Lead with AgilityExecutive Coaching for Leaders

C3 Circle For Executive Directors

Get the support you need to be a connected, calm and confident Leader

Get more information about C3 Circles today!

Being the Executive Director of a nonprofit can be isolating. If you are like most EDs, you report to a group of volunteers who often have different opinions. You’re responsible for a staff, with no real peers at work. When you face tough challenges such as drops in funding, non-performing employees or greater need for your services, you don’t have the peer support that could help you with practical strategies, ideas and tools.

My name is Debbie Okerlund. I have been in your shoes, as an Executive Director for 14 years, and I am passionate about helping my clients connect with others in similar jobs and situations.

The C3 Circle is a 6-month coaching group for Executive Directors and CEOs like you, who want peer support and coaching through your toughest challenges – and to get your inspiration and motivation back.

In the C3 Circle, nonprofit EDs share real situations and receive feedback, ideas, insights and accountability from each other, facilitated by an Executive Coach (learn more about me here). You will also learn coaching skills, best practices and gain new tools for your work.  

Is the Executive Director Coaching Circle for me?


If any of these sound familiar to you, the C3 Circle might just be your answer!

C3 Circle for Executive Directors
Connected, Calm and Confident

During my 14 years as a nonprofit Executive Director, I experienced many of these same challenges. I loved my work, the clients, the volunteers and the mission.

But there were countless times when new situations caught me off guard and I knew I needed and could depend on the wisdom and expertise of other executive directors who understood.

The chance to talk through options and strategies, and the support and energy I felt after leaving my executive director group was invaluable!

I understand what you’re up against and know the satisfaction of meeting your mission when you’re on track. I have been facilitating and coaching Executive Director Circles for ten years and I know that when you connect with other like-minded EDs in a supportive structured group, your sense of connection, confidence and calm grow, and almost any challenge is surmountable.

C3 Circles are designed to:

Connect you with others who do what you do. You have an alliance of peers that support you and give you real time feedback.
Grow your Confidence to know what you are doing, by giving focused attention to your specific situation and challenges, and learning new skills and strategies you can use in your day to day relationships.
Generate the sense of Calm that comes from support, insights from like-minded peers and knowing what your next steps are. Soothe your anxieties so you go into stressful situations knowing what you will do and what you need to respond to.

“I leave our coaching group meetings feeling a renewed energy to tackle the challenges facing me. I appreciate the opportunity to share with others some of the challenges and frustrations of this (at times) lonely job.”Cindy, Executive Director, College of Business Admin Foundation at SSU; (former ED of Intercultural Student Experiences and Chrysalis Center for Women)
“As a new executive director, I questioned everything – my job skills, business knowledge, industry knowledge, leadership, supervisory and communication skills.”Bert, Executive Director, House of Charity

Contact Debbie to learn more about the next C3 Circles starting March 2023

email: debbie@leadwithagility.com or

call: 612-597-4459

Frequently Asked Questions/Comments

I am not sure I have the time. You are busy and you wear many hats. E.D.s in the coaching circles say that when they take time to recharge and reflect, it actually makes more time.

What is the cost benefit? Compared to other professional development opportunities, research shows that action learning circles are how you truly learn and make change. My experience with organizations is that Circles are one of the most efficient and effective ways for executive directors to problem-solve, learn and develop. Coaching circles are more affordable for nonprofit leaders than one-on-one coaching.

My board won’t let me spend the money. Most of the Executive Directors I have worked with find that when they have a heart-to-heart with the board chair about feeling isolated and needing some new leadership tools, they find a way to make this important investment. Hiring an executive coach would cost 2 to 3 times more than a C3 Circle.

Other information your board chair will want to know: The Circle comes with new connections to other executive directors and coaching skills training, critical for successful supervision and leadership.

What makes the Circles work? EDs in my circles say that what makes the process work so incredibly well are the values of trust, confidentiality and a shared commitment to supporting each others’ goals of problem solving, reflection, learning and renewal.

What about confidentiality? Coaching Group members and I fully commit to and honor the understanding that all discussions engaged in and information provided will be kept strictly confidential.

Why would I need a facilitated group – can’t I get the same thing with my close friends together? Most of us put off connection, reflection and leadership development; Because it’s not urgent, we don’t make the time. EDs in my circles say that committing to a group of like-minded colleagues means they get the focused attention they need to get the best return on time and energy.

C3 Circles are structured to be highly focused on Executive Director circle members:

1.  Sharing & getting coached on real life challenges and goals
2.  Learning & practicing coaching skills, giving feedback, asking powerful questions
3.  Helping each other learn from your experiences
4.  Giving and getting support for learning and reaching your goals

I am not available all the dates you listed. If you know you will miss two or more of the scheduled meetings, new C3 Coaching Circles start every month or two. When you register now, you will have first priority for the next group.

“It can be lonely at the top. I found the group is a great way to receive the needed support for very critical things in the day to day life for an executive director who has a myriad of stakeholders in a demanding new environment.”Barbara, former Executive Director, Phyllis Wheatley Community Center


How it works

Who is in the Circle

How the Circle meetings are structured

In each session:

During the 6 months:

What you will get from the C3 Circle:
Connection, Calm and Confidence and…

Want to learn more? Email or call Debbie to schedule a C3 Circle information call

email: debbie@leadwithagility.com

phone: 612.597.4459

“I can think of no other place where I can get such honest feedback that gently pushes me in the right direction.”Dori, former Executive Director, St. Paul Jewish Community Center; currently Community Cosultant, Mandel Center for Excellence in Leadership and Management
“…It is so helpful to be in the company of folk who have had the same experiences and issues. The help of the EDs Circle is private, supportive, intelligent and USEFUL.” Fred, Former President and CEO, The City, Inc.

Want to learn more to see if you’re a fit?

Schedule a C3 Circles information call with Debbie


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