We all know that helping to run a voluntary organisation can be challenging. If you’re trying to find your way through some difficult decisions, if you’re feeling a bit lost, or if you just need a bit of help thinking things through, Comoodle can help.
We’re delighted to be able to offer coaching to individual staff or volunteers from community or voluntary groups in Kirklees. Coaching is an opportunity to speak to someone outside of your organisation, in confidence, to help you think about what you need to do next, figure out how to do it, and set some goals.
To help you understand how it works, we asked Jill Long who has previously worked with Communities Who Can to share her experience of receiving coaching.
Jill’s story: “Coaching gives you some ‘me’ time, but very work focused”
Jill says that coaching is a fantastic offer. When you’re working in a voluntary organisation, you perhaps don’t have as much access to the kinds of support or mentoring that people in larger organisations can benefit from, and you might not have someone independent who you can talk to.
When Jill signed up to receive coaching, the organisation she works for was going through a huge period of change. They had lost 20% of their funding, had fewer paid staff, and had reduced their board membership from 28 to 12 trustees. There was a lot of pressure and it was difficult to see a clear way through.
Jill’s coach, James, helped her to think through the challenges and to set some goals. She says that coaching “makes you take the time to reflect and presents you with options. Sometimes you can’t see what’s possible unless you have an outside view.”
Coaching sessions last for an hour or two, and you usually have four sessions. This gives a chance to talk things over, begin to act on what you’ve discussed and reflect on how it’s going. Jill found it useful for focussing her thoughts and encouraging her to act: “it’s a good way of stopping you from procrastinating”.
A lot of people don’t quite understand what coaching is at first. It isn’t counselling, and it definitely isn’t a reflection on your ability to do a good job – having coaching doesn’t mean you’re bad at something. It’s more about setting your own goals.
Coaching also gives you the chance to talk to somebody completely independent and in confidence. Jill says this provides something no-one else can. It gives you a bit of a steer and it’s good to be able to test out the way you’re thinking, to ground you and stop you from doubting yourself.
Jill was cautious about some of her ideas at first, and James encouraged her to give things a try. James said: “What’s the worst that could happen?” This helped Jill to have the confidence to do something a bit out of her comfort zone that turned out to be very worthwhile.
Jill says: “Trust is really important for coaching. Knowing it’s confidential is really important. The coach doesn’t have their own agenda. You know you can say anything.”
If you’re still not sure, Jill’s advice is to have a chat with the coaching team. They will be very happy to hear from you and to answer any questions you have.