Join The Coach Initiative Disaster Response Team

cc8ff6b1-a9e3-4ee4-9069-28f86d5f81a7 Harvey Photo
Photo: San Antonio Express-News
Join Our Cause
The Coach Initiative (TCI) is seeking coaches with experience in crisis coaching or any experienced Coaches willing to share their expertise.  Professional Coaches are trained to support individuals to make important choices and take meaningful action in all circumstances.  Recent local and global situations provide a huge opportunity for TCI and the Coaching Profession to step forward and make a powerful impact on the lives of those affected.

TCI is building an immediate response team to support the needs of nonprofits and/or communities experiencing recent hurricanes and disasters. If you would like to be part of our special crisis response team, please email your most recent bio & headshot to our Program Coordinator Laurie Milazzo:
Please mention Crisis Response Team in the subject line.

Compassionate Actions


It has to start with ourselves. Watching or listening to the news can be so discouraging, leaving many of us asking what can be done? And we all know the answer: plenty!

There’s a reason I opened with this photo. If there were ever a natural disaster that struck my part of the country, the first action I’d take would be to ensure the safety of my two Black Labs. Period. They’re that valuable to me. Yet when nature casts her wrath, people lose not only what they most treasure but sometimes, everything.

Most of us consider ourselves to be compassionate. A dictionary defines compassion as the “sorrow for suffering of others,” and “the urge to help.” While this definition identifies compassion as feeling or desire, I am convinced that being truly compassionate is found more in the actions that result from those feelings – compassionate actions.

Compassionate actions begin with the love we have for ourselves and for others. It manifests itself in our kindness, patience, and willingness to act to relieve the pain of others. It also manifests in the empathy we feel for others and their experiences or conditions.

We can know if we are expressing truly compassionate action by two characteristics: The first is the detachment from the results of our actions. You and I act because action is needed from our connection to other human beings and our sense of the value of that connection. We act from compassion without a desire for recognition or appreciation for our actions.

The second characteristic is to extend to all, regardless of race, religion, culture or status. True compassion responds to the suffering condition wherever and to whomever it is occurring. It doesn’t have preconditions.

Compassionate actions challenge us to be human beings first. These actions provide us the opportunity to experience human connection while providing a perspective on life and clarifying what matters most or ought to matter most. This isn’t about common volunteering, everyday generosity or doing a daily kind deed. This is rooted in who we are at our core and what we automatically do when others are in need.

You don’t need a “S” on your chest.

Two questions to consider: Family members aside, what is the first “thing” you’d rush to save in a natural or man-made disaster and; When was the last time you performed noteworthy compassionate action?

Why Wishes Matter


Wishes change lives. Make-A-Wish gets involved during some of the darkest moments in a child’s life and creates an incredible, life-changing experience that gives them hope, gives them strength, gives them (and all of us) inspiration.

A wish is important. Research has proven that wish kids not only feel better emotionally after a wish, but sometimes, they even get better.

A wish is a powerful and necessary part of a child’s treatment. Wishes don’t just happen. Make-A-Wish relies on community support to continue granting wishes and making life better for seriously ill children.

Make-A-Wish is the nation’s largest wish-granting organization. It has fulfilled the wishes of more than 285,000 children in the United States since 1980. Headquartered in Phoenix, Make-A-Wish serves every U.S. community through its 62 chapters.


Zoe’s Wish to Redesign a Hospital’s Playroom

In 2016, The Coach Initiative (TCI) partnered with Make-A-Wish America to provide pro-bono Coaching for several of the organization’s leaders. By aligning highly experienced Coaches with members of Make-A-Wish’s Leadership Team, TCI not only supports the amazing Make-A-Wish Mission, it helps its leaders to become even more effective at what they already do so well. 

The synergies between TCI and Make-A-Wish are magical. Their Mission’s speak to similar goals: Make-A-Wish grants the wishes of children with life-threatening medical conditions to enrich the human experience with hope, strength and joy. TCI looks to a future where every non-profit organization with the purpose of making a positive impact in the world has the support of a professional coach to enhance their contribution toward safer, healthier, happier, more productive global citizenry and the protection and care of our planet.

