How Matters

How Matters

Getting to Know Matters is a coaching practice for nonprofit and philanthropy leaders and young professionals. While working at a large international NGO, after a meeting that included a conference call with unrealistic demands, mistrust, and a horrible boss, etc., a colleague closed the door after everyone had left, and simply and kindly asked ” Are you ok?” The next day (I kid you not!), someone they had long admired called them, and said, “I raised the money for a Director of Communications. Come on and apply.” They got that job, and it was a vital part of a healing journey that’s been on since the inception of in 2010. They share this story because we cannot address the hardest parts of our lives alone – professionally or personally. And that’s why they’re asking for support in developing their practice as a “coach” for nonprofit and philanthropy leaders. They say “coaching” in parentheses because that’s the closest description of this largely unfunded stream of their work, but it’s more than that. It’s deeply relational, not transactional. To accompany people where their professional and personal journeys meet means showing up for them so that they can tell all of their truths without any fear of judgment or consequence. It means supporting people to find their own way forward. There’s so much for us to heal from when it comes to organizational trauma and moral injury in our sector, let alone the older, more entrenched global systems of oppression and violence that this work is an acknowledgement that cutting ourselves off from the ambiguity, disappointment, and discomfort inherent in this work is what’s fueled isolation, burnout, a lack of creative thinking, and complicity in unjust systems in our sector. As a coach for leaders and professionals in the global development sector, the goal is to welcome people’s unexplored or unexpressed emotions, recognize thought patterns that keep people stuck, and help them identify a way through. Along the way, they also allow themselves to be affected, moved, questioned, challenged, and humbled by what they don’t know. Every single client-friend they’ve changed and healed them, as much as they’ve supported them. They don’t presume to have any unequivocal answers on what can heal our sector or shift organizational cultures, but they do know that we have to ask more of ourselves right now – and speak more truth to power. And there’s rarely – if ever – a budget line item for that. This important healing work for ourselves and our sector can only happen with their support.

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