Making a Social Impact
Having an impact socially can start as simply as making a difference in one person’s life – then watching the ripple effects take shape as the person you have impacted reaches out to help another. ICF-credentialed coaches take this to heart as they lead their clients and organizations through the coaching process. This sentiment was shared at the end of 2020 and continues today.
At the ICF Foundation, we work to build capacity within social system change organizations, to find the insertion point of where coaching can make the greatest impact. By coaching one person within an organization – a manager, a leader or an executive – the entire organization can be equipped to apply the coaching principles to its own values and mission and accelerate their positive social change goals.
In the spring of 2021, the ICF Foundation launched its Social Impact Pro Bono Pilot Project. The hypothesis of the Foundation’s framework and subsequent programs is this: When coaching is applied to an organization striving for positive social change, that organization’s impact will increase. These pilot programs will define a baseline measurement of each organization’s social impact and track progress toward increasing that impact once coaching is applied.
The Social Impact Pro Bono Project is now six months into its year-long pilot, and we are encouraged by the initial impact being made. The social change organizations we’re partnering with can be any kind of organization, though they typically operate in the nonprofit space. Most importantly, these organizations must be dedicated to bringing sustainable positive social change. These could include organizations dedicated to addressing social issues like education, cross-cultural tolerance, potable water, women’s empowerment, job training and education, food security, etc.
Our first pilot partner, Many Hopes focused on working to move children out of poverty, provide them with good health and wellbeing, and improve inequalities aligned with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals 1, 3 and 10 respectively. The organization rescues children from oppression and raises them to be adults of influence, equipped to do justice for others, creating an exponential impact. They believe that children born into poverty can become changemakers in their communities and prevent wrongs from happening to others.
“This is a time when the world really needs coaching because the world really needs its social system change organizations to be as impactful as they possibly can,” said ICF Foundation Board of Trustees Chair Lisa Nitze.
The pilot project with Many Hopes provides pro bono coaching in Ireland, Kenya, Ghana, Malawi, Guatemala, Peru and Bolivia. The collective impact of these initiatives would reach over 1,000 children. In addition to this framework and specific pilot project, another social impact opportunity exists for the individual coach and chapters – the Foundation’s Ignite Initiative.
With the goal of “engaging coaching for humanity and the planet,” Ignite seeks to harness the collective power of global ICF chapters, members, and credential-holders to accelerate the positive impact of coaching, mainly through pro bono coaching projects.
The ICF Foundation has worked hard to create materials that ease the workload for our initiatives so that if you would like to participate, you can do what you do best—coach! The Ignite Resource Suite of Tools provide templates, best practices and project materials for participating coaches. You can also connect to the Ignite Basecamp site, which is a fantastic source of peers who are also creating initiatives in their local communities. Our Council of Ambassadors is also available to assist you as you create an initiative! You can even reference the organizations that have participated in the past. From these past initiatives, we know that 76% of mission-driven organizational leaders who received coaching saw a ripple effect of their gains in operational efficiency, and 70% of those same leaders testified that coaching impacted employee engagement in their organizations.
We encourage you to join the ICF Foundation in participating in or learning more about all our coaching for social impact initiatives. You can always learn more at foundationoficf.org.