In the non-profit world, much of our focus and resources are given to women we serve, and rightly so. However, we also believe that our team is one of our greatest resources, and to invest in their development ia a direct investment into the quality of our work. So this past January, that’s exactly what we did.
When our Executive Director, Corey Allison, first floated the idea of bringing the Coaches Training Institute (CTI) in to do their Fundamentals workshop as a staff retreat, even she didn’t believe it could happen given the financial and logistical barriers. Reluctantly, she made a call and CTI team member Rachel Baldi picked up on the other end. Rachel immediately got behind Corey’s vision because of her personal passion for violence against women (VAW) work and together, they set out to make this happen. After landing a grant from the Ministry of Community and Social Services (thank you!) and a combination of perseverance, generosity and will, it did!
CTI (or Coaches Training Institute) is a world-renowned company that pioneered life-coaching, and the Co-Active Coach® Model. The company describes their training:
So for 2.5 days, the WRRC team went away and participated in CTI’s Fundamentals course. The course was super interactive and gave us new tools and language to work co-actively with each other and the women we serve. Working from the co-active cornerstone that everyone, no matter where they come from or how traumatic their life experience, is creative, resourceful and whole.
Our CTI facilitators Kristen and Lorry pushed us to dig deeper, ask more powerful questions, be courageous and to look through a new, more open perspective. Here’s what WRRC Transition Advocate Klaire Gain had to say about the training. (P.S. VAW = Violence Against Women, you’ll see below).
While we’re on the topic, another one of the reasons we think CTI’s approach is a good fit for WRRC is because of their alignment with our values. At WRRC we value examining our power (and how we use it) and constantly challenge ourselves to take greater responsibility for our impact in the world. It is clear that CTI and its members are doing the same thing. Listen to what our awesome facilitator Kristen has to say about exploring power and privilege within the world of CTI:
It’s one thing for a company to say they are looking at diversity, power and privilege but it’s another thing for them to walk their talk. This is where CTI really impressed us! At one point in the workshop we stopped the facilitators and questioned their process (because as feminists we question evvvvveeerrryyything)! From our perspective, some of the gendered language they were using was dismissive to some participants who did not identify with binary gender labels. Lorry was so open to hearing our point of view and met us with curiosity and a desire to understand. Together, we negotiated the language we would use for the rest of the session (this is called Designing our Alliance, one of our new CTI tools!). Let’s face it, sometimes it’s not easy being in a room full of feminists, but Lorry’s co-active approach and vulnerability developed deeper trust between himself and the team. We love you Lorry and you are a shining example of how CTI is walking its talk.
Thanks challenging us. We were happy to return the favour 😉
Safe to say that many of us didn’t know what to expect going into this retreat. We knew Corey was amped up about it, and that was about it. Two days later, we were armed and ready to take on the challenging aspects of our work with a new, co-active approach; showing up curious about our differences and believing we are creative, resourceful and whole beings offers new possibilities for how we work with each other, and how we relate to women who come to us for support. As a team, we saw how this will be a game changer! We work in a system that identifies women who have been abused as helpless victims and professionals as experts. At WRRC, we have always believed that women are the experts in their own lives, but now we language and tools to express that in a more consistent way that is reflected in our actions.
Back at WRRC, we’re already taking our CTI learning to heart. Whether it’s in the small ways we interact with our team members, or in conversations with women and kids, we’re using these new skills. We’re not looking back – only forward to new and creative ways we can continue to stretch ourselves, and the women who come to our door.
(We’d be remiss to not mention our amazing assistants for our workshop. Special thanks to Gail Barker who is not only a certified CTI Coach and author, but a WRRC Board Member as well! And Sue Das, also on her own CTI Coaching journey, who has a blog called “Beyond the Shadow”, where she encourages everyone to live a life filled with courage.)back