By Jacqueline Asiimwe, WIN Uganda coach
It’s been a humbling experience for me. It’s been such an honor. I’m proud of how far the ladies have come.
Towards the end of 2018, I got a text message from Barbara Kaija, the Editor in Chief of the New Vision. I have known Barbara for many years, and I respect her as my elder and sister, so to get any form of communication from her is always an honor.
In her text, she said she wanted to nominate me as one of the mentors for WAN-IFRA's Women in News (WIN) programme. It was a request from Barbara, so of course I couldn’t refuse. But apart from that, I enjoy mentoring women.
I sent my CV to Dr. Tikhala (Dr. T as he is fondly known), WIN's Africa Director. And then I waited for the interview. It happened one Sunday evening in December of 2018 and took about one and a half hours, in which Dr. T told me about the aims of the project and what they were trying to achieve in terms of empowering and supporting women in the media. He then asked me about my background and experience in coaching.
That’s when my internal antenna shot up. Coaching? Had I heard right? I thought I was being recruited to mentor. I wasn’t sure that I knew anything about coaching. Mentoring — yes, that was my forte, my comfort zone — not coaching. And that’s what I labored to explain to Dr. T., but he told me coaching wasn’t that much different or difficult and I would get a hang of it the more I practiced it. Despite his assurances, I wasn’t totally convinced.
In early January 2019, I got an email from Dr. T, congratulating me and two other ladies (Joan Mugenzi and Sheila Kawamara), for being selected as coaches for the upcoming WIN programme in Uganda.
As part of our orientation, we went to Naivasha, Kenya, to attend a media women’s boot camp. At that boot camp we were introduced to the WIN program and what was expected of us as coaches. During that time, Joan Mugenzi graciously conducted a mini training on what coaching entailed and how to do it well. The more she spoke, the more it dawned on me that I didn’t know how to Coach.
I expressed my fears and misgivings to Joan and she told me about an opportunity to be trained as a coach. She told me about the Coach Masters Academy, which was going to conduct a four day training in Uganda in March. This was a blessing in disguise! This was the stars aligning with my intentions to do coaching right and brining a coach training experience right to my door step! I was ready and signed up for the coach training without hesitation! And oh my, did I get my money’s worth!
The very definition of coaching blew me away! Coaching is a partnering with a client in a thought-provoking and creative process that inspires clients to maximize their personal and professional potential.
I was super excited that I would get to do that with the ladies that I was to coach.
As the days drew closer to the first national gathering and launch of the WIN program in Uganda, Jane Godia, the Program Manager for WIN in East and Central Uganda sent us the names of the ladies I was to Coach. That day, which was March 18th, remains a special day to me. This was my journal entry that day:
“Received the names of the nine ladies I’ll be coaching as part of WIN. I literally feel like I’ve given birth today.”
Overly dramatic, you might think, but I felt like these new lives had been placed in my hands and I was to walk a journey with them to help bring out the best in them.
Fast forward to today (five months later), it’s been an amazing journey. I cannot begin to describe what it’s like to have people trust you with parts of their lives, for people to allow you to speak with them, ask questions, and nudge them to notice and name that which they have on the inside of them, and translate this new self-awareness into a frame that guides their thinking about a career plan. It’s been a humbling experiencefor me. It’s been such an honor. I’m proud of how far the ladies have come. I’m more than excited as I think about all that they can and will be as a result of the combined WIN process — the online media management training, the national gatherings, the 360-degree assessment, the coaching sessions and the career mapping.
Whether or not these ladies stay in the media, they will fly high. They are going to achieve their dreams. In fact, they are going to exceed their dreams in a way that will blow their minds. And I know they will encourage many more women to join the WIN program!
Ladies, you’ve done me proud! Thank you for the privilege and honor of walking this journey with you. You’ve enabled me grow and stretch as a coach. I know I have a lot more to learn as I practice this craft. Thank you for trusting me to partner with you. I don’t take this trust for granted.
From the very depths of my being, I wish you well!