WIN Africa strengthens coaching critical muscle

The outstanding pool of coaches working in the nine African countries where the Women In News (WIN) programme operates just gained two new exceptional additions; Boitshepo Balozwi, from Botswana, and Faith Oneya from Kenya.

Balozwi is a media consultant and correspondent for the Botswana Guardian newspaper, and Oneya is an Editor at the National Media Group in Kenya. The two women joined a number of other trainee coaches in attending the intensive Cohort 186 Coach Masters Academy training in Uganda, from 5 to 8 August, 2019.

Welcoming the new coaches, WIN Africa Director, Dr.Tikhala Chibwana said that coaching is the center piece of the WIN programme, and that WIN is always looking at ways to improve and refine it, hence sending these two powerhouses for the training, as part of the capacity building for the programme. 

 “These trainee coaches will join our more experienced coaches, and help build a critical muscle for a WIN coach development programme. We have already developed the coaches’ manual and the next step will be for all coaches to go through a refresher so as to level the playfield and infuse some of the new ideas.”

When asked to sum up the experience of the coach training in one word, Faith Oneya said, “I would call it exhilarating. The theoretical and practical lessons challenged my traditional views of coaching and continues to do so to date, as we now continue with online training. The beauty of the coaching lessons is that besides work they can be applied in any relationship, including family and friendships.”

Oneya also added that, “I’ve found myself switching on to coach mode with friends and family because I know such conversations with them will be that much more beneficial. The programme is intense and quite taxing on the mind and spirit but also quite nourishing.”

Boitshepo Balozwi on the other hand noticed some parallels between coaching and journalism, and is convinced that the two are similar in more ways than one.

“To a certain degree professional coaching has similar elements to journalism in that you seek to find the core of the story or to declutter what the client expresses. And of course, asking the right questions. The process of coaching has similar intent to journalism but for different outcomes – coaching is about the client, transforming the client and journalism is about informing and educating the audience or readers to help them make informed decisions,” says Balozwi. 

She further observes that, “Journalists ask questions to establish the story and structure it for the reader to deduce, whereas coaching seeks to structure the story in order to create meaning for the client. Professional coaches and coaching seek to transform the individual, and to serve as a mirror to the client.”

Balozwi sees a perfect fit between the coach training and the work of WIN national coaches as the training complements and aligns specifically with leadership roles for those in a position to influence change, positive change in others.” Both Faith and Boitshepo are alumni of the WIN programme.

This transformative training was facilitated by Master Coach, Dr. Ben Koh, founder of Coach Masters Academy in Singapore. Dr. Koh is a Master Certified Coach and Mentor Coach – the highest accreditation for professional coaching in the International Coaching Federation (ICF).

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