Closeup of a map of Los Angeles, California with red pin and magnifying glass

Exciting things are happening in the Los Angeles area, as the Leadership that Works team embarks on bringing coaching skills to the social justice and non-profit sector. “We are working to train people in grass-roots, community organizations to ‘upgrade their operating systems’ by using coaching skills in their daily operations,” says LTW faculty member Damon Azali-Rojas.

In addition to bringing coaching to the non-profit sector of LA, Damon says another big goal is to increase the number of coaches of color; bilingual coaches; and coaches that have the nuance and nimbleness to coach leaders in the social justice field.

This past fall, the LA team led two successful coaching courses—first, Damon and LTW faculty member, Belma González facilitated a two-day Coaching Essentials session that was geared toward community organizers and professionals from the non-profit field. “I had never seen a coach training in the US in which over 80% were people of color. It was like the United Nations of coaching,” says Damon.

The two-day workshop resulted in such high interest that in November, Damon and Stacey Strongarone (’14), led a half-day workshop for program officers from philanthropic organizations, where the focus was on developing a coach approach to have more authentic relationships with their grantee partners.

“We had conversations about how to be aware of power relationships and how to create an authentic relationship between grantees and grantors using coaching skills,” says Damon. “We’re continuing to have a series of follow-up conversations to help program officers unpack this information and bring it to their organizations.”

Both sessions were co-sponsored and hosted by the Liberty Hill Foundation, which works to bring social change through grants, leadership trainings, and campaigns. A particularly exciting development is the upcoming three-day Coaching Skills for Social Justice Organizations Training through Liberty Hill’s Wally Marks Leadership Institute for Change. “We are not only giving participants coaching skills they can use immediately but we are also helping them design and embed coaching structures throughout their organization—from their community members to their Board of Directors, “ says Damon.

“During the two-day Coaching Essentials training, I appreciated the conversation on how we bring our full-self; that is really important to how we work,” says Evelin Montes, Director of Grantmaking & Capacity Building Initiatives at Liberty Hill.

“Liberty Hill values capacity building and understands that it is a long-term process. Supplementing grantees with coaching skills training and a coaching approach to their day-to-day work will enhance their relationships with colleagues, community members, and even their loved ones! Social change work is a commitment, and coaching skills is a great resource to have in the tool box as we work to dismantle oppressive systems.”

In addition to future partnerships with the Liberty Hill Foundation, Damon and the team are in conversation with other area foundations about including their foundation staff members, grantee staff, and volunteer grassroots leaders in Coaching for Community Transformation programs or Coaching Essentials workshops.

Next up in Los Angeles:

  • Coaching Essentials workshop: March 19-20 at Liberty Hill Foundation
  • Coaching for Transformation certification training: September 19, 2015 – May 17, 2016