Master Juggler Series: Coaching Essentials

At Exponent Philanthropy, we believe strong relationships drive effective philanthropy. Our members’ experience has shown that the most impactful funders view themselves as collaborative partners working alongside their grantees and others in the community. These funders recognize the need to tap into the knowledge and wisdom of nonprofits, community leaders, and partners in order to create the change they hope to see in their communities. They also have fully activated board members and staff at the heart of these efforts.

A “coach approach” to philanthropy offers you an opportunity to use deep listening and powerful questions to transform these key relationships. Equipped with a coaching mindset and skillset, you will be better able to help both yourself and others gain awareness, discover new ways of thinking, and focus on creating collaborative solutions. Ultimately, it’s all in service of achieving a greater impact through philanthropy.

In this program, you will:

  • Build the fundamental coaching skills of listening deeply, asking powerful questions, and offering observations and feedback
  • Practice using the principles and skills of coaching in a 3-month peer coaching relationship
  • Learn how to apply a coach approach to critical relationships with trustees, staff, grantees, and community leaders

Are you a fit for this program?

This program is designed to support Foundation Executive Directors who are:

  • Committed to working collaboratively with their grantees and leveraging the knowledge and experiences of the communities they serve
  • Passionate about supporting others (including colleagues, grantees, and community members) to fulfill their highest future potential
  • Interested in mentoring and developing their staff and board
  • Self-reflective, humble, and compassionate

Program Components

In-person Training Intensive
April 23-24, 2018 in Chicago
At this 1.5 day training intensive you will develop and strengthen a coaching mindset, learn and practice key coaching skills, and gain knowledge, insight and feedback from the program’s outstanding faculty and your cohort peers

Virtual Peer Coaching, Practice, and Guidance
3-5 conference calls May through July
You will participate in several virtual coaching sessions with an assigned peer coaching circle.  These sessions will serve as participants’ training ground—a safe space to practice, learn, and grow while making progress toward a specific self-selected goal. A weekly coaching practice, live Q&A calls, and an online community will also provide you with the opportunity to ask questions, receive guidance, and work through challenges together with faculty support.

Application to Philanthropy
September 27, 2018 in Philadelphia
(prior to the Exponent Philanthropy National Conference)
You will come back together with your cohort for an interactive full-day session focused on applying a coach approach to a specific relationship in your philanthropy. You will leave with a personal action plan and ongoing support for how to use the coaching mindset and skill set to advance your work.

Application Procedure

Participation is by online application only, and space is limited to ensure a first-rate experience for all involved. The application includes three open-ended questions, preview those here.
Application deadline is March 1, 2018.

Applications will be reviewed to ensure that participants are committed to this unique training opportunity. This program is designed specifically for Executive Directors, and we will assess all applications to ensure a diverse range of experience, perspectives, and geography. We will also consider the fit between applicants’ learning objectives and training design.

Program Fee: $1,595
The program is only offered to Exponent Philanthropy members.

Refund and Cancellation Policy

Participants accepted to the program pay a program fee of $1,595 and must attend both in-person intensive components in order to take part in this year’s cohort. Accepted participants who cannot attend the in-person trainings are not eligible to be in the cohort; their registrations will be canceled.

By applying for this program, participants are agreeing to the Exponent Philanthropy Participant Guidelines.

For accepted and paid applicants, we understand that situations may arise that prevent your participation in the cohort. However, cancellations (especially those close to the event date) can negatively impact the cost-effectiveness and quality of our programs. We, therefore, will not issue refunds for cancellations within 3 weeks of the start of the program; prior to that date, refunds are only approved under extreme circumstances when submitted in writing and will be subject to a $75 processing fee. Please submit all cancellations by e-mail to