Five Ways Coaching Can Accelerate Your Nonprofit Leadership Journey 

September 2022

Executive coaching can serve as a highly effective tool for nonprofit leaders seeking  to increase their effectiveness and strategically contribute to their organizations.  Working with a coach can help leaders capitalize on their strengths, as well as shine  a light on areas in need of improvement. While you may hesitate to spend scarce  resources on professional development without a guarantee of tangible benefits,  there are many ways that executive coaching can add value to your leadership  abilities and/or to employees at your organization. Here are five ways that coaching can improve your leadership skills: 

1. Customize coaching to your immediate priorities and leadership challenges 

Traditional training experiences often last for brief, intermittent sessions and focus  on the broad goals of the participating group, making it difficult for you to receive individualized attention on your particular goals and challenges. Working with an  executive coach allows you to create specific products and plans that are  personalized to your leadership journey and the unique problems you face in your  work. Coaches may collaborate with you to create a personalized strategic plan for  your professional development and long-term career goals, as well as craft  measures of success for these goals. In these ways, coaching can often provide  value to you more immediately and appropriately than typical training offerings.  

2. Create a longer-term, deeper relationship than traditional training 

Boilerplate training can provide effective instruction and guidance for a variety of  organizational challenges, but these modules are often short-term and the  knowledge gained can be very ephemeral. Working with a coach allows you to avoid  this cycle by establishing a longer-term, deeper relationship with your coach and  continuously building on previous activities. This can decrease the likelihood of  chronically forgetting key information and improve your ability to apply new  knowledge to problems at work. Ultimately, working with a coach will increase your chances of making tangible changes to your leadership approach and affecting serious improvements to your organization's work.  

3. Receive accountability from a trusted, invested partner 

Working with a coach not only helps you to create strategic plans and craft  solutions to your professional challenges. It also gives you a dedicated accountability partner. Coaches have the external perspective to assess a leader's  performance and keep them on track when they fall short of agreed-upon goals.  This level of accountability is key for leaders to follow through on the plans they  created and cannot be accessed in the more time-constrained and ephemeral  relationships found at traditional training venues or conferences. Regularly meeting  with a coach committed to mutual accountability is an invaluable practice for any developing leader.  

4. Share your new wisdom with colleagues at your organization 

While the primary benefits of a coaching relationship accrue to the leader, they can  also beneficially impact the leader's colleagues and staff. As you engage with an  executive coach, you can share your newfound wisdom with others at your  organization to maximize the benefits of the training. You may even adopt some of  the coaching skills practiced by your coach and become a mentor to someone at  your organization, thus perpetuating the knowledge and skills even further.  Coaching can be a heavy financial investment for any organization, so using this strategy can help offset those costs.  

5. Receive assistance with specific career opportunities, applications, and other tasks 

Beyond helping with professional development goals and personal strategic  planning, coaches can assist with specific tasks and challenges that leaders face in  their careers. They can serve as partners in mock interviews and help you craft  effective applications for new positions. Coaches can also assist you in reviewing your resume or CV as you approach the job market. Coaches bring a diverse array  of skills and professional experiences to their practices that you can take advantage  of as you broaden the horizons of your career path.  

Interested in trying out a coaching opportunity? Our Mastermind group coaching program offers tailored leadership training to small, curated groups of nonprofit  leaders eager to learn best practices from peers in the sector. If you are interested in receiving individualized coaching from me, I also offer a Premium version of the Mastermind program that includes several additional one-on-one sessions. Click here to find out more.


As a firm, PMA Nonprofit Leadership is constantly developing content and programs to help you in three distinct ways.  The first way is to help you be a thought leader in the nonprofit sector by producing weekly content through our podcast Your Path to Nonprofit Leadership. The second way is through individual coaching, training and our unique Mastermind Nonprofit Leadership program. The third way is to help your nonprofit organization through support of its strategic planning, board & staff development, and fundraising. Through our exclusive partnership with the Institute for Philanthropic Leadership, we also  guide aspiring nonprofit leaders through the virtual New Development Professionals cohort training program, as well as the annual Leadership Gift School, now entering its 10th cohort season.  Let us know how we can help you! Join our community by signing up for our free resources here, and schedule a call if you'd like to learn more about ways we can help you on your journey to nonprofit leadership.