Lots of knowledge can be documented and codified. Some cannot. I would like to share one process with you, based on my experience over the last few weeks. Knowledge-based coaching. It is about taking knowledge that is locked in a person’s mind and sharing it with respect and care for someone else’s mind. And it is about knowing why this is done. The ultimate outcome is that someone else uses this new knowledge which they enrich using their own experiences, passions and skills, to make positive impact. On people, processes, products and programmes.
My colleague Stacey Hoys and I did a quick stock take of what we believed we was locked in our minds, in terms of youth leadership development and came up with about 15 huge areas of knowledge, based on learnings, skills and experience.
Information on paper or screen is just a starting point, a reference point. Infographics or short videos in this respect adding another dimension to the mind-mapping process. Note as well: training people in a classroom setting does not give them experiential knowledge creation. Meaning, practical development (in the field) is the approach to be adopted next. This is how knowledge transfer then becomes evidence-based.
Coaching is a way to transfer this type of embedded knowledge. So, for the last three weeks, a team of us have been coaching John from Kenya YMCA and Herinaina from Madagascar YMCA. They have trained a group of youth who are on the Young Advocates for Change programme between African YMCAs.
As well as Stacey and I, we had with us two phenomenal motivational pastors, Thuks Khanyile and Mandla Khuluse, who are skilled in counselling and conflict management.
Each coach had a different style and a different process. This brought a richness to John and Herinaina’s experience. Mostly this is what we did: check on content understanding, testing relevancy and level of information of content, advise and guide on delivery, work with the coachee’s individual style and strengths, share the particular problem at hand and push and probe so the coachee was able to make solution-based decisions. It was about constant totally honest feedback, emotional and cognitive check-ins. And lots and lots of affirmation.
During final feedback, yesterday, these were the comments;
•Herinaina: It was scary and so invigorating. I leant. I trained. I learnt as I trained. I trained as I learnt. Being coached, being a leader, being counselled, being a counsellor… One of the best experiences ever! I am ready. For anything.
•John: I know now how to link spiritual foundations and identity, with personal development, teambuilding and community mobilisation. I am so thankful and amazed at this knowledge I now have. I can handle any situation now.
•Andile, a participant: What? You mean John and Herinaina had not done training in personal development before. I did not even feel the gap. Their facilitation was intriguing.
For John and Herinaina, this was the beginning of an exciting new chapter. This will involve further leadership enhancement for them, as they now elevate leadership in their communities and countries, for replication across the African YMCA movement.
Such is the magnificent power of a knowledge-based approach to individual and organisational strengthening.