Why I share selfish acts of kindness
When I began to coach professionally, my first clients were on pro-bono bases. At the time, I wanted to accumulate enough hours for my ICF Associate accreditation and build my coaching capabilities. As a result, I was not focused on incurring revenue. Yet, my first paying client gave me a boost of confidence. Each new client to come, further validated my proficiency as a coach, since they were willing to pay for my services. Nevertheless, I continue to work with pro-bono clients.
Why the ICF Egypt Chapter gives selfishly
Since 2017, ICF coaches in Egypt have provided a steady number of pro-bono hours, according to Lara Atallah, Marketing and Branding Director for ICF Egypt Chapter. The Chapter has provided over 280 pro-bono hours to the community, many of which during International Coaching Week. The Chapter further engaged with the public at Entreprenelle: She Can 2018, a conference to support female entrepreneurs. At the event, 31 coaches delivered over 140 one-on-one sessions in Cairo and 83 sessions in Alexandria. We connected with wonderful women facing their own stories of adversity. There were single mothers entering the workforce for the first time, women recovering from abusive relationships reinstating their identities, and college graduates searching for their path forward. These women had the courage to stand up for themselves and embrace the vulnerability of seeking awareness, balance, and encouragement. Our pro-bono efforts helped them overcome the stigma of asking for help and finding clarity.
Shahira Rifaat, ICF Egypt President, explains that pro-bono work gives people a chance to appreciate coaching first hand. Rifaat said, “It’s a great opportunity for the public to go through a real coaching experience with our professional certified coaches, which helped us in spreading the awareness of coaching to a larger segment in Egypt.” Accordingly, participating coaches were able to diversify their experience and expand their clientele base. However, pro-bono activities are not limited to those organized through the local chapter. Many coaches volunteer their time to causes for which they are passionate, such as ICF members Eman Raafat Osman and Carine Abdel Aziz, who work with parents at 57357 Children Cancer Hospital to coach them on coping with treatment and recovery.
Why we should all share selfishly
I believe it is important to maintain a certain number of pro-bono hours, in order to reach out to the underprivileged. Most Egyptians view self-development as a luxury, afforded to the wealthy and affluent. They deem those seeking mental and emotional support as weak and lacking faith. Therefore, when someone is willing to work on themselves, their ability to pay shouldn’t be an obstacle to their development. For there are no selfless acts of kindness, every pro-bono hour will return on the coach’s well-being and emotional resilience. So, selfishly give back to your communities.
Amira S. Badawey, ACC