Create Your Own Consulting or Coaching Frameworks



People love to follow a good system. Just look at the hundreds (thousands?) of popular diets and fitness regimes out there.

You might think of it as a process, method, game plan, or recipe. But in consulting or coaching, it’s often called a framework. SWOT analysis is a framework.  Myers-Briggs is a framework.

It’s your approach to solving common problems for your clients. You can make up frameworks yourself, or you can adopt frameworks created by others. (If you use someone else’s, be sure to do your research. Sometimes simply acknowledging the creator is enough; other times you need to pay a licensing fee.)

Sometimes a framework is a step-by-step process, other times it’s more of a checklist. Sometimes they are attached to specific timelines. Frameworks are often expressed visually.

I’ve found frameworks, even very simple, limited ones, to be extremely helpful in working with nonprofits. It gives everyone — you and your clients — a place to start and a way to move forward together. Frameworks can be especially helpful in giving some structure to otherwise hard-to-grasp conceptual work. They can also add some credibility to your work. When they are really good, they can become a core part of your brand.

Because of all of these benefits, you can also use them in your marketing!

Here a few examples of frameworks I have created:

The Six Rs of Message Relevance – This is a simple PDF that many people have told me they’ve printed out and keep next to their computers.

Six Month Mentoring Program for Communications Directors  – In each month of the program, we cover one of six core elements of nonprofit marketing that I defined as:

  • Your Community
  • Your Messages
  • Your Style
  • Your Plan
  • Your Tools
  • Your Team

“Start Here, Then Try, Next Steps”  — We created this framework to organize a lot of the free advice we offer on our website. You can see it at work on these pages on growing your email list and email newsletters.  We also use it to organize the content within the Mentoring Program for Communications Directors.

CALM: Collaborative, Agile, Logical, and Methodical. This is brand-new one that I just released today! I’ll be expanding on this the rest of the week on the Nonprofit Communications Blog and using it in some new coaching programs I’m planning.

Think about how you can create a framework for the consulting or coaching you do with nonprofits. It can make your marketing much easier! 



  • Jeanne

    What an awesome post! Just what I needed to think about a current project that I’m developing. Thanks for sharing- i’ll share my framework when I complete it.

    • Kivi Leroux Miller

      Glad you found it helpful Jeanne! Can’t wait to see what you come up with.

  • Amy Butcher

    Yes, great post! I’ve actually come up with a few ideas, but then I thought I maybe was going into framework overload that would overwhelm people. I also have a ton of worksheets that I download and don’t use, so that was also something in the back of my mind. I think that making the sheet graphic heavy and at-a-glance like you did, Kivi, is something that really works (instead of just a boring Excel sheet), and I’m going to try that too.

  • John Hornbeck

    Kivi, love all of your work, and this is another most excellent summary of ideas and resources. Have one question. In training we usualy review “Your Team” before “Your Plan” and “Your Tools”. Our reason for this is that the staff/volunteer resources a nonprofit has (often very limited for small to medium organizations) can make a big difference in crafting a realistic plan and in which of the huge universe of tools will most likely work for them. Any reason that you place them in this order?

    • Kivi Leroux Miller

      I think you can go either way with it. For this particular program, we are trying to help communications directors see everything that they are responsible for in a well-marketed and well-managed organization, and then talk about building the team to do it. But you can certainly start with where you are resource-wise and then only talk about what’s doable.

      • John Hornbeck

        Makes perfect sense. As always, depends on the audience.