Mag-co-coaching na tayo! (8 November 2016)

I have just returned to the UK from several weeks in the Philippines, examining the work of an international aid organisation and its partners in responding to Typhoon Haiyan. Today is the third anniversary of the typhoon – known locally as Yolanda – hit the central Philippines, with devastating effect on lives and, as I realised soon, livelihoods.

Many thousands of very poor people, already barely surviving, had nothing. If they lived through it – and one man I met described the hundreds of bodies, mostly drowned, in the streets of Tacloban – then they lost their house, their possessions, and their means of scraping a living.

Coconut farmers, for example; all the trees near the coast were blown down, and coconut trees take 5-10 years to regrow and bear fruit. So what to do now?

Fortunately, the aid agency appears to have made real impact; new, sturdier houses and skills, new livelihoods and enterprises to provide income, and – most impressively – the pride and resilience of people who have just got on with it. There is a way to go; but they have pag-asa, hope.

One thing I did hear, amongst so much, was the word “coaching”. It was used by local aid workers to describe how they had been supported and provided with new skills. This experience did two things to me: firstly, I realised coaching really is universal now; and, secondly, I wondered if they had really received coaching, or something else.

On closer questioning, the “coaching” was somewhat closer to training; systematic acquisition of new skills and ideas, couple with some hands-on management. It seemed to work for the mostly young people.

But real coaching, I believe, is unique; it is non-directive, it assists people to define their own challenges and aims, and to decide on a pathway to changing their situation.

But I quibble, perhaps….. Whatever those people have received in the Philippines, if it helps them to cope with what they have experienced, and to assist others; well, fantastic!

All the best

Graham - email: - tel: + (44) (0) 7890 360 806 - skype: tigercoaching1