TRANSITIONS

Community, Power and Old Stories; How Coaching Supported my Transformation

People ask me all the time; What makes Coaching for Transformation different from other coaching schools? There are some obvious answers such as; we focus on the role institutional oppression plays in personal transformation, we have a diverse and seasoned faculty in both Coaching Competencies and Social Change work, and we offer coaching programs around the globe from New York to the Bay; from India to LA and in community organizations, corporations, and even prisons. But you probably already know all that. I’d like to share some of what personally moved me about my experience as an emerging coach in training in 2011, prior to becoming faculty. One of the first areas of inquiry I embarked on as a student of coaching, was needs and values. (All the “skills” of coaching are taught through immediate application to one’s own life). While reflecting on my needs and values, I realized how
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The Pitfalls of Praise; Originally Published in the Stanford Social Innovation Review

The original publication can be accessed here. Most nonprofit and social impact leaders share a belief in the positive potential of human beings. We seek to alleviate suffering and lift up the good in people. We advocate, champion, and care for the needs of others. So why don’t more of our workplaces reflect these core values and beliefs? While our purpose in the sector is to empower others, we aren’t immune to limiting beliefs that permeate our educational and economic systems, namely “there isn’t room at the top for all of us.” This is an example of “scarcity thinking,” and without even realizing it, many managers in the social impact sector are steeped in it. Scarcity thinking is an attitude based on a false assumption of limited and finite resources. Lynne Twist elaborates in her book, The Soul of Money: “When we believe there is not enough, that resources are scarce, then
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How to Make a Vision Board; For Skeptics and Believers

A vision board is a powerful (and fun) way to bring our deepest yearnings to life.  Creating a vision board is a great activity to undertake, during the first month of the New Year especially. Skepticism I was first introduced to vision boards in my non-profit community development work back in the 90s, and honestly, I wasn’t that into it.  As a community development trainer, I would ask people to imagine their ideal community; safe, vibrant, healthy, etc. and then in groups, people would cut out images from magazines and use other crafty materials, to design their Utopian community. It felt like a waste of time.  Everyone already knew what an ideal community was “supposed” to have in it, so the activity revealed nothing new, it was just a reminder of how far from ideal many communities I was working with at the time, felt. The Receptive Process In 2011,
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Grieving After the Elections; Tips for Leaders

Many of my clients have asked me some version of this over the last week; “I know our organization needs to grieve this giant loss and hurt, to process the results of the elections, but I am in such a state of despair, I don’t know where to start.” After careful thought, support from my mentors and peers to process my own emotions, as well as some research, here are a few suggestions. First and foremost make a public statement of support for those who are now being targeted. If you are in a leadership position in your organization, bring your staff together and share with them out-loud, in person (and follow up in writing), that your organization is committed to fighting for, standing with, and protecting people of color, women and girls, immigrants regardless of legal status, those of the Muslim faith or Islamic background, and those of LGBT
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Transforming Guilt

Guilt.  I hear about it all the time.  Guilt is like an obnoxious neighbor that you wish would just move away, but is there spying on you from the window next door, catching you at an uncomfortably vulnerable moment. I’ve spent a lot of time with guilt. And a lot of time turning away from guilt.  Having grown up white, middle class with a stable family, there are countless ways my life has been substantially easier than many of my friends, neighbors, classmates, or the vast majority of people in the world, for that matter.  Early in my life, I felt guilty about my privilege.  But I was taught by more mature activist allies that guilt was to be avoided and overcome at all costs. Guilt makes you lazy and causes you to focus on alleviating the guilt rather than on taking responsible action.  That was how I was schooled. So
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