Working with coaching and mentoring for quite many years I always wanted to include it into one of the long term training projects. And “Does Culture Matter?” international project on intercultural competence development was a great chance to test online coaching in practice.
To run a one week intensive training course is a huge responsibility and demands effort and creativity from the side of a trainer. I always enjoyed working at such trainings. In the end of the week you see inspired people ready to “move walls” when back to their countries and work places. But suddenly, when all are back to reality, the usual routine dominates and seems there’s no time to start doing things differently and keep motivation after the training.
“I have to do something about that!” – this phrase was spinning in my mind. I started questioning my role as a trainer and how I could provide better conditions for participants to continue their learning curve even after the training. Otherwise what’s the point of the work that I do?
Turning an idea into action
Getting more and more into web development and use of technology for soft skills development, I found it promising to shift one of the training parts to online phase. Apparently I was not the only one craving for long term results and practical skills development after the trainings. And together with my colleagues we developed a good project structure that included one week “on place” intensive training course on intercultural competence development; two months online coaching phase; one week evaluation “on place” training course. With this structure we could provide support to our trainees in personal development and practical implementation of knowledge and skills that they acquired during the training.
How it was?
For two months I got to support development and growth of 9 participants coming from Turkey, Nepal, Kyrgyzstan, Indonesia, Romania. We had online meetings, discussed plans, challenges and opportunities, learnt how to enjoy the journey itself (not the destination).
It was one of the best experiences for me in my training path – what can be more precious than seeing how people grow, become more confident and motivated, do things they couldn’t even imagine they could accomplish… And they were blogging about it! Blogging for themselves and for others to share what they were getting through, giving and getting inspiration from each other.
We met all together face-to-face for the evaluation. I came with the basket of colourful paper with questions rolled into small tubes. Lottery time! – I like this relaxing discussion when people pick up one tube each and with excitement roll it out reading those tough questions 🙂 No pre-decided turned, no pressure, just sharing, respectful listening, support and realisation that “I’m not alone”, as others faced similar challenges when working at home after the training.
What did the lottery say?
Here are some glimpse from the discussion that we had with the group.
What was the most challenging?
- keep up writing blog posts about my experience, activities and development
- facilitate processes when back to work, mediate conflicts
- overcome fear of public speaking
- manage my own time and resources
- follow the deadlines set
- find right people to work with and to organise the activities I wanted to do when back home
What skills did you develop?
- learnt how to fish, but not getting the fish on the plate
- competence in finding the right material and resources
- improved my writing skills
- learning by doing
- developed good mediation skills and can totally put myself into other person’s shoes
- not afraid to face my fears, now I know how to deal with this
- got practical skills in web publishing, even though it was not the major part of the training
What was the most enjoyable experience for you during the online coaching?
- speak in front of others
- talk to my coach and feel support and encouragement
- getting good energy from my trainer
I was dwelling in a desert, and talking to you was like oasis for me – Asel
- looking for more and more material related to the training course
- feeling support and invisible power pushing me through all the challenges
What new did you learn about yourself?
- I’m more resourceful than I thought
- I did so many things that I’ve never done before and I enjoyed that a lot
- I got my models to grow and follow great examples
- I can overcome challenges, I got the power
- I became more of an observer and became more conscious/aware
It’s ok to be different. You can be their Ghandi – Esra
- I got better self awareness
- I can find alternative ways to cope with stress and difficult situations
How do I evaluate my own performance during online coaching (from 1-5)
It was just a spontaneous question that we reflected on during the discussion. The average number for the group was 3. Which we interpreted as a good sign of being objective to self and yet being aware of hidden potential that guys should let free to be happier with their own performance not only at work, but in life.
It’s just the beginning of the journey – Anca
The project is finished, though it’s just the beginning of new trainings coming up, new attitudes that participants got… And as a good reminder of what they experienced and how did they walk from point A to point B, we still have our online coaching platform with all the blogs that reflect on challenging and exciting way of personal and professional development in a long term perspective!