Last Tuesday the Minnesota Chapter of the International Coach Federation held its bi-annual Prism awards (which I helped initiate and organize) to recognize coaching excellence in for-profit and non-profit companies.

Target, Thrivent Financial, Initiative Foundation, Better Futures Minnesota, and Pregnancy Choices were honored, with Pregnancy Choices as the Prism recipient.

What all these fine organizations have in common is recognition that coaching not only improves individual lives, but also impacts entire organizations.  Here’s one noteworthy accomplishment from each of the nominees.

  • Thrivent Financial owners discovered that putting family first, avoiding the eighty-hour workweek, and re-establishing life-work balance made their business more profitable.
  • Target’s innovative “Action Learning” team coaching approach allows participants to only ask questions of each other in meetings—and only to make statements when questions are asked of them.  This process yields more creative solutions, and eliminates unnecessary hierarchy.
  • Initiative Foundation finds that utilizing coaching with their VISTA program (Volunteers in Service to America) increases resilience and makes it possible for their recent college graduates to fulfill their yearlong volunteer commitments to alleviate poverty, even under challenging conditions.
  • Better Futures Minnesota enjoys half the recidivism rate of status quo approaches by using a coach approach with their men—primarily African-American ex-felons who have been incarcerated at least 12 years.  Through coaching, these men are trained for jobs, find stable housing, enroll in health care, and become better parents.
  • Prism recipient Pregnancy Choices works with Latina, African American, Asian Pacific, Caucasian, and multi-racial pregnant women from over 20 cities who live in poverty.  The organization helps them to figure out what to do with their lives, and to live according to their values.

Says Pregnancy Choices’ executive director Jeanette Meyers:  “Coaching helps people believe they’ve always mattered and through awareness, understanding and action they create change.  It’s a training camp for the world.  If I died today I will feel complete because although I initially invested in something for me, it ended up being for everyone.  Who else can say that?”

Trained coaches see their clients as creative, resourceful, and whole.  That, plus a commitment to asking compelling questions, identifying and recognizing a client’s values, vision and strengths, and creating accountability, assists people in reaching previously difficult or unachievable goals.

When this approach is applied to a culture, entire organizations become more productive and happier as a result.

As society becomes more aware of how a coaching approach can fundamentally change culture in overwhelmingly positive ways, more people will see coaching the way Jeanette does.

Thanks to all our nominees and to all the pioneering organizations that see learning coaching skills as “a training camp for the world.”

Best wishes,Elizabeth