely due to the necessary investment of time and money.

In a recent article in The Nonprofit Quarterly, there was an article that discussed the pros and cons of Executive Coaching in the nonprofit community, and we found some great information. In the article, ‘A Leader’s Guide to Executive Coaching’, author David Coleman states, “With time-strapped staff and a frequent dearth of role models to call on as mentors, nonprofits often struggle with providing the training necessary to address these challenges and are turning to outside help from executive coaches to build internal talent.” With the complexity of a job, it is natural that some extra training be provided – especially if you want to set up your leader for success.

Executive Coaching can provide your leaders and employees with some extra guidance on the best ways to manage tasks, other employees and volunteers, while at the same time striving to meet financial goals. There are several situations in which coaching is appropriate, and others when it is not. The article provided some of the following examples:

Coaching can help when:
• An employee’s responsibilities are shifting due to a change in the organization.
• An employee who has unreached potential. Some extra training can help get them through a slump.
• A new director is promoted and lacks one part of a skill set. For example, they may be great at increasing membership and donors, but not so great in front of the board.
• An old director that has lost his/her drive and passion for the cause.

Coaching probably won’t help when:
• An employee was put in a position they’re not qualified for.
• When an organization as a whole is in crisis.
• An honest conversation between a boss and the employee about the need for change has not previously occurred.
• When you believe you may eventually decide to fire the employee

Read the full article.