By Gayle Gross, Fundraising Coach ~ Helping others increase dollars raised, on average, by 41%.
Has there ever been a team who went the distance without a coach? You may know this answer to be affirmative, but I do not. I’m talking about a team being on top and bringing home the gold. At some point a coach made the difference – I can guarantee it. Consider yourself the coach for this article because in reality, you are. In some part of your life you coach. Whether it’s rallying your family to accomplish a goal or gaining the advantage for your mission at work. You coach others to go along.
We will learn from an amazing coach throughout this article because of what he said, back in 1993, which was way ahead of the curve. Take this one for example: “A good coach takes a businesslike approach to maximizing the potential of players. In coaching, I think of it as the coach’s ability to condition the athletes’ minds and to train them to think as a unit, while at the same time, making sure each athlete approaches his own game with total concentration, intensity, and skill.” Harvard Business Review 1993 interviews Bill Walsh – coach and one of the most important figures in football history.
Let’s talk in terms of raising dollars AKA fundraising. YOU are coaching a team to achieve the $ goal. Do you also have a coach for yourself? Coaching teams to national championships was the Walsh way. His thinking was much more advanced in the arena of developing relationships. He says, “Management recognizes that to have a winning organization, it has to be more knowledgeable and competent in dealing with and developing people.” The same is true for developing you for this mission. There are many people who come into play to assist your growth. A fundraising coach makes the largest difference when it comes to reaching the goal line of raising more money.
Walsh’s philosophies are what SOAR with Network Fundraising is based upon. People bring their skill to the table. We talk about this a lot in relation to volunteers in fundraising. We follow what Walsh says when developing leaders, “Individualism is the general rule. Some of the most talented people are the ones who are the most independent. Those teams that have been most successful are the ones that have demonstrated the greatest commitment to their people. They are the ones that have created the greatest sense of belonging.”
I’ve seen people fear the thought of being coached. During my tenure as a fundraiser – coaching was necessary for achieving success. There’s a level of accountability, which is associated. There’s also knowing someone is whole-heartedly supporting your mission and you’re not alone. A coach will raise the challenging questions and encourage you to think in a new light. People who hated being coached during my tenure, ultimately did not succeed at raising more money. Their programs did not grow effectively. They came up short when it came to winning. They were afraid of being coached and wanted to do everything on their own. This does not develop a program. A gentle reminder from Walsh: “People have to be comfortable that they will not be ridiculed if they turn out to be mistaken or if their ideas are not directly in line with their superior’s. That is where the breakthrough comes in coaching. That is what it takes to build a successful, winning organization.”
A few of the most popular comments I’ve heard after coaching: I want to thank you for EVERYTHING you have done for our agency. You leadership has helped in more ways than you know; You are such a great support. You did outstanding for us; You made the difference; My shoulder to lean on. I know that your advice is always in my best interest.
Connect with questions about coaching. firstname.lastname@example.org