• Peter Gross

3 Ways My Nonprofit Coaching Will Help You Succeed at Work

Helping nonprofit leaders and professionals navigate career changes and opportunities is my passion because I understand their experiences. I’ve worked and consulted with nonprofit organizations for 30 years, and I’m uniquely familiar with the complexities of careers in the industry. I got into nonprofit coaching because nonprofit professionals need support in their career growth, and I have the skills and abilities to help individuals break down barriers and become more effective.


Here are three ways my coaching program will help nonprofit leaders and professionals succeed at work.


We Start with the Big Picture

Through our nonprofit coaching engagement, you will develop an informed and thorough understanding of your overall priorities in life. With those in mind, you can make educated choices about where to direct your efforts at work.


It can be challenging to look beyond your current situation when you are in the throes of your nonprofit career. While the preoccupation with the present is understandable–it’s what you’re dealing with and navigating in this very moment, after all–there are benefits to addressing the bigger picture of your life and career. That’s why, in my nonprofit coaching, we tackle the big picture before focusing on the details.


Concentrating energy and efforts on shorter-term solutions for your professional gaps (as you perceive them) is something I see often. These gaps are typically areas of concern that arise due to feedback or criticism from colleagues or supervisors based on their experiences and perspectives (not yours).


The problem with starting with a narrow focus rather than with the big picture is that it typically falls short of addressing in these three ways:

  • It doesn’t address our core needs.

  • It doesn’t address our larger goals or our life purposes.

  • We may be acting on the basis of someone else’s opinion of who we are and how we should proceed with our careers, instead of discovering what is right for us based on our own values and interests.

There is plenty of time for us to focus on the shorter-term or tactical fixes in my nonprofit coaching programs. But I work with clients to take a broader look at your life as a whole. We examine the many roles you have and the subsequent relationships that comprise them. This serves as a critical starting point to determine where to focus your coaching experience.

The first full session in our coaching engagement involves documenting each of those particular roles in your life. We discuss and evaluate your feelings about how effective you are in each role and then prioritize which roles to focus on and goals to establish for each of them. This process allows you to identify areas to work on that are achievable, that will create a beneficial impact in your life, and that motivate you.


You’ll Learn to Prioritize Learning from Both Success and Failure

Each step in my career has been filled with success as well as some spectacular failures. In my most recent career change, a coach and others helped me see challenges as learning and growth opportunities. This experience helped me get to a better place, where I am today.

"There is no innovation and creativity without failure. Period." ― Brene Brown

Many of us seek coaching when we are stuck or unsure how to create changes we need or want in our lives or careers. In my experience, people perceive their mistakes or missteps in life as unacceptable, even as failures. When we think we have failed, we judge ourselves or fear judgment from others, and are less likely to pursue opportunities for learning and progress. Yet, in science, history, math, sports, and other areas, we don’t expect people to be perfect. We allow for trial and error, effort, and growth.


Professional growth is about learning: it’s trying strategies and tactics to accomplish your work and finding what works well and what you can perhaps do better. Excelling in your career comes down to your ability to make informed decisions and learn from their outcomes, not from how many times you succeed or fail. If you can adopt the mindset that growth results from experimentation and learning vs. successes and failures, you can apply that concept to your career and be less concerned with failure and more so with what you can learn.


There is no judgment in my approach to nonprofit coaching. We create a safe space to try new things, expand your comfort zone, and develop an approach to learning and improvement that can serve you in every area of life. In our work together, every action you take to pursue your goals is an opportunity for experimenting and learning. I do not grade or judge your progress as if it were a test. In our goal setting, we’ll set action steps for you to take that you will learn to see as opportunities – not things that define you by “success” or “failure.”


I worked closely with a nonprofit information professional who was attempting to find more time in his day for the things that brought him professional growth and satisfaction. He also wanted to be able to set boundaries with staff in the departments he served. Over the course of three sessions, he identified ways in which he could reinforce boundaries with his customers by being explicitly clear about deadlines and the impact of missed ones. He was partially successful in this but still struggled to maintain the boundary.


We examined why, and he realized that while it was work for the other department, he had not built the case for the change with his supervisor. We built on the first task (improved communications) by engaging with his supervisor to (1) get her buy-in for the goal he was working toward and (2) engage her in helping to identify solutions based on her long experience with the organization and its personalities.


You Will Learn How to Create Lasting Habits

Brain science is central to my nonprofit coaching strategy: I received my coaching certification from the NeuroLeadership Institute (NLI) in their Brain-Based Coaching Certificate program and use tools and techniques that help my coaching clients create the nonprofit careers they dream of. This involves using the science of how our brains process goal setting, establish habits and communicate effectively to make impactful and positive life and career changes.


Establishing habits and routines that support your growth is essential to creating success at work. In my nonprofit coaching, we reference the Habit Formation Loop to understand how habits are created and maintained. Whether you are looking to establish a new positive habit or change a negative one, it is critical to focus on what trigger will spur the new behavior, what specifically the new behavior will be, and what the reward will be which reinforces the habit.


Making positive and productive habits part of your approach to work is an essential step to creating success in your career. As a nonprofit coaching client, I will work with you to set goals that support the vision you have for your life. By learning how to structure habits for yourself to encourage productive action through positive reinforcement, you can pave the way to accomplishing those goals and getting closer to creating your vision.



Are you approaching a change in your nonprofit career or navigating a new or challenging situation? Contact me to learn how my nonprofit coaching services will help you create a life and a career that fulfill your mission.



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