[Day in the Life of a Coach] Interview with ICA Coach, Esther Muthoga
(Transformational Coach, KENYA)
As a vital part of World Vision, a Christian relief, development, and advocacy organization devoted to improving the lives of children, families and their communities around the world, Esther sees coaching as a way of ‘holding someone’s’ hand as they reach for their potential.
Chosen as 1 of 3 staff to enroll in ICA Coach Training, Esther found her background in counseling and human resources a great foundation for becoming a coach.
Esther not only coaches within World Vision, but is also supporting executives in other Non-Governmental Organizations (NGO) from Kenya to the UK.
Who says coaching can’t change the world? Not Esther.
Interview with Merci Miglino
Merci: I’m delighted today to have Esther Muthoga in the Day in the Life of a Coach. Esther is a graduate from ICA and I’m so impressed because Esther had been a coach in one way or another for some time. And I can’t wait to hear what you’re doing now Esther, so welcome!
Esther: Thank you Merci.
Merci: When did you come to ICA?
Esther: I joined in May 2013.
Merci: And were you already coaching at that time?
Esther: No I wasn’t coaching.
Merci: So what made you sign up for coach training?
Esther: I was familiar with other disciplines that were related to coaching. I had worked with human resource management. I was trained in counseling but was never moved to practice that. And I was involved in training staff in the NGO that I was involved with. And so the next level was to train me as a coach to support others in performance management.
Merci: So you were already working in World Vision, which is the NGO you mentioned, right?
Esther: Yes, I’ve been there for 9 years.
Merci: So tell us a little bit more about World Vision. It sounds like an extraordinary effort that you put in there.
Esther: I joined World Vision 9 years back, fresh from University. It’s a humanitarian agency that deals with the most poorest communities. We go into the most difficult places in the world. It is an international organization basically dealing with food security emergencies. When there are emergencies, we go to respond. We also have mainstream projects like health, HIV/AIDS, water and health services. Those are some of the things we work with.
Merci: You are predominantly in the East African countries?
Esther: Yes, I work with 9 countries in my role.
Merci: And where do you live Esther?
Esther: I live in Kenya, that’s where we have the regional headquarters.
Merci: Well I see here you’ve gone to Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda, Burundi, Ethiopia. That’s an incredible effort. Amazing.
Esther: Thanks Merci.
Merci: So I’m curious about how coaching shows up in your work. Like describe a typical day for you Esther at work.
Esther: You say specifically at work but I’ll also share what I’ve been doing beyond World Vision. At work I’ve been involved with the Human Resource department, I was able to support career development centers for World Vision in Burundi, World Vision Somalia, and World Vision East Africa. At each point, I had a group of between 20 and 25 participants. That’s what I’ve done within World Vision. I have a few direct sign-ups privately within World Vision for me to support them with coaching. As a World Vision staff member, people in United Kingdom have given me an opportunity to coach executives at other NGOs. I’ve been able to coach PLAN International, Wildlife, and Solidarity International this year alone.
Merci: Oh wow, so you’re really taking your coaching outside World Vision and helping other NGO executives.
Esther: Yes, and that’s just humanitarian industries. I’ve not mentioned what I do beyond the NGOs.
Merci: Oh my goodness. So many people say to me, “What do you do with coaching? Is it limited?” and I just say, if you look at Esther, it is not limited at all. Here it is showing up in humanitarian efforts, and non-government organizations. And really coaching kind of felt like a natural extension of what you are already doing.
Esther: Yes, it was. As I mentioned, I trained in counseling. As I grew up, I grew not finding a mentor. I came from Kenya. This is a developing country and I came from remote areas and didn’t find people to hold my hand. And as I grew and went to the University, I was exposed to the international ideas and it just inspired me to do so much more. I told you I trained for counseling the second year I joined World Vision because I was in Human Resource Management but I didn’t feel it was going to fit in totally with what I wanted to do. And so having trained people, I love working with people, it’s a form of empowerment. And in training I realized training alone will not ensure the organizational performance. So we needed to go beyond that level to work with people so that now they can start implementing what they’ve learned with others and work with them. My director asked me if I could be trained as a coach. We were only three selected from the whole of East Africa. There are more than five thousand staff in East Africa in World Vision but they only selected 3. So when I started working back with staff from the 9 countries, we realized, coaching can do so much more and results can go beyond those of the organization. And so I started calling my former director and I started going into the government, I started going into my former University and coaching these. That’s just how the whole story began.
Merci: Wow. Pretty incredible. It’s pretty amazing where coaching can take you. For you it came out from a heartfelt desire to help people, to empower people. And you went to developing countries, countries that you said earlier, that are struggling maybe with a challenge. And looking at it from an empowerment perspective, coaching helps people find their own way with someone to hold their hand as you said. So Esther, if you could tell the world one thing about coaching, what would it be?
Esther: I would tell them, this is one of the excellent tools we have in the world to move them to the places they desire to be both on a personal level, but also professionally. I worked as a transformational coach because I felt I had to go beyond the transactional level. That means every person who goes into coaching will not only address their needs as goals but also look within themselves.
Merci: It’s been a great getting to know you Esther, and I’m sure our listeners will feel the same way. I wish you all the best in your continuing efforts too, in no small way I may add, change the world. So thank you for being with me Esther and have a great day in the life of a coach!
Esther: Thank you so much Merci, I am honored by this.
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