Excerpt from Part I: Change the World as a Citizen, Employee, or Business Owner
First and foremost, coaches are citizens of their communities, countries, and the planet we all share. The majority of us are independent business owners, while others work within organizations as employees.
Each of these roles gives us many opportunities to change the world. When we act to make a difference as a citizen, employee, or business owner, we are serving as role models to our clients and our communities. “Walking our talk” in this way allows us to be more effective coaches, leaders, and changemakers in any sphere we choose.
1. Offer a portion of your coaching services pro bono.
Give the gift of coaching to deserving people and organizations who can’t afford to pay.
Not everyone who could benefit from coaching can afford it. People and organizations who are disadvantaged, at-risk, or doing good work in the world may need coaching the most, but be least able to pay for it. Your coaching can make a powerful contribution to the planet if you commit to giving some of it away.
As a whole, coaches probably give away more of their professional time than people in most other fields. But, they don’t always have a clear design for this pro bono work. They may be coaching people for free who could actually afford to pay a fee. And, some self-employed coaches may be giving away too much coaching for the health of their own businesses.
Make a plan for your pro bono coaching.
- Designate a percentage of your coaching time that you’re willing to provide at no charge. This gives you both a goal to strive for and an upper limit to keep your altruistic tendencies under control.
- Decide who you would most like to benefit from your pro bono work. Select a target market to serve, just as you would to pursue paying clients.
- Reach out to people and organizations in the market you’ve chosen, offering coaching for free, with no strings attached. Be proactive rather than reactive to find the pro bono clients you most desire.
Look for opportunities to offer pro bono coaching through organizations like these:
The Coach Approach
The Coach Initiative
International Coach Federation Foundation
Women for Change Coaching Community
“I’m a passionate evangelist of pro bono coaching because I dream of a worldwide ‘coaching culture,’ where most people have basic coaching skills, conversations are supportive and respectful, and having a coach is as common as having a dentist. I recommend offering the gift of coaching not only to those who cannot pay, but to executives and thought leaders. Once they experience coaching, they become coaching advocates for themselves, their organizations, their families, and society.”
— Ruth Ann Harnisch, president of the Harnisch Foundation in New York, NY, has directed millions in grants to coaching-related philanthropies.