The Path I Took to Leadership Coaching

by | May 12, 2022 | Leadership Coaching

It was 2015. No one had heard of Covid-19. 

I left a lucrative job, quit working for someone else’s fundraising consulting firm, and decided to open my own firm. 

Potential clients were calling me directly, asking me to work with them and guide them on how to raise more money. My first client hired me to conduct a board training to energize and inspire her board to help raise more for their organization.

I had spent almost 20 years as a fundraiser and a consultant on large-scale capital campaigns. I enjoyed the work, but I realized that instead of hitting a specific fundraising goal, I was most interested in helping nonprofit leaders achieve more and find more satisfaction in their work.

Helping leaders achieve more

I loved helping them work through the challenges and opportunities that come with being a nonprofit leader.

I cared about them as people, as leaders, and as professionals. 

I had spent 10 years supporting nonprofit leaders by teaching fundraising courses and helping fundraisers earn their CFRE certification. I cared about their professional development.

Then two years ago, I attended a virtual training session through the Association of Fundraising Professionals. Kim Ades of Frame of Mind Coaching spoke on how leaders think during a crisis. 

It resonated with me. Everything she said clicked, including:

  • how your thinking affects decision making and performance under stressful conditions
  • the three thinking strategies that top leaders use when faced with adversity
  • how to deal with debilitating thinking traps

There was so much uncertainty during the early days of Covid, and leaders were finding that it was challenging to keep their team feeling motivated, productive, and secure.

I discovered thinking strategies that the most successful leaders use during challenging times and took a deep look at my own thinking to figure out how it was affecting my results both personally and professionally.

Nonprofit leaders didn’t necessarily need more training from me on specific fundraising techniques. There are plenty of places to get that.

I had a vision

What they needed was a wholly unique way of looking at their own performance and the performance of their team. 

I knew the struggles they were facing. I understood the challenges faced by nonprofit leaders because I had faced those same challenges for more than 20 years.

What motivated me was not the big dollar signs I could help them raise. Hitting and exceeding campaign goals was great, but it was a short-lived satisfaction. What really excited me was the relationships — the ability to help change the life of a single nonprofit executive through coaching, one person at a time. 

Providing support and structure

These leaders needed support and structure. Someone who could help them unlock the strengths they already had. Someone who valued and respected them and held them in the most positive light, believing in their skills as a leader. Someone who believed in the capacity of these high achievers to achieve even more.

That training by Kim was part of a deep transformation for me. In a three-hour session and the one-on-one coaching that followed, she helped me transform my life and discover a new purpose in executive coaching. 

Several colleagues shared that I was a person who cared deeply and genuinely about them and their development, that I listened and brought my authentic self into our conversations. I focused intently on them and their needs and didn’t just skim the surface in our conversations.

That was part of refining this vision of being a tool for nonprofit leaders and being in their lives in meaningful and profound ways. To not just be in a kind of relationship where we complained about boards or special events or funders, but to be in relationships and conversations that had a lasting impact. 

Lonely at the top

It can be lonely as a CEO or top director. There aren’t many people you can confide in. You may not have an open, supportive relationship with your board chair.

Wherever you are in your career as a leader, executive coaching can help you achieve your goals. Through one-on-one coaching, I help you align your thinking with where you want to go. It’s your thinking and your beliefs that drive your performance and determine your results. By examining your thinking, you can make positive changes that will lead to better outcomes.

Executive coaching can benefit CEOs, executive directors, and senior professionals who want to lead their team, reach even higher levels of success, and find meaning, peace, joy, and satisfaction along the way.

Start your journey by connecting with me on LinkedIn or via Facebook.