Back in 2010, Sara and Ben had an opportunity to work with the Consortium of British Humanitarian Agencies – a consortium of International Non-Governmental Organisations (INGOs) known as the CBHA. The CBHA underwent a transformation back in 2012 to become the Start Network – a truly international (and growing) network of more than 40 INGOs around the world.
Our work for the consortium at that time was to establish, coordinate and manage a coaching network that would support participants in various humanitarian skills development programmes that were taking place over 2011 and 2012. The programmes – known as the Context Project – aimed to develop core humanitarian skills and management and leadership skills of staff based in various countries of operation, such as Kenya, Ethiopia, South Sudan, Somalia, Bangladesh, Jordan, DRC, and Bolivia, and our role was to provide coaching to those participants and support them on their learning journeys, and to develop the coaching skills of managers so they in turn could coach their colleagues.
As the Context Project evolved, programme adaptations were created by different INGOs and consortia. The ENHance programmes were one such adaptation and continued in the same vein, and similarly incorporated coaching support for learners, and gave opportunities to develop coaching skills in those who expressed interest and aptitude.
You can read more about these activities and the early CBHA project evaluation on the ALNAP website. The most important learning for us at the Coaching Story was the confirmation that remote coaching had the potential to be transformational for humanitarian managers, and transcended inter-cultural differences, enabling individuals in very difficult contexts to find their own ways of overcoming the challenges they faced.