Excerpt from Part II: Change the World with Your Coaching
You probably spend more of your life working in your business or job than at any other single activity except sleeping. With so much of your time, energy, and focus devoted to your primary career, it is here that you can have the most impact on the world.
As a coach, you may have more opportunities than most to dedicate your professional time to world-changing pursuits. You can make positive change your full-time vocation, or design your business or job to include a focus on changemaking.
Either way, making intentional choices about how you coach, who you coach, and where you coach will significantly increase your contribution to making the world a better place.
17. Coach your clients about social responsibility.
Take a stand for social responsibility with your clients, just as you would for life balance or self-care.
Social responsibility is the ethical principle which holds that individuals and organizations have a responsibility to the society in which they exist. The emerging view of social responsibility goes beyond simply doing no harm; it requires giving back. When people or organizations benefit from society, social responsibility indicates they should reciprocate.
Introducing social responsibility into your coaching may seem as if you are intruding your own agenda. But in reality, coaches do have an agenda for their clients.
When you notice that clients are ignoring their work/life balance, you call it to their attention. If a client said he or she was doing something illegal, you would speak up. If you see clients harming themselves through substance abuse or ignoring their health, you address it. Why, then, would social responsibility be a taboo topic?
Consider these possibilities for bringing social responsibility into your coaching sessions:
- Ask your clients what values they hold about social responsibility and how they might like to address these during coaching.
- Notice when clients express concerns related to social responsibility and name what you see.
- Suggest social responsibility as an agenda item when coaching in organizations, or designing team coaching and strategic planning sessions.
The following resources suggest ways to address social responsibility with your clients:
“The Challenge of Global Leadership”
Keynote Address by Sir John Whitmore
“Coaching for Sustainability”
Case Study Series by Article 13 Group
“Going Green: Coaching for Social Responsibility”
Podcast from Insight Educational Consulting
“I increasingly find that issues of social responsibility have become material to many of the executives I coach. What was once considered peripheral is now central as businesses deal with dwindling resources, increasing commodity prices, and the difficulty of recruiting talent. This is a conversation that coaches need to be having, as it sets the macro context within which many of our clients are operating. They face change and complexity on an unprecedented scale. Are they able as leaders to step up into this complexity and be systemic in their decision making?”
— Neela Bettridge is a leadership coach and sustainability advisor in London, England. She is a founding partner of the CSR firm Article 13 and authors the sustainability blog Radical Shift.