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Last year was a challenging time for Alex Vygodski, Head of Enterprise Applications and Technologies at DTEK Group in Ukraine. His country was at war, and he had to continue to lead employees, help them to recover, and hold difficult conversations.

During the Russia-Ukraine war, ICF responded to requests from its Ukrainian members seeking support through the form of coaching. One of these members connected ICF with Academy DTEK, an organization known for offering leadership development, to provide assistance.

ICF worked to support its members and stakeholders in Ukraine, with the ICF Foundation offering its Ignite Initiative to organizations aligned with the United Nations Global Goals. The ICF Ukraine chapter also collaborated with the ICF Foundation to recruit Ukrainian-speaking coaches to deliver coaching.

During the first round of the initiative with Academy DTEK, each ICF global and ICF Ukraine credentialed coach provided ten pro bono coaching sessions to fifteen coaching clients. However, recognizing the need for a more targeted response, the ICF Foundation, Academy DTEK, and the ICF Ukraine Chapter united with a new goal of offering executive coaching to 500 leaders in Ukraine and Europe.

As a result, from August 2022 to December 2023, 150 ICF-credentialed coaches engaged with 234 coaching clients and leaders to understand their stories, their challenges, and their visions for the future.

Monthly coaching sessions, conducted in English and Ukrainian, allowed Ukrainian leaders to explore their beliefs, values, and aspirations. It also empowered them to develop coping strategies, emotional intelligence, and self-care practices. Alex shares that coaching provided him an opportunity to see himself from an external perspective. And while this may be unpleasant for some, it enabled him to confront and work on aspects of himself.

“Prior to coaching, I engaged in debates and focused on others’ development needs. However, coaching shifted my focus inward, changed my mindset, and helped improve my communication.” Alex Vygodskii

The impact of this partnership expanded beyond just Alex’s experience. In total, 150 ICF coaches donated 1,310 hours (valued at $393,000 USD). Additionally, leaders reported improvements in:

  • Coping strategies (90%)
  • Communication (90%)
  • Productivity (100%)
  • Engagement (36%)
  • Operational efficiency (24%)

Amidst the conflict, Alina Sviatnenko, PCC, ICF Ukraine Chapter President, provided support to Ukrainians by expanding chapter initiatives and programs, leading to a significant rise in membership. “Just two years ago, we had 300 coaches; now, we have over 800,” Alina shares. This increase demonstrates the effectiveness and demand of coaching, especially in challenging times.

“Coaching is a space for bringing people together, promoting communication, trust, openness, and sincerity. I believe coaching is a second international language after English.” Alina Sviatnenko

Looking ahead, the ICF Foundation and Academy DTEK are exploring ways to expand the reach of the coaching program beyond the existing community. With a continued partnership, the program’s potential to enable the power of coaching to enhance human development, well-being and professional advancement is promising.

This initiative was largely successful thanks to the generous pro-bono contributions provided by ICF coaches. With your support of the ICF Foundation through volunteer coaching and donating, we can continue to offer vital coaching services to those in need, like Alex.