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Poverty & Equity Thought Leadership

A New Avenue for Self-Empowerment – Families First Joining With Partners in Change to Offer Free Adult Life Coaching

It has been a long-standing practice for business people to receive personal coaching to support their advancement and success. This powerful resource also has been made available to those who enter the military, attend post-secondary education, or end up in a large company with a strong professional development program. People outside these parameters have not had access. Until now.

Partners in Change (PIC), in partnership with Families First, is seeking to change that reality and level the playing field. PIC is creating a new model of support by bringing this proven tool for advancement to Atlanta adults from under-resourced communities. 

“My PIC Coach is the perfect accountability partner. I’m glad I’m in this program because it’s making me work harder to achieve my goals.

Founder Neil Shorthouse (who also co-founded Communities in Schools) has long felt drawn to address ways to empower individuals. “Every person deserves the opportunity to build skills and experiences that enable them to create new life trajectories. Our relationship-focused program enables just that.”

PIC pairs community members (PIC Members) one-to-one with trained volunteers (PIC Coaches). Offered at no charge to the Members, teams talk weekly for one year, with Coaches offering ongoing opportunities for their Members to build long-term, transformational skills. 

“I look forward to our calls. They are a reminder that I’m on a journey and I have a genuine person rooting for me.“

To achieve this mission to bring 1:1 coaching to as many people as possible, PIC’s first task was to identify and develop a coaching model focusing on the Member’s self-empowerment. “We needed to ensure that our Coaches gained communication tools that support their members’ own development and personal growth” says Chief Operating and Engagement Officer Kathleen Bryant.

Research has validated the power of this non-directive approach, showing coaching leads to improvements in goal attainment, mental wellness, and quality of life. “We created a virtual, six-hour, interactive training that gives our volunteer coaches skills in active listening, open-ended questions, and constructive challenging” says Bryant.

“Listening and reflecting has made my Member comfortable to share her life stories and put things in perspective. Once she talks things through, you can almost see the light bulb go off in knowing what steps are necessary.”

With its coaching model refined, PIC turned its focus to the critical work of promoting this new resource in the community. “We have partnerships with a wide range of organizations to spread the word to their clients that this personal tool for growth exists” says Director of Community Partnerships Kim Owens. “Orientation sessions help PIC Members understand our program and prepare for their own success.”

Families First CEO DePriest Waddy was thrilled when he heard about PIC’s new coaching program. “This program breaks new ground. At Families First, we have recommitted to building resiliency in our parents rather than dependency. The Partners in Change coaching model seeks that same goal and we are pleased to be offering it to our parents.”

Once PIC teams are paired, Members and Coaches share weekly phone calls over one year, exploring the Member’s self-identified goals and supporting his/her progress in achieving them. PIC staff regularly check-in with each team, helping them navigate any challenges and ensuring a strong relationship.

In this first year, 98 paired coaching teams have launched and PIC is adding teams weekly in an effort to make this valuable tool available to as many eligible Atlantans as possible.

“A number of service paradigms and personal stereotypes are holding many people back” says Shorthouse. “We believe Partners in Change offers a new way for large numbers of adults to assert greater control in their lives. And as each Member and Coach grows through their relationship, their experiences will be shared with family, friends, and community. And that can lead to powerful positive growth for Atlanta as a whole.”

Give someone the gift of self-empowerment. Tell others about this free life coaching resource, or become a trained PIC coach yourself. For more information or to apply, visit www.picusa.org or contact info@picusa.org. PIC’s next Coach Trainings will be held Nov. 13 and 16.


This is sponsored content.


  1. Reese Evans November 22, 2021 11:43 pm

    Amazing article that implies self empowerment can help a person to do well in their real life career. I loved this.Report

  2. LifeCoach April 14, 2022 9:25 am

    Hi everyone. My compliments for your initiative and for what you are doing. I am a Life Coach and I fully agree with you on the usefulness and effectiveness of the Coaching method, I would like Coaching to be included in every area of ​​education, training and work, it would be a valid resource for everyone.Report


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