For examples of wishes Make-A-Wish grants, consider visiting their website. It includes dozens of wish stories from every wish category.

TCI is honored and privileged to partner with this incredible organization.

Legacy + Leadership = ?

Legacy is a word often associated with leadership. How do you define legacy? It’s a word we hear buzzing around bookstores and TV talk shows. It was originally thought to imply the fortune, or lack thereof, that one would leave behind for his or her heirs. Today it signifies what people are known for, how they are remembered after their passing. What if you were living your legacy now? Legacy in leadership is about living your legacy, not just leaving it.

Living your legacy means making a dedicated investment now, in the better future of others. This isn’t about money, financial investment or material wealth and capital building. Legacy Leadership is not about building things – it’s about building people. It is investing your time, your energy, your competencies and your interest and concern in individuals who then share what they have learned with others, maximizing the return on your investment (and the investment of those who place you in leadership positions).

This simple formula for human investment is applicable to every area of life – family, community, and business. In a basic sense, a leader is one who shows the way, who escorts or guides others. A Legacy Leader guides others into a better future – into being better, doing better, and leading better. When our leadership is framed in terms of legacy rather than leaps up the corporate ladder, our best selves are offered to others in order to develop their best selves and so on – leaving a multi-generational imprint – a living legacy – at home, in the community, and in the business world.

And the interesting thing about all this is that those who focus on others, who live their legacy now, are generally the leaders who shine – and produce another generation of shining lights.

With thanks to guest author Dr. Jeannine Sandstrom

Photo credits: Google images – ‘legacy’

The Gratitude of Leaders

There is often an extraordinary isolation that a leader in a large or medium size organizations experience.  As a coach, I have heard the recurring comment. “I am so glad to have someone I can talk to who is outside my organization.” They go on to say that they appreciate the opportunity to air and consider difficult decisions and or challenges.  An external coach who understands the demands facing a client can make a real difference.  Leaders often express a feeling of isolation or having no one they can ask to help with important decisions.  A good coach removes the isolation and becomes a safe and informed space for communication and problem solving.

It can be  “lonely at the top” for a number of reasons.  Colleagues vying for your position, difficult and unpleasant decisions that must be made to cut costs and, legal and ethical barriers for talking about “confidential” information may affect the organization. For all of these reasons and more, a wise leader will want and demand a safe external coach to work  through what is on his or her plate.

Increasing complexity and rapid change make it imperative for great leaders to have access to great coaches.

Special thanks to Coach Phyllis Haynes for guest authoring this post.

What’s It Like To Be a TCI Coach?

Until we identify a volunteer Coach to administer this blog, we are inviting members of TCI’s Board of Directors to share random thoughts… a bit of their personal perspectives. Each of these ten individuals are amazingly accomplished in their own right, though some profess to have little or no blogging experience. And quite frankly, this latter point is unimportant. What matters is their unwavering commitment to TCI and its service-based mission and success.

Thus, with this introduction, the following contribution:

I want to share with you my personal experience as a TCI Coach. In my coaching career, I have coached literally hundreds of clients from all walks of life, with a myriad of reasons for becoming a coaching client. As a TCI Coach, I have been paired with several interesting clients who are working in non-profit organizations doing wonderful work to positively impact our world.

It has been one of my favorite professional experiences to support these particular clients to become more efficient, more effective, and better able to communicate as stronger directors/managers/leaders. In addition, they are more content, more self-aware, and less likely to burn out from lack of self-care. “Well”, you ask, “don’t you support all of your clients to accomplish those types of goals and growth?” The answer is, Yes! – AND, the distinction is that my coaching with TCI clients has allowed me, through the ‘pebble in the pond’ effect, to gift my professional expertise specifically to make a difference where it is often most needed.

Shifting to a personal example:

There are times when I am shocked at the state of my office and desk (like now) and because I am sharing my thoughts, I feel compelled to use You, dear reader, as an accountability nudge. I am going to throw everything into the middle of the room and carefully go through each piece and clean up my act! That is always my desperation activity: create more chaos to move toward simplicity.

