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The Importance of Finding a Tribe as a Coach

Posted by Sarah Greenberg | October 10, 2019 | Comments (1)

You had the vision. You did the work. And now your dream of serving others through coaching is a reality. Whether you’re just starting out or have been coaching for years, there’s something really special about building and nurturing your own practice.

However—as many solopreneurs (single-entity entrepreneurs) will tell you—even when the work is at its most rewarding, it can get lonely, too.

See, as a coach, you help people every day live their best lives, and that often includes helping them find their tribe. But what about you? Private practice can be isolating. It’s no wonder why the importance of creating community is a key conversation within coaching circles. But as coaches, we know that intention must be supported by action in order to create the changes we wish to see.

Here’s Why Community Matters

Isolation and loneliness are reason enough to reach out to your fellow coaches, but when you are part of something bigger than yourself—when you feel that sense of belonging and connection—you’re set up for a more holistic kind of success.

You’re more effective. You’re more productive. And, ultimately, you just feel better and more aligned with your passion and your purpose. Decades of research support the notion that we are wired for connection, and without it we falter.

For example, in a recent BetterUp study, The Value of Belonging at Work: New Frontiers for Inclusion, we found individuals who feel a strong sense of belonging, compared to individuals with a low sense of belonging, demonstrate a 56% increase in performance.

In our research on meaning and purpose at work, we found that individuals who share a strong sense of collective purpose and social support, see dramatic increases in personal and professional growth, balance and inspiration.

With findings like these, it’s easy to see why one of the core ICF values is collaboration—the benefits of social connection and community cannot be overstated.

And you don’t need research to tell you that being the best coach possible depends on connection. A community of coaches offers us a chance to get vital feedback from our peers, as well as new perspectives, insights and inspiration.

A diverse community is the strongest way to ensure we’re not unconsciously living in our own echo chambers, and so much more.

Sounds Great, but How Can You Make Community Happen?

The importance of finding your tribe is of course not a novel idea. However, some things are easier said than done, and actually figuring out how to find your community can be the hardest part. Here are three ideas to get you started:

1. Practice, Practice, Practice

As coaches, we know folks can get caught in a rut. If you’re out of practice making professional connections, look for micro opportunities to connect.

For example, challenge yourself to talk to three new people a day. It can be anybody. If you’re ordering coffee, ask the barista how their day is (and mean it). When you’re at the market, point out something you admire in the person helping you (e.g., “You’re so organized”).

The goal here is to develop the habit of connecting, then you can extend this to coaches as well.

2. Join a Group

One of the best—and easiest—ways to find your tribe is to join a group. There are so many terrific local or online coaching communities out there, from LinkedIn to Facebook to Forbes Coaches Council (which I recently joined myself).

Do a search, find a group, get involved and see what happens. Cross-cultural groups are particularly helpful for gaining new and diverse perspectives.

3. Reach Out

The simple act of reaching out has great power. When you join a group, offer feedback, send an affirming note to a colleague, or make time for a peer, you are actively saying “We’re all in this together.” That confirmation of belonging—no matter how small it might feel on its own—is the good stuff of which community is created.

What Works for You?

After years of private practice, I feel so fortunate to have found my growing tribe of practitioners through my work at BetterUp. I love the autonomy, rigor, and meaning within my work, but need a community to truly thrive. As a busy working parent, I’ve achieved this through trial and error, slowly identifying the strategies that are both effective and viable within the confines of time and space. I suspect many of you feel the same way, and I’d love to hear about the strategies that are working for you!

sarah greenberg headshot

Sarah Greenberg

Sarah Greenberg is a Harvard-educated licensed psychotherapist and leadership coach with a passion for scalable programs, products and interventions that promote the betterment of the human condition. She currently serves as Lead Coach and Program Design Lead at BetterUp, where she focuses on developing transformational programs and accessible content grounded in the latest behavioral science research. Greenberg’s leadership focused writing has been featured in national outlets such as Fast Company, Inc., Quartz, Business Insider, and Forbes.

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.

Comments (1)

  1. Damayanthi Hewage says:

    Dear Sarah,
    Thank you for writing this article behalf of all coaches . This likely writing for me. I am a new coach from Sri Lanka. Since I had to finished my HR Manager position 11 months ago due to office closed down I just started practice coaching connected a plenty of fb coaching groups and individuals as peer coach . As a result of a my post on ICF coaching think tank one person from Chennai ,India invited me to join with their chapter – ICF Chennai Chapter too. Now we are meeting on zoom and doing peer coaching practice and mentor session too. Also I am working with peer coaches from USA, Kenya , Doha quatar, Pakistan and India . Its an amazing learning experience .
    But I still feel like I am stuck than working joining for a organization . I need to get unstuck . I am looking for that .
    Damayanthi Hewage
    0094769221211
    Sri Lanka

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