Alison Carl White and Amanda first established their coaching relationship in 2004, when Alison became the Executive Diretor for Seattle Works. New to the non-profit sector, she couldn’t help but think, ‘Oh my goodness what have I gotten myself into?’ With Amanda by her side as her executive coach, Alison not only got off to a great start, she flourished. ‘I still consider Amanda’s coaching the best money Seattle Works spent on me.’
This summer, after accepting the Executive Director position at NPower, Alison sought Amanda’s services again. ‘One of the smartest things I did was to meet with Amanda prior to starting at NPower. The organization had gone through an extended period of executive transition and I knew that NPower needed me to be a strong leader right out of the gate.’
Alison signed up for Amanda’s six-month Leadership Accelerator Coaching Package. Her weekly coaching sessions focused on how to help Alison lead a much larger organization, manage a staff that was tired out from two years of change, and work with a board that was ready to get going on strategic priorities. ‘Amanda’s coaching really supported me as I dealt with some pressing issues in the first 90 days and in helping me regulate the pace of new organizational changes. I felt confident that I could move everyone to the other side of the transition smoothly with speed and grace.’
Alison quickly realized that she also needed to get to know her senior management team. ‘We just needed to spend time together and get some cohesion as a group.’ The solution? A three-day leadership offsite for Alison and her senior team, designed and facilitated by Amanda.
‘Amanda did a great job of putting something together that really worked for us,’ Alison reflected. ‘She asked us all to read Patrick Lencioni’s Five Dysfunctions of a Team before the offsite. She stood his concept on its head a little and gave us her version of Five Functions of a High Performing Team. We focused on trust-building, conflict management, and ended up with operating agreements and a strategic goal for our leadership team.’
‘On top of that, Amanda employed creative facilitation like the Marshmallow Challenge, which helped us look at our collective collaboration style.’ Alison’s team also enjoyed Visit our Village, an exercise that was particularly helpful in addressing organizational culture and history. ‘This was a powerful way for the leadership team to share their feelings about the past. It was a cleansing process that resulted in a sense of closure, and ultimately gave us a clean slate from which we can move forward as a team.’