Leading in the nonprofit sector has its own set of unique challenges. Aside from the need to secure funding, nonprofit leaders need to know how to accept help. They also run team missions on impossible budgets and balance innovation with production to meet organizational goals.

With too many pressing priorities, and with the work of nonprofits of vital importance to communities, nonprofit leaders too often burn out. So, how can organizations support them in their executive roles?

The role of coaching for nonprofit leaders

Nonprofit executives need support. With a high rate of executive burnout, driven by passion and vision, there may be a gap in knowledge or skills causing stress levels. Use coaching to support nonprofit leaders can help reduce the overall stress of the job. There are so many benefits coaching can offer. Here are a few.

Build better relationships with the board

There can be times relationships are strained between you and the board of directors. This can be from a lack of communication and, maybe, a competitiveness to maintain autonomy between departments rather than working together as a team. Leadership development coaching understands these challenges. It will give you the tools to communicate your vision, and the challenges, across the organization more collaboratively and effectively.

Reduced chances of burnout

The Daring to Lead national study by CompassPoint and the Meyer Foundation in 2011, revealed some interesting facts about the retirement plans, and the stress levels of managers and executive directors. According to the study results, more than 10 percent of all executive directors resign from their leadership positions because they burn out and 75 percent make a conscious decision to leave their executive position at some time during their career.

While you think you are managing your stress well, and have it under control, chances are you are burning out beneath a load of responsibilities that just keep growing. A coach can help to reduce your stress and keep you functioning efficiently. Coaches show you how to develop healthy positive habits and how to take part in ‘real life’ to reduce the pressure you feel every day.

Balance work and life

Stress builds up when you do not have enough time for the things you need to do. Home will often take a backseat to the pressures of work, and the guilt of letting your family down may add to stress levels. You want to spend more time with those you love, but maybe do not know how to better balance your work and life demands. An experienced coach will look at how you are managing this delicate balancing act. They will determine just how you can fine tune how you do things, so you can spend more time with the ones you love and still achieve your goals.

Mission with a vision

If you are on a mission, then you need a clear vision you can communicate across the organization, so you can delegate your team for positive results. A good coach will help you better understand the primary purpose of your nonprofit organization. This will give you the insight to determine the best direction moving forward.

Be innovative and think creatively

As a nonprofit leader, much of your work involves fundraising. Understanding how to work with different cultures, organizations, and individuals is an essential part of your job. Coaching helps you adjust your attitude and see things with a new perspective. This will help you develop better management skills for more effective communicate with everyone. A coach will give you tools and methods to motivate innovation and to think creatively.

No need to feel isolated

Nonprofit leaders can feel isolated if removed from closely working with their teams. You may feel disconnected from the workplace banter because of your how your leadership position is perceived. A coach will help you balance being open with everyone while maintaining respect for your position. You want people to feel at ease around you because then they will share their challenges and ideas, and talk openly with you as another team member.

Building a team

Create an environment of open communication where everyone learns from one another. Create defined roles and responsibilities for team members. This gives them direction to enable better communication and collaboration with each other. Working this way will up productivity and produce better results from strengthened teamwork driven by a trained leader.

Have a succession plan

While most nonprofit leaders plan to withdraw from the responsibility within three to five years, six out of 10 have no succession plan for when they leave. A nonprofit leader with executive leadership coaching can pass their knowledge on to their staff. A well-trained nonprofit leader will help their staff learn the skills and responsibilities required to succeed in a leadership position. Doing this allows for a smooth transition when you step away from the leadership role.


Leading organizations encourage their leaders to continue learning. They understand that every day the world changes in many ways. To stay relevant and to keep pace, you need the agility to change as you need to. Leadership coaches are out in the world working with diverse people from all walks of life. They keep up with the latest changes, and instinctively know how to work with individuals and their nonprofits to achieve the results required.

If your nonprofit is facing challenges, or your leadership team is facing burnout, consider hiring a leadership coach to bring an objective view so you can see solutions rather than challenges.