What is Social Impact Coaching?

Simply put, social impact coaching is the intersection of a good coach with your desire to create a social impact.

But before we delve into coaching, we have to take a step back and look at what social impact itself is. A social impact is about creating a significant, positive change on a social issue. If you’re not entirely sure on what qualifies as a social issue, a great place to start is the United Nations comprehensive list of Sustainable Development Goals.

Ultimately, social impact is about understanding your place in the world and using your position for good. As you alleviate the suffering of others, you’ll begin to treat yourself with more compassion and build a deeper connection with the world and within yourself.

In 2018, five of us started the social enterprise Wild Tiger Tees – a social enterprise work program for youth experiencing homelessness. After pitching our idea at GiveBackHack, we spent the summer going through the SEA Change social impact accelerator and launched our pilot in the fall. We spent most of 2019 figuring out how to run a small but stable work program in partnership with the Star House – and ended up working with 126 youth over 46 work sessions during the year to screenprint t-shirts and produce mugs.

When we’re working with these youth experiencing homelessness through Wild Tiger Tees, there is an unexplainable joy as we connect with individuals, especially those from different backgrounds.  And real change springs out of this connection when both sides show up to the table.  Through Wild Tiger Tees and over 70 podcasts I’ve recorded on People Helping People, I’ve learned that effective change is personal, ongoing, and ever-evolving.

Using this experience, my social impact coaching style is about forging a co-creative relationship. We’re equals in the process, and both of us have an active role. I am not a therapist, counselor, or consultant.

I am a trained coach using honed communication skills to support you as a detached thinking partner. Together, we create more power for you to make meaningful change and take dynamic actions towards your goals.

How does a social impact coach help me?

You often want to create a change in the world, but you’re not sure what your next step should be.

Perhaps you’re developing an idea or trying to get started and need a push.

Or maybe you have been creating change for some time and want to accelerate your efforts.

For all of this, coaching focuses on your actions, shines a light on what’s blocking you, and helps you find answers within to move forward.

Here’s how…

Finding Focus – Clarity, Possibility & Curiosity

1.   Finding focus by discovering your passion

Where do you even start? How do you know what change you’re passionate about impacting?

Finding your passion starts with feeding and following your curiosity. Give yourself space to explore, to find what you enjoy, and follow that wherever it may take you.

2. Seeing possibility to uncover opportunity

We’re often stuck in our bubble. We’ve created models of “this is how the world is” in our head, and it’s easy to mistake our view of the world as fixed.

We’re trapped in our beliefs and our habits. Things that aren’t serving us well. Sometimes we’re so close to ourselves that it’s hard to see our entrenched beliefs and habits in front of us. Sometimes these beliefs are powerful and held across society. Breaking them and finding new ways that work better takes a certain amount of effort.

This is where a fresh pair of eyes can look at us objectively and help us start to see. But we need a healthy reminder that these models aren’t the truth. They’re an estimation of form, which is not fixed. They’re always in flux.  As we begin figuring these out, we develop ways to become aware of them.

Social impact coaching helps you find ways to remember this and uncover the possibilities around you. Awareness of our traps is usually all that’s needed to change them. As we become aware of how we’re getting stuck, getting unstuck is usually the easy part.

3. Feeding your curiosity to develop ideas

Learn how to use curiosity to drive innovation.  You have natural preferences, and there is a magical dance to work in flow with the universe.  Curiosity is your dance instructor.

But you need to feed it with ideas.  Reach out to people you admire.  Read about your interests, listen to podcasts, and find ways to nourish your mind.  When you’re doing it right, it will be fun and fill you with joy.  (If it feels like work, social impact coaching can help you find the dance moves.) Navigating

Getting Started – Launch the Thing

4. Navigating business models

A social impact coach understands the issues you’re trying to impact and how best to address them. Together, you’ll look at how others approach problems, what business and impact models are available for social entrepreneurs, and what works best for your needs.

Think of it as a map you construct together. Once formed, you’ll naturally start taking steps in the right direction, but you need to familiarize yourself with the structure first.

5. Identifying (and removing) barriers to launch

It’s too easy to get stuck in one place, to never launch the damn thing you’ve worked so passionately for. You’ll find yourself falling into the trap, always thinking, refining, planning, but never actually doing anything.

It’s like trying to ride multiple horses simultaneously, horses that are headed in different directions. Pick one horse to ride and ride it until it runs on its own. Pick one path and stick to it. Working together with a social impact coach, you’ll look within to understand the barriers keeping you from launching and how to move past that.

6. Mastering the business basics

A social impact business is still, at its heart, a business. You’ll have to consider initial funding, a source of income, certain expenses, and the income minus expenses (and taxes) will be your net profit.

Bank loans, VC funding, credit card debt…there are various ways you can get startup capital. But if you’re hustling and growing organically, this can be hard, especially as you build up your business. Social impact coaching helps you navigate the funding landscape.

You’ll need to consider cash flow too. Arriving income and payments don’t always sync. You may need to make payments before income comes in and managing revenue is vital. Identifying and developing a mission and vision is another business basic that helps with your direction and your motivation. [1] 

Social impact coaching helps craft the mission and vision and ensures that your business evolves, the foundations of your business do too. Knowing what you’re standing for and what you’re achieving with pristine clarity is key. When this is carved out like a diamond, it will shine the way forward.

7. Validate, validate, validate & your MVP

You have an idea and your business model in place, but do you know what to do next? Gathering feedback and validating your ideas is an integral step that’s often overlooked.

As a social impact coach, the goal here is to work together to craft a minimal viable product to validate. That means breaking down the idea into its most basic form and getting feedback on it.

This is so important because while you think you’ve got a great idea in your head, everyone sees the world differently. And it’s through understanding the world from your client’s perspective of your clients that you’re going to uncover whether you have a real business model or not. Validation isn’t a one-stop deal. You’ll be doing this as part of your business, always refining and improving. Make it part of your business practice from the beginning.

Maintaining Momentum

Once you’ve gotten going, running a business is hard. It’s easy to get stuck in a silo and be so caught up with things day to day that you lose sight of the big picture. Sometimes you have no one to talk to but yourself, and you get stuck on small things. Sometimes you’re so busy you don’t take the time to plan or to figure out what’s blocking you. That’s where social impact coaching can help because it gives you space and freedom to maintain momentum and work through ideas and plans together so that growth doesn’t get lost in the shuffle.

8. Removing habits that don’t serve you

We all have our traps. Things we get stuck in. Habits which aren’t serving us well. Sometimes we’re so close to ourselves that it’s hard to see what these are — this is where a fresh pair of eyes can look at us objectively and help us start to see.

9. Building effective habits

To be successful, you need habits that work. Not habits that work for 3 days before they’re forgotten. There are some secrets to creating habits that have long term success, and this is where coaching can help you build structures that will take you where you want to go.

Let’s Talk

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