Between 2005 and 2010, NCLR received $260,000 in leadership support from the Haas, Jr. Fund. This amounted to about $50,000 per year that they could devote exclusively to consulting, coaching, training and other activities to build and strengthen their leadership.
NCLR focused on getting consulting and coaching support to achieve the organization’s leadership goals. As an example, the funds supported an experienced executive coach, Gail Ginder, who has worked closely with Kate and Shannon and the rest of the senior staff for five years now. Gail facilitated team meetings and helped them think through a range of challenges and issues. That includes everything from how to grow the staff and what to look for in new hires to what responsibilities should fall on whose shoulders. Gail also was someone they could call on in times of crisis to help the team reach consensus on how to respond effectively. Most importantly, this coaching has helped each of the staff leaders figure out how they needed to shift their leadership styles and behaviors to work together more effectively as a team.
Another example of how they used this support is in communications and fundraising. In their first year in the Flexible Leadership Awards program, NCLR conducted a communications audit to find out more about how the organization and its work were perceived among its key audiences. They also brought in an expert communications consultant who helped them use social media more effectively. And, with the coaching and consulting supported by the award, NCLR has been working to integrate their communications and fundraising with their programs and advocacy work so that the organization is sending a consistent and strong message in everything it does.
As their Plan Consultant, my role wasn’t to tell them what to do but to help them identify where they might need outside help, and to connect them with consultants and coaches and others who could provide the right kind of support at the right time.