Please note that, unlike some world leaders, I am fully aware that some of this content may be boring, inappropriate, or of no interest to anyone and Lord knows the grammar and style are a bit frightening. Still, my hope is that you will read past and future posts written by wonderful writers about some meaningful topic; that you will each have a spectacular summer filled with sparkling, sunny experiences and; that you will never forget your sunscreen. 🙂

credits: Google images (professional coaching)

Memorable Gathering in Montreal

The Coach Initiative’s (TCI) amazing growth, global successes and vast potential is aligned with many communities and organizations including Conversation Among Masters (CAM).

Each May, CAM hosts an invitation-only conference, open to Master Coaches and other remarkable high achievers from all backgrounds, from all over the world. Seeing the value in connections, conversations, collaborations and deeper relationships, TCI has partnered with CAM, as a sponsor since its inception more than a decade ago.

CAM ’17 was held at the beautiful Chateau Vaudreuil in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. And for 3.5 glorious days, attendees reveled in genuinely meaningful exercises, learning and small group interaction led by the iconic author and Master Coach, Jack Canfield and President of Jack Canfield Companies, Patty Aubery.

CAMsters (as participants are affectionately known) were also privileged to share a morning with Nelson Dellis, a man with an amazing story, personal accomplishments and a powerful advocate for a noble cause. Check out the above link to Nelson’s website for more information about his journey and mission.

This brief post would not be complete without mentioning that TCI raised more money and awareness at CAM ’17, given the commitment of TCI Board member Phyllis Haynes who staffed the TCI Sponsor Table throughout the conference. Phyllis was instrumental in signing up more volunteer coaches to serve TCI’s mission than at any previous CAM event.

Our warmest thanks to Jack, Patty, Nelson, Phyllis and all who attended for making TCI’s presence in Montreal truly significant.

photo credits:

It’s Good to Be Back!

I am not one of the three people you see above. Yet, as we resume posting to this blog, it is important that our readers recognize these faces.

Eleven years ago The Coach Initiative (TCI) was founded by (l-r) Donna Steinhorn, Guy Stickney and Bobette Reeder. It was (and remains) their vision that has guided our team, that has inspired hundreds of volunteer Coaches and that ignites our powerful potential – to be in service to leaders of non-profit organizations worldwide.

None of these three visionaries seek the limelight. They prefer to (and do) encourage from the background. They may not even appreciate my highlighting them here but I’m authoring this post and want readers to understand who laid TCI’s foundation. 🙂

TCI recognizes the need for and importance in keeping our constituencies informed. One of the themes that TCI adopted this year is to: “Educate, Inform and Inspire.” Not surprisingly, part of our broadened messaging plan is to post regularly to advance this theme. We warmly invite and encourage you to subscribe and to share your comments, often. After all, we can always get better at what we do with your input.

Over the next few months look for frequent posts from a variety of authors. Each are valued members of the TCI Community who have unique perspectives on the work TCI does. In due course, we will engage a colleague to manage this blog and to serve as its primary author. We will also flavor what you read here with guest contributors.

Thank you for having us back into this blogging family. We look forward to sharing meaningful tools, valuable insights and amazing stories with each of you.

photo credit: / image credit:

Scarcity or Abundance: It’s a Mindset

Undoubtedly the most challenging task that nonprofit leaders have, is fundraising. Unrealistic expectations from the board create enormous pressure.  Unpredictable external forces influence organizations’ ability to reach financial goals. Leaders often feel stranded and alone.

Carol Dweck, author of Mindset, describes two types of mindset.  First, there is the fixed mindset that is risk averse and impedes development.  Second is the growth mindset that is motivated and generative.

Let’s consider a mindset of scarcity as a fixed mindset while a mindset of abundance is a growth mindset.

A scarcity mindset is anchored in the past of learned and false assumptions.  Maybe a parent was unable to support her family resulting in overwhelming fear. Perhaps tragedy and loss led to hopelessness.

How is does this dynamic play out in fund development? What does a mindset of scarcity look sound like?

  • “We better get to that funder before our competition does.”
  • “If only our board would lead by example and give and get.”
  • “We’re going to have make an exception in receiving the gift from Mr. and  Mrs.  Jones.  Even though it doesn’t fit our mission,” we need the money.

