Making a Social Impact - International Coaching Federation

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Making a Social Impact

Posted by ICF Foundation | August 31, 2021 | Comments (0)

Having an impact socially can start as simply as making a difference in one person’s life – then watching the ripple effects take shapeas the person you have impacted reaches out to help another.ICF-credentialedcoaches take this to heart as they lead their clients and organizations through thecoaching 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 canbeequippedto apply the coaching principles to itsownvalues 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. Thehypothesis of theFoundation’s framework and subsequent programs is this: When coaching is appliedto an organization striving for positive social change,that organization’simpact will increase. These pilot programs willdefine abaseline measurement ofeach organization’s socialimpact 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 bringingsustainablepositivesocial change. These could include organizationsdedicated to addressing social issueslike 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, anothersocial impact opportunityexists for the individual coach and chapters – theFoundation’sIgnite 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! TheIgnite Resource Suite of Toolsprovide templates, best practices and project materials for participating coaches. You can also connect to theIgnite Basecamp site, which is a fantastic source of peers who are also creating initiatives in their local communities. OurCouncil of Ambassadorsis 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 

ICF Foundation

Established in 2004, the ICF Foundation (one of the International Coaching Federation’s six family organizations) connects and equips professional coaches and organizations to accelerate and amplify impact on social progress through coaching. The ICF Foundation's programs include our Social Impact Pilot Project, ICF Coaches for Good and Ignite: Engaging Humanity Through Education is part of the ICF Foundation’s long-term strategy to advance social progress through coaching by aligning with the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals set forth by the United Nations. To learn more or to get involved with Ignite, please contact the Foundation’s staff at  

The views and opinions expressed in guest posts featured on this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions and views of the International Coach Federation (ICF). The publication of a guest post on the ICF Blog does not equate to an ICF endorsement or guarantee of the products or services provided by the author.

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