You have spinach in your teeth

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It’s easier to see the spinach in someone else’s teeth than our own.

This season always invites a bit of reflection, and coaching’s been on my mind lately. It’s a big part of what I do, and I genuinely love it. Working with such committed leaders is a privilege, and I feel lucky to do so.

Over the past year, I’ve been mulling over the idea of “having people on our side.” That person or people in our corner.

That’s the heart of coaching, isn’t it? As a leader, having a coaching mindset can really nurture and develop everyone around you – your colleagues, your team, and even those on the board. Yep, all of us!

Have you ever wondered why athletes and singers have coaches, but other pros don’t? Atul Gawande, a writer I really admire, talked about how top performers need deliberate practice. In this article, which is a delight to read, Gawande reminds us that you gotta work on what you’re not so great at. Thing is, many folks don’t know where to start or how to get that practice in.

One of the key practices that leaders can adopt is providing constructive feedback. I can’t stress it enough: clear feedback is kindness. Being kind takes real courage, you know? Too often we dodge pointing out “the spinach.” You know, those little issues we hope will vanish.

We humans are a tough bunch. We shy away from criticism and exposure. But here’s the trick: Conversations practiced with kindness and clarity can be the ace up your sleeve.

In Radical Candor, Kim Scott nails it – when your colleagues know that you care about them as people, you can be direct without wrecking your work relationships.

Think about it as you look back on 2023 and peek ahead to 2024 and beyond. Imagine the possibilities when leaders open up to support through coaching and feedback. There is so much more we can do to make our workplaces, teams, and communities healthier and happier.

So, how about making a New Year’s resolution? Be that kind of truth-teller, the one who’s open and vulnerable. And hey, the next time you see me with “spinach in my teeth,” give me a heads-up. I promise I’ll do the same for you.

Let’s stride into the future together! Wishing you a season full of joy and a New Year bursting with opportunities!


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Hey there, I'm Kimberley

Welcome! I believe our social sector organizations are at the forefront of making here better. With more than 33 years of diversified fundraising and nonprofit experience, I partner with courageous organizations committed to building clarity and confidence. Let’s connect and chart your nonprofit’s path to thriving. 

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