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What Can a Client Expect from Pro Bono Coaching?

Posted by ICF Foundation | August 2, 2018 | Comments (0)

Sometimes, clients or potential clients may not always understand what you as a coach can offer them. Especially when working with nonprofit partners and non-governmental organizations (NGOs), where awareness and usage of coaching is lower, it can be hard to explain what exactly coaching can provide  for them. Pro bono coaching provides the nonprofit professional with new insights and expanded possibilities. It helps to build capacity for the organization and moves them toward goals they never thought possible.

If you’re a coach struggling to communicate the value of coaching with clients, begin by sharing some of the benefits and impacts of coaching, including:

  • Optimizing work performance
  • Expanding career opportunities
  • Increasing self-esteem
  • Maximizing potential
  • Improving business management strategies
  • Cultivating work/life balance

As an added resource, you can download, customize and share the Coaching Fact Sheet available in the ICF Foundation’s Ignite Resource Suite.

At the heart of it, coaching is a thought-provoking and creative process that can lead to maximized professional and personal potential. Share with your client how you can help them uncover the strategies and steps to move forward with their goals, whether for themselves, their organization or both. The success of any coaching engagement, especially a pro bono one that is intended to accelerate and amplify social progress, relies on the client’s understanding of their role in the process. Be sure to communicate that they are responsible for the commitment to achieve the agreed-upon action steps and for their own success.

Let your client know that it is ultimately up to them to:

  • Create a coaching agenda based on personally meaningful goals
  • Assume full responsibility for their own decisions and actions
  • Use the coaching process to promote possibility thinking and fresh perspectives
  • Engage big-picture thinking and problem-solving skills
  • Take the tools, concepts, models and principles provided by their coach and engage in effective forward actions

Often, the most valuable information you can share with someone who’s beginning the coaching journey—whether they’re a paid or pro bono coaching client—is a real-life coaching success story about coaching’s transformative impact on individuals, organizations and society. The ICF Foundation collects and shares some of these stories through our Gift of Coaching Awards program. We’re also gathering testimonials from clients who have received pro bono coaching through Ignite, our initiative designed to spark global societal change.

The work of ICF Chapters and coaches with Ignite projects around the world is just getting underway, but it’s already making a significant impact on coaching clients and their organizations. Consider this testimonial from an Ignite client: “This opportunity came along at a crucial time when I needed to make assessments to improve not only myself but the work environment. These sessions have been invaluable, and improvements have already been made through the applications of concepts learned in the Leadership Academy. In addition, one thing that has already happened is that I have been able to share some of what I have learned with others, which has changed their thought process and workflow.”

Whether you’re a Chapter Leader organizing an Ignite initiative, an ICF coach sharing your gifts through a pro bono project, or an entrepreneur working to build your coaching business, you have the power to demonstrate that coaching isn’t just for executives and for-profit leaders: It’s for anyone who’s open to learning and self-exploration with a desire to unlock their own potential.

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ICF Foundation

Established in 2004, the ICF Foundation exists to promote social progress through pro bono coaching, training and research. While a separate nonprofit entity from the International Coach Federation, the ICF Foundation is bonded in relationship with ICF Global to continue moving forward in igniting social progress. The Ignite: Engaging Humanity Through Education initiative is part of the ICF Foundation’s long-term strategy to advance social progress through coaching by aligning with the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals set forth by the United Nations. To learn more or to get involved with Ignite, please contact Ignite: Program Director Stephanie Keally at  

The views and opinions expressed in guest posts featured on this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions and views of the International Coach Federation (ICF). The publication of a guest post on the ICF Blog does not equate to an ICF endorsement or guarantee of the products or services provided by the author.

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