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A Gathering of Coaches

Women leaders came together in Washington DC.

“My friend told me to go to the workshop. She said, ‘I know you. You think you don’t need this, but go anyway and learn.’ So I did, and it changed my life,” explains Jacqueline (Jackie) Odiadi, Global Women in Management (GWIM) alumna and Executive President of Development Support Institute, Ltd. in Nigeria. Last week, Jackie joined 18 other GWIM coaches from 18 countries in Washington, D.C. for a Coaches Forum.

Plan International USA gathered these experienced and effective women leaders from Africa, Asia, and Latin America to develop ways to make the GWIM Coaching Program even better.

“You just have to look at me to see GWIM has an impact,” says Jackie.

Since Jackie’s workshop seven years ago, she implemented what she learned at GWIM in her organization. She improved her training programs by using techniques she learned from the GWIM facilitators, developed a confident and informed style with funders, and implemented a more strategic approach in leading her organization. In addition, Jackie has been a GWIM alumni coach for six years.

The GWIM Coaching Program was launched a decade ago as a way to offer GWIM alumni post-workshop support. After graduating from GWIM, each participant is given the opportunity to sign up for a year of coaching. The coaches encourage their clients to apply the knowledge learned in training to their real life situations. They respond to ongoing questions and concerns related to professional and personal development.

The majority of the coaching pairs keep in touch regularly, but the amount of communication varies, often due to logistical challenges. The relationships range from occasional requests for advice to deal with a professional problem, to strong bonds that emerge as coaches have become part of their client’s ongoing support system.

Coaches also work with their clients to enhance technical and decision-making skills, share best practices, leverage resources, and identify international, regional, and national opportunities for collaboration. The coach-client relationship often turns into a strong friendship that continues beyond the year-long program.

The Coaches Forum was a week of activities facilitated by Plan and designed to extract ideas about how to improve the program. The topics covered issues from communicating with your client to marketing yourself as a coach to external clients.

The forum participants spent the week working together to brainstorm how to document best practices, what kind of training they need as coaches, and how Plan and the coaches can leverage the program more effectively. The forum generated quite a few key suggestions that Plan will consolidate and apply to the program, ensuring that the GWIM alumni receive the highest quality of coaching.

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