Baltimore: innovative partnership-based coaching brings positive grassroots change

August 9, 2018
Angie Dabbs 
is a graduate of CPS’ Changing Our Story, Changing Our Lives: Riane Eisler’s Cultural Transformation Course.”Angie and her colleague, Janet Ladd wrote in to share ther work in an innovative coaching/social justice community initiative that highlights the power of partnership values.

Angie writes:
In recent years, Baltimore, Maryland, has been facing an increasing homicide rate. In 2017, that number reached 343, its highest ever. The oldest victim? 97. The youngest? Just one.

In 2015, Baltimore made worldwide news with an eruption of civil unrest after the death of Freddie Gray while in police custody. In addition to the growing homicide rate, countless articles and alarming reports point to the surge in opioid-related deaths, and according to recent reports, approximately 23% of the population lives below the poverty line.

As Baltimore grew more notorious for its crime, violence, and homicides, myself and Janet Ladd, Chair of the International Coach Federation-Maryland Chapter (ICF-MD) Outreach Committee, and our ICF-MD colleagues were driven to connect with the city in a meaningful way.

ICF-MD is a vibrant and growing organization that supports the needs of professional coaches throughout the state of Maryland. Its Community Outreach focus is to promote social good and positive community change in Maryland through the volunteer services of its members. With the goal of starting small but with a passionate commitment to impact the Baltimore community in an immediate and big way, we spent months researching opportunities where coaching could influence positive social change at a grassroots level. This led to a meaningful partnership with Turnaround Tuesday (TAT).

TAT is a second-chance jobs movement sponsored by Baltimoreans United in Leadership Development (BUILD). Its mission is to train “returning” and unemployed citizens to reenter the workforce and develop public relationships to create safe, thriving communities. Amid the turmoil in Baltimore, BUILD recognized the increasing need for social change, and its leaders took to the streets to identify how to make the city a better place to live. They talked to people on street corners and knocked on doors. They asked community citizens what they believed was needed to reduce crime and drug use. They probed to determine what would increase citizens’ ability to not just survive, but thrive.

The number one “survive and thrive” answer? People needed employability skills, living-wage jobs, and the means to get to them. Without jobs, people expressed despair and hopelessness. Without jobs, drug use, drug sales, crime, and unrest would inevitably persist.

They meet people where they are and seek change – not FOR people – but WITH people.

Both BUILD and ICF-MD’s partner organization, TAT, which was born as a result of the “on-the-street” conversations, rallied to support constructive change efforts, including approaching the area’s largest employers to help put Baltimore’s citizens to work. As new partnerships were forged, TAT provided educational opportunities for participants to learn job-readiness skills, including relationship-building, leadership, and conflict resolution.

A unique element of the program and the secret to TAT’s success lies in their commitment to identify and develop leaders in every neighborhood. They meet people where they are and seek change – not FOR people – but WITH people. They build power by building community.

Many of these approaches to change are rooted in coaching: meeting people face-to-face, where they are, without judgment, to build relationships first. And Ladd and a group of dedicated volunteers brought that coaching magic to life. Their work with TAT has evolved in the last 18 months, and an amazing team of volunteer coaches continues to support TAT participants and graduates with:

• Resume writing and interview preparation.

• Changing the narrative they hold of themselves by moving from victims of their difficult past to empowered individuals with passions and strengths. This narrative shift results in identifying a dream, viable opportunities, and meaningful work.

• Group coaching to build community and find comfort, courage, and support.

This video captures the essence of the partnership.

Our team clearly believes in the power of coaching, and we have individual success stories to demonstrate its efficacy. More than that, we believe in the power coaching has to create trust, bring individuals together, develop communities of support, break down barriers, reignite dreams, and — perhaps most of all — create hope.

For more information about ICF-MD’s Outreach Committee, please contact Janet Ladd at




Angie Dabbs is an International Coach Federation-credentialed coach, a member of the ICF-Maryland chapter, and a part of the ICF-MD Outreach Committee. She is in the process of becoming one of the volunteer coaches in Baltimore’s Turnaround Tuesday program, and will soon step in as the chair of the ICF-MD Outreach Committee.

This Post Has One Comment

  1. Riva Gilman Reply


    I am an over 60 woman living in Brooklyn, NY. Can you tell me if there are any groups near me where I can participate in promoting partnership programs for the needs of women in my age group?

    Thank you!

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