The Many Ways CNM Ingenuity’s Financial Coach Program Is Making a Difference

Mitch Margolis attended the program and spoke to us about how it helped him become a more effective coach when working with refugees and asylum seekers in the Bay Area
February 18, 2021

Back in 2018 Mitch Margolis was a financial coach with the International Rescue Committee (IRC), a non-profit that works with refugees and asylum seekers who are trying to restart their lives in the United States.

Mitch is based in the Bay Area of California and worked with people from all over the world. Often, he says, he and his coworkers would find a job for their clients, but the clients would refuse because that job just served as what they called a “survival job.” It helped the refugee or asylum seekers gain income but didn’t provide a long-term roadmap for creating roots in the U.S.

Then, Mitch and several of his coworkers participated in a five-day Financial Coach Training program in Sacramento, California that was administered by CNM Ingenuity’s Coach Training Program. In the training, Mitch says he and his coworkers were taught how to take a more holistic approach to financial coaching and advised on how to create long-term success for their clients.

“We quickly realized our approach was not as helpful as it could be,” Mitch says. 

With a broader approach as the goal, Mitch says the program taught him and his coworkers how to advise on everything from saving money to building a credit score. Many refugees and asylum seekers, he says, don’t understand that most Americans take out loans for larger items like cars and houses. But loans aren’t given out unless the borrower has an acceptable credit score. 

“Nowadays, we don’t just talk about short-term survival with our clients,” he says. “We also try to map out their long-term plans and go over everything from how to build a credit score to how to avoid predatory lending.”

Ann Lyn Hall, CNM’s Interim Vice President of Student Services and one of the founders of the CNM Coach Training program, says she and the development team were committed to ensuring coaches knew how to work with whatever community they were advising.

“We developed the CNM Financial Coach Training program to impact change in the communities coaches served,” she says. “Our training was the only one on the market to build coaching skills in non-profit and educational institutions, and it meets clients where they are, and provides them with the language and the skills to guide them along their path to success.”

Mitch says he appreciated the CNM approach so much that he subsequently became a trainer and then went on to become one of CNM’s first Certified Coaches. The CNM Certified Coach designation provides Mitch with a credential from a nationally recognized program and demonstrates to the coaching community a high level of professional experience and commitment to the field. His training through IRC also allows Mitch to train others to become coaches.

Mitch says it was refreshing to see CNM approach the pedagogy of coaching with an underserved community in mind. Reciprocally, CNM is proud that graduates like Mitch have become so committed.

“Recognizing the potential for coaching as a skill, it’s great to see people like Mitch and their impact within their communities,” says Kyle Lee, CNM Ingenuity’s Chief Executive Officer. “It validates the efficacy of the coaching model.”

Today, Mitch is an Economic Empowerment Manager with IRC, which means he oversees economic programs. He’s excited to keep using what he learned and excited to pass it on to new coaches.  

“The coaching training through CNM Ingenuity and the skills I gained through the certification process have truly transformed the work I do with refugees, asylees, and other newcomers to the U.S. who want to rebuild their lives and achieve their goals and dreams,” he says. 

The next five-day Financial Coach Program starts April 19. Register here. Learn more about CNM Coach Certification here