I want to talk about a special person in many of our lives—an Executive Director. Executive Directors of nonprofit organizations give so much and extend so much good to the world. Yet they are often stretched thin without enough support. Often, there isn’t anyone to share their unique struggles with–who truly understands and can help. I have been in their shoes, and I can tell you they often walk a surprisingly lonely path. However, there’s something you can do to help.
As the CEO, some Executive Directors are reluctant to let others know they are struggling, for fear they will lose the confidence of their Board. Some have been promoted to their position because they are very knowledgeable about the organization’s programs, but they don’t yet possess all of the skills needed to become a highly effective E.D. Some are hired because they have proven fundraising skills, despite never having held the top job in an organization before. Some leaders become an Executive Director because they are the founder, and they do a great job when the organization is small, but they are very challenged when the organization grows, and it’s time to take the organization to the next level. In today’s world, it can be difficult to find a qualified candidate for the E.D. job, especially if your organization is small, and some Boards have to make the difficult decision on who to hire out of a list of candidates who don’t have the experience they are seeking in a CEO.
In each of these cases, the Executive Director can use the help of a coach to support and guide them. An Impact Coach can give your Executive Director the support they need by listening, asking probing questions, and then guiding them through the process of seeking solutions to the problems they and their organization face. The Impact Coach can help the E.D. set goals, direct them to resources, troubleshoot, and provide practical solutions. We have Impact Coaches with various specialties, from capacity building and fundraising to governance and communications, so that an Executive Director can choose one or more areas of focus.
Leaders in the public and private sectors know that executive coaching can be a game-changer for them, and this is just as true for nonprofit leaders. Show your Executive Director how much you believe in them and want to help by investing in coaching services.