Coach for Confidence, Not Compliance

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As I emerge from the train station in the heart of San Francisco’s Mission District, my senses are overwhelmed with the sights, sounds, and smells of a bustling neighborhood. I’m in the Mission to provide coaching support to a program director at one of the community-based organizations in the neighborhood.

The Mission District is changing. The effects of gentrification and the housing crisis are visible everywhere. All my coaching clients in the neighborhood frequently mention the fears, vulnerability and active resistance of the immigrant community here. They do important and challenging work, and I’m painfully aware of my status as an outsider. So I step lightly, listen carefully and avoid giving any advice too quickly.

We sit down over a plate of pupusas in a bustling restaurant and my coaching client (I’ll call him S— to preserve his privacy). S— has been recently appointed to a leadership role in his organization, which provides after-school and summer programs. He was a student in the program years earlier, then a youth volunteer, entry-level staff member, site coordinator and now program director.

“Tell me about your team,” I prompt him…

Finish reading this article on the Youth Today website:



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