Coaching Trainer & Personal Strategist @ Tee Barnett Coaching Training (TBCT)
730 karmaJoined Working (6-15 years)


Personal Strategist & Coaching Trainer

More on how the coaching training & matchmaking went
More on my coaching trials with a dozen EA leaders

Reach out @ teebarnett.com

I'm a co-founder and current board director of Rethink Charity (RC), a project collective that launched and/or incubated several EA community building projects, including Rethink Priorities, RC Forward, the EA Hub, the EA Survey, EA Giving Tuesday, and fiscal sponsorship for numerous startup EA-aligned projects.

RC Projects that have since closed down include Students for High-Impact Charity, the Local Effective Altruism Network and Rethink Grants.



It's heartbreaking. My unmistakable sense of Marisa is that she had the kind of soul that we need in this world. It's hard to accept living in a reality that can feel so inhospitable to someone like that. 

It was an honor to have shared a small part of my life alongside a person that clearly left a lasting beautiful impression on so many people, evidenced by Carrick's loving post, Catherine's heartwarming pictures & comments, and the other outpouring of grief from those who knew her. 

Marisa was a beloved and critical member of the Rethink Charity team for years. Quoting what I'd said before when she moved on at the time in 2021: 

However impactful we feel RC has been over the years, much of that was made possible due to the operational foundations designed and delivered by Marisa Lynne. (Oh how a swiftly worded phrase encompasses years of dedication, sweat, tears, etc.)

They came out of seemingly nowhere as this industrious young powerhouse who just wanted to help, distinguishing themselves as a volunteer to such a degree that we simply had to have them on the team. The EA community more broadly is surely also better for it.

Some years later, their blend of heart, desire and applied intellect is still rare for me to encounter in people much their senior.

So here's to you, Marisa. It was an honor to be on this mission with you. I'm sure there's a lot of greatness and (more importantly IMO) goodness ahead for you

God speed!

I have so many futile wishes about all of this. The last few days have been about trying to pay her life respect by how I think about the time we shared and what her struggle might have been like. My thoughts are with anyone who was close with her. 

Glad it was helpful! Happy to see that you utilized the 'playlist'-type function of this to kick off these thoughts

This sounds like a nice process you've carved out for yourself. Always pleased to see when people are at such an advanced position in being conscientious about their growth. 

Similar to what it sounds like your process is, my sense is that the best frequency for working with most coaches/therapists follows an 'organic cadence' that's tied to particular phases and occasions. It seems like, in most cases, consistent indefinite sessions are more likely to stray from addressing things that are (a)live

Things I'd suggest that could be helpful to think about: 

– There's a meta-skill to knowing when to bring in certain people to lean on / get inspired by in different situations. Viewing that as an ongoing learning project to reflect on could be good. (It could imply that you want to strengthen aspects of your network in case you want to call upon them, for example) 
– This project of knowing when to bring certain people in can be enhanced by more information about use cases associated with different people and frequencies. Maybe self-coaching is great for certain territories of your experience, but consistent founder-coaching while you're in phases of creation, scaling up, management, etc. are almost always useful. A lot of this is tied to seasonality and phases in my mind. Bringing in a coach 'to thrive' in winter, when you're likely to be more introspective, etc., could be better than doing so in the summer, when you might want to be having experiences in the outside world to bring back for yourself later. 
– I don't want to assume things about your process, but self-coaching/-therapy is tricky even for coaches and therapists. If you want to get really good at this, it's likely some time refining that toolkit (*focusing explicitly on getting better at self-coaching*) would be a good investment of time and resources
– Getting coaching/therapy when you feel stuck is a reliable signal of need and/or comes with a higher likelihood of getting value from individual (sets of) sessions. The downsides are that you can lose momentum getting stuck, you could get stuck for longer than it needed to be, some people struggle to ask for help in low-powered states. Consistent coaching aimed at the medium- to long-term can 'head off' certain tangles/hangups. More on this here

Hope that was helpful! Curious how what I mentioned landed for you

EA Forum note: I've cleared with the Forum team that I can offer free 20-minute calls as a 'thank you' for the first 10 people that leave thoughtful and engaging private or public comments. These short calls can be mini-sessions, coaching AMA, a catchup, or used any other way you'd like! 

