The Coach Initiative—Volunteer Coaches Making A Difference

by Diane
Krause-Stetson, IAC-CC

The Vision

An opportunity for coaches to contribute something meaningful while doing something
we love to do. Who wouldn’t want to be a part of that?

Partnering with other not-for-profit organizations, The Coach Initiative uses
coaching to support not-for-profit initiatives by helping them deliver on their
missions. Confident that coaching works, the premise is that projects supported
by coaches will have an even greater positive impact on the world. It is an
organization whose mission it is to exponentially expand the positive global
impact of projects that focus on bettering the human condition and uplifting
the human spirit.

At the Beginning

Bobette Reeder, Donna Steinhorn and Guy Stickney had a vision of supporting
not-for-profit initiatives through coaching. In 2006, they founded The Coach
Initiative. They asked a number of influential coaches to join them on its Founding
Board. Within just a few months of its existence, The Coach Initiative had
engaged dozens of coach volunteers and launched its first project.

In its first project, The Coach Initiative partnered with Virgin Unite to support
Stand Up For Kids by providing coaching to the management team and its key volunteers.
Stand Up For Kids
operates in a number of U.S. cities and in Tijuana, Mexico. It has volunteers
who go to the streets in order to find, stabilize and otherwise help homeless
and street kids improve their lives. Recently, Rick Koca, its Founder and Chief
Executive, was featured in a video in the online AARP magazine. Not only will
you be moved and inspired, but you will also get a flavor of the caliber of
organization supported by The Coach Initiative.

How It Works

The Coach Initiative invites experienced coaches to join its volunteer ranks
and invites non-profits that could benefit from pro-bono coaching to request
its support. After projects are reviewed and accepted, The Coach Initiative
matches the coaching needs of client organizations with coaches in the volunteer

What transpires in each coach-client relationship remains confidential between
them. However, The Coach Initiative does request that the clients complete a
brief survey at the beginning and at the end of the coaching process. In this
way, The Coach Initiative is able to evaluate its effectiveness, track its progress
and enhance its services. The Coach Initiative will also be able to generate
useful statistics to underscore the positive impact of coaching and, thereby,
attract even more worthy projects and amazing coaches to serve them.

Who Is Served

The Coach Initiative, at the request of Michael Bungay Stanier, a former and
founding board member, also supported the management team of Free
the Children
. This is an organization that was founded in 1995 by international
child rights activist Craig Kielburger who was moved to fight against child
labor when he was only 12 years old. Free the Children is an international organization
that is a network of children helping children.

Through education, young people in North America are encouraged to become socially-conscious
global citizens to work toward social change. Through financial contributions
and the Adopt-a-Village program, children and their families in China, Sierra
Leone, Kenya and Sri Lanka are empowered to escape poverty and exploitation.
Today, more than one million young people are involved in innovative education
and development programs in 45 countries.

“If we build it, will they come?” At first, the founders sought
out organizations to coach. Now, The Coach Initiative has a process whereby
organizations can be nominated by others or can apply directly for support.
The projects range in scale and may be local, national or international. Two
organizations that recognized the power of coaching and recently requested coaching
for their leadership are:

  1. The Israel-Palestine Center
    for Research and Information (IPCRI)
    , “founded in Jerusalem in 1988,
    is the only joint Israeli-Palestinian public policy think-tank in the world.
    It is devoted to developing practical solutions for the Israeli-Palestinian
  2. The Center for
    Amazon Community Ecology
    . The mission of the Center for Amazon Community
    Ecology is “to promote the understanding, conservation, and sustainable
    development of human and other biological communities in the Amazon region.”

What's Next

Thus far, the focus of The Coach Initiative has been on coaching nonprofit
leaders (executives, management staff and key volunteers). But, the vision of
The Coach Initiative is far more expansive. It is poised to support nonprofit
initiatives by providing coaching in any way that will advance their missions.
For example, The Coach Initiative could provide career or financial coaching
to women in shelters who seek to be independent or to low-income folks trying
to get into the workforce. Well on its way to fulfilling the dreams of its founders,
The Coach Initiative has already supported the security and well-being of children,
the health of the environment and world peace. The possibilities are limitless.

What It Takes

Joining the founders of The Coach Initiative in their commitment to changing
the world through coaching are the current members of the Board of Directors:
Scott Blanchard, Laura Berman Fortgang, Kimberly George, Phyllis Haynes, Donna
Karlin, Diane Krause-Stetson, Sandy Vilas and Eva Wong. The Board of Directors
is international, as is our cache of experienced volunteer coaches. The founders
envisioned this organization as having broad appeal. They hoped to attract volunteers
from a wide variety of coach training organizations, as well as from both major
certifying bodies—the IAC® and the ICF. Through generous contributions
of time and talent, The Coach Initiative continues to grow.

The Coach Initiative is a 501(c)(3) organization. The biggest challenge is
financial sustainability. Initially, it was funded by the founders’ personal
contributions, by a generous establishing grant from Ruth Ann Harnisch through
The Harnisch Foundation, and generous donations from Sandy Vilas, a Founding
Board member and CEO of Coach U, Inc.. Today, The Coach Initiative seeks its
financial support through grants and also relies on individual donations from
members of its Board of Directors and people in the coaching community (you
can donate now at

Later in 2009, The Coach Initiative will be conducting an online charity auction
and will be seeking donations, such as autographed books, scholarships to coaching
schools, original artwork, electronics, theater and sporting event tickets,
and other valuable tangible items. If you have something that you would like
to contribute, please contact Diane

And if you are an experienced coach, I hope that you are inspired to join us
in service at


Diane Krause-Stetson, IAC-CC, MBA, JD, currently serves as President of The
Coach Initiative. Diane became an IAC-Certified Coach in May of 2005; served
as Secretary and then as Vice President of the IAC® from 2005 through 2008;
and, was on the global team of coaches that developed The IAC Coaching Masteries®.
Diane is a coach, consultant and catalyst for principled success in life and
in business. She inspires and challenges her clients to "discover who you
are, decide what's important, and do what matters™." Diane is the
founder of Lead Your Life, LLC. 

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