The Personal Benefits of Giving
“Only by giving are you able to receive more than you already have” – Jim Rohn
Scientific research provides data to support the idea that we gain personal growth and lasting happiness when we give. Findings include evidence that altruism is hardwired in the brain. Cultures and languages are filled with words, quotes and life mottos that shape our ideas about giving our time to a charitable cause. Many of us understand this pull to make a difference and have experienced firsthand the joy and gratitude of giving.
As coaches, we know the positive, powerful impact that coaching can have on individuals and communities. More than 93 percent of ICF Members who responded to a recent ICF Foundation survey said they offer pro bono services, and a number of ICF Chapters bring pro bono work to their local communities on their own or through the ICF Foundation’s Ignite program.
At the March 2018 ICF Global Leaders Forum, the ICF Foundation named the winners of the 2017 ICF Foundation Gift of Coaching Awards. ICF Argentina received the Gift of Coaching Award, which recognizes a single, impactful pro bono partnership with a nonprofit partner.
We often talk about the benefits of pro bono projects for our communities, but ICF Argentina project leader Aida Frese, PCC, shared what she gained from her involvement with the initiative.
ICF Foundation: Can you share with us what you personally received by being involved with your Chapter’s pro bono initiatives?
Aida: When I reflect on the program, I think about the satisfaction of fulfilling my passion. I am aware there are many who desire and need coaching, who are not able to receive coaching. It is great to know we can make a difference with those individuals and organizations. I hold a great deal of happiness and gratefulness to be involved with providing for these partners and individuals. It is a beautiful experience we can share with our [clients]. There is a great sense of generosity in collaboration, from our Chapter Members who collaborate on the project, to the support the Foundation provides. Several Chapters, including ICF Mexico and ICF Italy, were generous to share their experience and models for success as we began to set up the project. It reflects the strength of our global organization and willingness to help each other. I believe it is key to contribute to each other with our experience so more volunteer work can be done!
ICF Foundation: Are there skills that you learned because of the project?
Aida: It was a great experience, with all our peers working together to ensure the program developed. We all learned a great deal. I was able to improve my leadership skills and had a deeper awareness and understanding of my specific leadership style. I can see the progress from 2015 to 2016. Early on, I felt the weight of the program, but as the program grew, our team worked together and shared the weight…When our team felt valued, empowered and encouraged, the program succeeded and our leadership advanced. It was a great experience for our project members to discover the new opportunity and observe them seeing where their gift was going and how much of a benefit it was to the partner. Coaches were also able to receive feedback on their coaching with the [clients], as the model had a supervision component included for the coaches.
ICF Foundation: How were you able to reflect on the benefit of the partner?
Aida: It was very clear; our pro bono coaching provided a shift in thinking for the organization. The nature of the organization is to respond to emergency needs for housing and to face crises. This lends itself to many emotions involved in preparing and responding. We observed the participants being able to connect more deeply with the values of the organization. One example of this was the organization’s value of excellence. A shift occurred within the [clients] to lead by that value as opposed to leading by individual needs. Leaders in the organization were able to courageously request what they needed for excellence. This change leads to more efficient progress and achievement of goals in the partner organization.
How are you planning to gift your time? Share in the comments.