Thanks to Seb and others for putting in the effort to get clarity in this area for the community. 

Very briefly before I circle back for a more substantive round of commenting – noting that I haven't dug into all of the studies that these quantitative estimates are predicated upon, I wasn't able to find mention of staff "turnover / churn " or anything of the sort in this report. 

If it's the case that estimates within this report, and/or quantitative estimates within studies that this report draws from, do not include an approximation of costs from staff turnover / churn, I'd be very surprised if they didn't have at least a noticeable effect on estimates like those found in this report. 

I'd imagine HR professionals would care a lot about costs associated with turnover / churn. Anyone who has needed to replace someone understands firsthand how much of a heavy lift that can be, including the shared bandwidth burden of needing to cover duties that trickle onto everyone else. (This often strains multiple people)

My eye test from coaching EAs struggling with various aspects of their job is that a nontrivial proportion of them are often considering leaving entirely. And in fact, some number of former clients of mine have left organizations after protracted periods of comparatively low productivity and comparatively low overall wellness. 

To spell out the implications of what I'm saying a bit more, should staff turnover have any kind of meaningful effect on organizational costs, the value of implementing various staff wellness interventions should go up if it improves retention 

Seb had a preference for me to include as a comment here. Curious for thoughts!

Just applied for TBCT! Incredibly happy to see this get set up. What a gift for this community it could be

My pleasure and thanks for saying that. Happy to add more popular questions to that section as they come

Can confirm that Luke was a huge proponent of this from our interactions from ~2016 – ~2019. It's one of the primary reasons Rethink Charity created and maintained our governance structure, which I thought was only moderately good but likely above average relative to what I've seen and heard about in the community


I've got a similar feeling to Khorton. Happy to have been pre-empted there. 

It could be helpful to consider what it is that legibility in the grant application process (for which post-application feedback is only one sort) is meant to achieve. Depending on the grant maker's aims, this can non-exhaustively include developing and nurturing talent, helping future applicants self-select, orienting projects on whether they are doing a good job, being a beacon and marketing instrument, clarifying and staking out an epistemic position, serving an orientation function for the community etc.

And depending on the basket of things the grant maker is trying to achieve, different pieces of legibility affect 'efficiency' in the process. For example, case studies and transparent reasoning about accepted and rejected projects, published evaluations, criteria for projects to consider before applying, hazard disclaimers, risk profile declarations, published work on the grant makers theory of change, etc. can give grant makers 'published' content to invoke during the post-application process that allows for the scaling of feedback. (e.g. our website states that we don't invest in projects that rapidly accelerate 'x'). There are other forms of pro-active communication and stratifying applicant journeys that would make things even more efficient. 

FTX did what they did, and there is definitely a strong case for why they did it that way. In moving forward , I'd be curious to see if they acknowledge and make adjustments in light of the fact that different forms and degrees of legibility can affect the community. 


 why it’s at least a non-obvious decision

Will we provide feedback to rejected applicants in the future? Possibly, but I think this involves complex tradeoffs and isn't a no-brainer

 So I don’t think we should be doing this now, but I’m not saying that we won’t try to find ways to give more feedback in the future (see below).

Very much appreciate the considerate engagement with this. Wanted to flag that my primary response to your initial comment can be found here

All this makes a lot of sense to me. I suspect some people got value out of the presentation of this reasoning. My goal here was to bring this set of consideration to yours and Sam's attention and upvote its importance, hopefully it's factored into what is definitely non-obvious and complex to decide moving forward. Great to see how thoughtful you all have been and thanks again! 

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