Coaching for Community Transformation FAQ
How did Coaching for Community Transformation begin?
Coaching for Community Transformation (CCT) was born in response to Leadership that Works’ long-time commitment to social justice and its desire to make the benefit and reach of coaching accessible to as many people as possible. We see CCT as a powerful resource to support social justice and community transformation so all people are able to enjoy more equitable and just communities.
What changes does CCT want to bring to the coaching profession?
In the early days of the coaching profession, clients were often corporate executives and professionals and their coaches were also from upper-middle-class backgrounds. This initial model of coaching promoted professional development and success. As a consequence, coaching was primarily a profession of and for those who already had power and privilege. We are committed to changing that. We realized early on that the model of training only professional coaches was not broad enough to achieve our vision for widespread reach and social change.
What is needed to realize CCT’s vision for coaching?
Five critical components are necessary to bring our vision for Coaching for Community Transformation into reality:
- Creating a model for training people from the community to be coaches that does not depend on them becoming professional coaches
- Prioritizing our own work as individuals and as an organization to embrace cultural diversity and awareness
- Sharing materials, lessons, research and contacts widely to make our work accessible to all
- Challenging the coaching profession to make cultural awareness work a priority and to train a more diverse pool of coaches that is equipped to appropriately serve a much wider coaching audience
- Listening to the community members, and working with them to incorporate their experience, wisdom and ideas about how to best use coaching skills in their community. We partner with the community to implement their vision for coaching-based support for community change
What happens when community service providers add coaching skills to their expertise?
We began our work by putting coaching skills into the hands of direct service providers such as case workers, counselors and family coaches who work one-to-one with community clients. We found when service providers add coaching skills to their existing expertise, they shift the way they work with clients.
Rather than fixing the problems for their clients, they shift their focus to the best way to support and help clients to define and achieve their own goals. This is sustainable, empowering change.
How does coaching affect the service provider?
When service providers are coached, there is often a shift in attitude about themselves in their jobs—discovering that they enjoy their work much more when they do not see themselves as responsible for solving everyone’s problems all the time.
As more and more community members and organizations add coaching skills to their tool box, we notice a coaching-based approach to service delivery becoming the norm. As coaching skills spread throughout a whole community, clients who seek services from multiple agencies are being supported from a common, client-centered, empowering, coaching-based service delivery model. This broadens the support for personal and community transformation.
In addition, when managers and directors take the coaching skills training with their staff, they jointly discover how to create a coaching culture within their organization. This coaching culture supports them in working collaboratively and in shifting their focus from problems to possibilities, creative action, accountability and achievement.
What has CCT learned from our work in communities?
The early experience with direct service providers was a microcosm of what we are now discovering about taking coaching deeper into communities. The horizon for community coaching has endless possibilities as each community begins to imagine and explore how coaching skills can support the change they wish to create.
Leadership that Works is at the forefront of this innovative and cutting-edge work. We are bringing culturally-aware coaching into groups, neighborhoods and organizations that are committed to enhancing the quality of life for all people in their community.
Can you give concrete examples of projects that use community coaching?
Coaching projects our CCT faculty are supporting and exploring with community partners include:
- Leadership development initiatives – Coaching support for leaders who are not well-represented and supported as well as non-positional or grassroots leaders.
- Issues-based work – Coaching and coaching skills training to support targeted community issues such as immigration reform, early childhood education, teenage mothers, or coaching support for implementation of ongoing racial equity and cultural awareness work in communities. In issues-based work, we look at how to support the folks on the ground who are leading that work – giving them the coaching skills to support each other in integrating and implementing what they are learning in other community change initiatives.
- Coaching for Community Transformation Certification (CCTC) – Training that equips people to use coaching skills to strengthen their communities and their leaders in the community, and which provides community-wide coaching support as part of the community application of coaching requirement. Students in this training provide approximately 1000 hours of coaching to a variety of community partners. This is a model for communities who choose to invest in having their own community members trained to support the community as Certified Community Coaches.
- Coaching skills integration in schools – Coaching and coaching skills training for teachers and administrators to support collaboration, engagement (student, teachers, parents/guardians), shifts in the ways of viewing each other, and discovering creative and innovative solutions to energy-draining problems.
- Innovation applications of coaching – National “Test Kitchen for Innovation in Coaching” in which Leadership that Works faculty members and other coaches share how they using coaching and coach training in innovative ways by integrating coaching practices into their organizations and initiatives. The group is sharing best practices, funding strategies, and evaluation support to generate data to support further work.
- Replicable Coach Training Models - Joint effort with community partners to develop replicable coaching training models as a support for other communities interested in implementing similar strategies in their communities.
What types of individuals seek CCT training?
Leadership that Works provides Coaching for Community Transformation (CCT) training to a variety of community members and groups: nonprofit leaders, nonprofit and government service providers, executives, consultants, educators, community organizers, community residents, board members, and volunteers.
CCT trainees have come from organizations working on community and economic development, affordable housing, financial asset building, workforce development, early childhood and youth development, as well as human service agencies, and social justice organizations, school districts and community initiatives.
How does coaching in communities work?
It depends on your needs. Coaching in communities is taking many forms:
- Staff at various levels in an organization receive coaching skills training and begin to speak a common language, listen deeply, support one another, and align to create a coaching culture resulting in creative ideas exchange, collaborative problem solving, enhanced communication and more engagement with their stakeholders.
- Direct service providers integrate a coaching approach into the service delivery model of their organization and begin to work in partnership with their clients. This client-focused, empowerment partnership supports clients in designing their own pathways to move toward their dreams – creating both a vision and a plan to achieve them.
- CCT Certified Coaches can support the community in formal ways by providing one-on-one or group coaching for youth, educators, families, co-workers, agency clients, board members, leaders and other residents. They can use their coaching skills to enhance facilitation or participation in meetings, strategic planning sessions, and mediation of different opinions or difficult conversations. Community coaches can ensure that the assets and resourcefulness of everyone involved in community projects can be appreciated, seen, heard and utilized towards achieving a community’s goals.
- Inter-organization collaboratives, alliances and initiatives can significantly improve communication and collaboration by aligning commitments and providing a framework with a common language and tools to undergird the work of the groups involved.
- Leadership development programs, civic involvement, political advocacy, and diversity, inclusion and cultural awareness programs - CCT coaching trainees report they are able to more effectively put the skills from other trainings into practice by applying their coaching skills. CCT contributes to this by enhancing self-awareness and confidence, and by providing skills for supporting effective and collaborative partnerships, as well as skills for establishing accountability.
Possibilities are limited only by the creativity and resourcefulness of inspired community members.
OK, I’m interested in bringing coaching to my community. What else do I need to consider?
Leadership that Works may ask you some of the following questions to help you think about what is possible for your organization and/or community:
- What is possible if coaching runs in the background through a whole community?
- How can you couple coaching skills with systems change in the community?
- How can coaching skills training support and impact various interest groups in your community? For example:
What is possible if parents are trained in coaching skills?
What impact is possible if coaching skills were taught in languages other than English to include those leaders and community members who are often left out?
- How can you experiment with using coaching with issues that cut across agencies and interest groups in your community?
That’s it. I’m ready. How can I bring CCT to my organization, school, and/or community?
We look forward to discussing how coaching skills training and coaching may support your local needs. Your vision for enhanced connection, engagement, communication and collaboration in your local organizations, schools and community will serve as the basis for what may be possible as people in your area learn coaching skills. Call or email Leslie Brown at 734-678-3017 for more information.
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