Professionals can work with volunteers

A manager in a not-for-profit organisation was finding that boundaries had blurred between himself and the volunteer Chairperson. He found the Chairperson would often seek involvement in management matters and he felt frustrated at not being able to resolve this effectively.

During coaching he learned to clarify the relevant issues and identified a need to help the Chairperson to understand:
  • the role of the manager in managing staff and
  • the role of the manager in managing the use of the office space day by day

Separating management and governance
Through the coaching process, the manager overcame his sense of frustration.  He did this by working on a clear separation of roles between management and governance and identified specific behaviours he wished to use to affect change in his style and in the interactions with the Chairperson.

The manager then made an action plan and implemented it. A month later he confirmed “the plan I made really worked; I wrote a report for the committee noting the key issues for the organisation and committee and who needed to do what. The report was well received and the discussion was productive and appropriate in relation to our respective roles. We now have new energy and we plan to do a session to further develop committee members roles.”

“You helped me clarify the issues and see what I needed to do. Now the staff situation is good, the committee is working well and I have said no when I need to. I am meeting with other managers throughout the region regularly. Things are definitely looking up!”

Ruth’s experience within community organisations for over thirty years means she is familiar with the environment of those organisations and the challenges of getting professionals and volunteers working together in the best possible ways.

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