This mindset breeds a sense of being powerless and, in some cases, hopeless or desperate.

How Coaching Helps Leaders to Develop an Abundance Mindset

  • Coaching develops self-awareness and the ability to challenge assumptions of what we need and what we have.
  • Coaches create a safe and non-judgmental place to begin to make the shift.
  • Coaching encourages observation of the evidence of abundance.
  • The coach and coachee co-create practices of gratitude. 

Feeling scarcity breeds passivity and inertia while a mindset of abundance is active. It is more than a state of mind; it is a practice.

One can be in scarcity or one can live in abundance.

Organizational Awareness and Strategic Visioning

The coach and coachee create of a new map, a new journey. Coaching supports a leader’s ability to develop a personal vision propelled by curiosity, possibility and creativity.  From this new perspective, the leader can a build boards and their members to:

  • Be aware of individual and collective mindsets.
  • Adopt a growth mindset
  • Engage in strategic visioning

In this way, boards will secure financial stability and increase the organization’s growth potential.

Change is scary business for many boards. Transitioning takes time and is sometimes a painful process.

A coach is the voice of encouragement helps leaders to initiate a new conversation.

  • Instead of: “How are we going to right a sinking ship?” To…“How can we chart uncharted waters?”


  • Instead of: “We need to compete with other organizations for the money.” To…“How can we leverage our internal and external resources? How can we collaborate with other organizations who may be serving the same population?”


  • Instead of: “We have to take what we can get and risk mission creep.” To…Are we in alignment with our strategic vision?


“How can we become a storytelling culture that creates an organizational vision?  How can we go from transactional fundraising to transformational philanthropy?”


How do you practice gratitude?  We’d love to hear from you!



Editor:  G. Meredith Betz , M.S. Ed.; MSOD


Nonprofit Leaders Out the Door in Three Years.  Leadership Coaching Can Stem the Tide

Non Profit word cloud collage concept, presentation background

Why is leadership attrition so high in the nonprofit industry?  Nonprofit top and potential leaders are switching organizations after brief stints.  The root problem is lack of opportunity for leadership development.

Support for current leaders is vitally important.  Considering that soon we will have a wave of new leaders, many of them Millennials, development programs are critical to their leading healthy organizations.  While a study by Deloitte refers to for profit workers, the same could apply to nonprofit employees.

More than 70 percent of employees want to be creative at work; and more than two-thirds believe it is management’s job to provide them with accelerated development opportunities in order for them to stay.6

The Bridgespan Group writes that nonprofit leadership development programs require financial resources, but because of limited funds, boards are choosing to designate such programs, including leadership coaching, to the bottom of the list.

At the same time, nonprofit leaders face many issues, some of which are specific to the industry.  In a recent article, Forbes listed five challenges these leaders face.

  1.  Being comfortable with receiving help
  2.  Being coachable
  3.  Balancing innovation and productivity
  4.  Having inconclusive deadlines
  5.  Working with complex models, (including funding priorities and balancing the  needs of internal and external constituents)

The pressure to raise funds, lead effective boards and highly productive teams is enormous.  Support through coaching provides them with the tools for professional development and maintaining personal well being.

The Center for Nonprofit Management cites the 5 reasons why nonprofit professionals want coaching: 

  1.  To optimize individual and/or team performances
  2.  To expand professional career opportunities
  3.  To improve business management strategies
  4.  To Increase self-confidence
  5.  To manage work/life balance

Compass Point, dedicated to social impact, provides nonprofit leadership programs and coaching and works with organizations like Next Generation Leaders of Color Program.  The Bridgespan Group, a leader in improving the performance of social service organizations provides coaching as well.

Because many nonprofits can’t afford coaching, there are organizations who provide probono coaching.

The North Carolina Center for Nonprofits offers free coaching on a limited basis.  Taproot and The Coach initiative  also provide no cost coaching to eligible organizations.


G. Meredith Betz is the editor of the Coach Initiative blog.  She is an organizational consultant and executive coach for nonprofit and for profit organizations.