Jeanne Hathcock, a Certified Master Coach, shares her experience with a unique application of coaching in this 3-part blog series.
For the group coaching, I wanted a theme to the sessions that was broad in scope, and focused enough to provide the team with tools they could use during the session to get themselves talking and expressing themselves. I chose to use the Fruits of the Spirit as our nightly guide in our group sessions. I laminated the fruits of the Spirit in English and Haitian Creole and on the first evening in country I gave a set of the cards to each team member.
I explained to the team that I found it very difficult to express my own thoughts and feelings about my first trip to Haiti and how I felt that I missed out on something really important because I didn’t have a safe channel to explore my thoughts and feelings. I provided the team with some ground rules and I told them I wanted this time to be about them and not about me as their leader or my experiences. During meal times, they could ask me questions and I would use those times to share more deeply with the team, but this evening time was specifically about them, their experience, their thoughts and ideas and what they felt was revealed to them each day. I encouraged them to read over the Fruits of the Spirit cards in both English and Creole, and as they went through each day to be on the lookout, both internally and externally for where they saw these fruits in action, thought, or deed.
After a brief sharing of how the process was going to work, I simply asked the question, “What did you see, hear or feel today?” This statement became the opening to our sessions each evening.
The ground rules for the group were simple and easy to follow. Everyone was to be given an opportunity to share. The group was to focus on what they were seeing, feeling, and hearing today and then to brainstorm on what, if anything, could be changed tomorrow to improve or enhance the captured thoughts and ideas. Any actions that needed handling would take place outside of the group time. In addition, we agreed as a group to not focus on the negatives we were experiencing. Instead we would focus on what we could learn and apply from the opportunities we saw around us. If everyone shared, we would have an opportunity to capture multiple ideas that could be implemented on the ground in Haiti to help build the community up and move them in a positive direction. We also agreed my role was to be time keeper and to keep us on focus. Our time was limited, making the urgency to express the key elements all the more clear.
In the final blog post, learn about the outcomes of Group Coaching.