Over the last few months, you may have drawn on inspiration from the Gift of Coaching stories we’ve shared to create a pro bono coaching program within your own ICF Chapter. You may have even noticed similarities between what your chapter is doing and what other chapters have accomplished. If your chapter has completed an impactful pro bono coaching project, you should consider applying for the 2019 Gift of Coaching award (application period open September 3 – October 15, 2019).

Award entries take time to prepare and your time is valuable, so we wanted to share a few tips for success as you apply:

1) Review all eligibility criteria to ensure that your  pro bono project is a good fit for the award

Developing an application for the Gift of Coaching Award Program is a process that will require you to collate many details about your chapter’s pro bono initiatives. Before you begin, ensure that your chapter meets the following criteria:

  • Your pro bono coaching initiative was implemented prior to January 1, 2019. (For the Portfolio Partnership, at least one of three projects must be implemented prior to January 1, 2019.)
  • Coaching services delivered to the nonprofit organization(s) are/were pro bono, which we define as “for the public good” and can be services rendered without charge or at a reduced rate
  • Your pro bono coaching initiative or portfolio of initiatives supports individuals engaged in the nonprofit context; i.e., a nonprofit or nongovernmental organization’s staff or the population that is served
  • Your pro bono coaching initiative or portfolio of initiative establishes a significant coaching presence in the geographic area served by your chapter
  • Your chapter was not a 2018 Gift of Coaching and Culture of Giving Award winners or honorable mention recipient
  • The nonprofit partner organization, including its leaders and its public relations team, is willing and able to publicly share information that points to the success of your pro bono coaching initiative (e.g., employee engagement and retention data, return on investment data, annual revenue). If you’re using data in your application to demonstrate the impact of coaching, you should be comfortable having that same data shared publicly in press releases, published case studies, etc.
  • During the application review process, your chapter leader (or suitable designee) and a contact at the nonprofit partner organization(s) will be prepared to provide our panel of judges with additional/clarifying information about your coaching initiative. This may include a telephone interview with ICF Foundation staff and/or Gift of Coaching judges

2) Make the nomination process a true collaboration with the nonprofit partner organization

The most successful Gift of Coaching Award applications represents a team effort between the ICF Chapter and the nonprofit partner. A collaborative application process ensures that you provide our panel of judges with the fullest, clearest picture of your pro bono coaching initiative and its impact on the organization. The awards application will include a form that your nonprofit partner will be responsible for completing.

3) Capture the full scope of coaching across the organization

Here are a few key questions you can think about to help you capture the full scope of coaching across the nonprofit organization:

  • How has the pro bono initiative moved the mission of the nonprofit partner forward in its goals?
  • What are the key learnings from the full scope of the initiative that motivated positive change within the partner organization?
  • As a chapter, what systems were put in place to ensure a framework was followed and professional coaching standards were utilized during the initiative?

4) Share specific data

In the measurement section of the Gift of Coaching application, you’ll be asked how your initiative developed and measured the impact of pro bono coaching on the nonprofit organization and its managers/leaders. What are the observable and specific details that underscore the value, influence or effectiveness of the coaching initiative for the partner organization?

5) Use storytelling techniques

Year after year, Gift of Coaching judges report that the best applications were the ones that shared meaningful data and tell a story. What was happening in the organization before pro bono coaching was implemented? What’s changing because of coaching? How is coaching impacting the lives of individual employees? What about the organization as a whole? How has the initiative moved the partner organization’s mission forward? Using narrative techniques to share this information will give judges valuable insights into the organization’s coaching culture.

6) Incorporate testimonials

Brief quotes from leaders, managers and volunteers that highlight the impact of coaching at the personal and organizational level also have a powerful impact on judges. Consider weaving them into your nomination when and where appropriate. To ensure a blind review process, quotes must remain anonymous; however, we recommend giving some detail about the person’s role in the organization. For example:

“After partnering with a pro bono coach, I have more self-confidence and am better at finding work/life balance.”
—Senior Marketing Specialist

7) Ask questions

We also offered webinar on September 3 (the same day the application become available) at 9 a.m. (New York). Access that on our site as well.

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