Home Concepts Ethics Coaching for the Greater Good: Interview with Bill Carrier and Alex Petroff

Coaching for the Greater Good: Interview with Bill Carrier and Alex Petroff

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Alex also wanted to add the following comments about his work with Bill Carrier:

One thing I would like to add on a personal note, is what a great fit Bill Carrier has been for me.  He understands my value structure and has been effective in rewiring my brain because by understanding my values he can chart a logical path to support them, that, in the fog of war, I don’t see.  That has been the special sauce of our relationship.  In 10 years, no matter the trouble, I haven’t had a single conversation that I have gone away without an “ah ha!” moment.  I know that not everyone works the same way, however, for Bill and I it has been extremely productive.

In addition, we have provided a statement that Alex submitted to TEDfellows–which provided the coaching services provided by Bill Carrier:

Dear TEDFellows Program,

I am writing to you after the completion of at least the first stage, of the coaching program; that you, together with the Harnisch Foundation, and my coach Bill Carier, have very generously made available to me.  While assessing the impact of anything is difficult, as life is never a controlled test, I thought I would share with you what I feel the impact of the coaching program has been on me.  My life and work have changed substantially for the better over the past year since I began the program, and while other factors clearly play a part such as, gigantic and stable funding, finding new ways to analyze my model, and coming up with an elevator pitch, I would like to try and isolate what the effect of the program has been on me, to the best of my ability, so that it might better inform you of the impact of your efforts.

First I should mention that I came into the coaching program without a clue as to what it was and how a coach could help me.  To be honest I joined because of the social pressure of being asked by Ruth Ann and Logan if I had signed up yet, every time I saw them.  When it was explained to me, I was very skeptical as to its real impact as it was not something I could touch, nor seemed to based on measurable results that I could see.  However, I decided to go forward with it as it was only 10 hours and people I respected seemed to think it was a good idea.

As luck would have it I had my first real session right before I went to give a presentation to a foundation later be my organization’s largest donor.  While there is no way of knowing what the result would have been if I had not had that coaching session beforehand, I believe that session played an important part in changing my whole approach to fundraising.

The problem I presented my coach Bill was that I had a hard time fundraising because I didn’t like asking for money.  We talked it through and he isolated the idea that it was probably my Yankee upbringing that made me feel uncomfortable with the idea of asking for something that I hadn’t earned.  It may seem like common sense now but for years I didn’t see it as such; the fact was that I had an amazing organization that was doing really impressive things.  So he turned the whole thing around for me, and put it to me that I wasn’t asking for money that I hadn’t earned, but was in fact making a transaction.

Foundations exist to give money to amazing organizations that are having impact in the fields of their interests, and I had an exceptionally cool organization that was doing just that.  I was not asking for money but was offering them an opportunity to get involved in something that was changing the lives of thousands of people.  If the NGO world was likened to that of the food industry, I was thinking of my organization as a lemonade stand, when in reality I had a fabulous restaurant with a world class master chef.

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