Have you ever had an exciting idea, which then grew into a plan, then the plan took on a life of its own, picked you up and brought you with it?
I’ve just returned from an amazing adventure in India that occurred just this way. The seed of the idea was planted when I met Caroline Audoir de Valter 18 months ago. Caroline is the founder of Hope for the Children Foundation (HFCF), an NGO based in Pune that provides educational and vocational training primarily to children and women who live in Pune’s slum communities. I could see how training the social workers and teachers that worked with the children and women in Coaching skills would make a big difference to the amazing work that they already did, and Caroline enthusiastically agreed.
Fellow CTI Faculty member, Karen Makkes vd Deijl, and I got planning together with CTI certified coach Lucy Reynolds and our seed idea took root. CTI very kindly gifted us the brilliant 3-day CTI Fundamentals course for us to train HFCF’s team in Co-Active coaching skills so that they could have an even bigger impact…. and then we thought about the possibility of running a workshop for some of the children. Our original plan was to deliver it to 25 children, but Caroline had other ideas and we found ourselves committing to doing 3 workshops for over 435 children in different schools!
Giddy (and frankly a bit scared) with that leap, we soon added a workshop for some of the women that the charity works with. And as if that wasn’t already a much bigger project than we’d first anticipated, whilst we were out there we had the opportunity to take a workshop into a juvenile prison that the charity supports.
So what started as a seedling of a project for 25 teachers and social workers and 25 youngsters grew into a strong tree of training programmes and workshops for 530 people!
So, how did it go?
The CTI Fundamentals course went down incredibly well. The participants were a mixture of project leaders, teachers and social workers working for HFCF or affiliated charities. CTI Leadership graduate, Jayesh Parmer was our amazing translator, shifting between 3 different languages, so that everyone could understand each other. Everyone commented on how different this training is from anything that they have ever experienced before. We were lucky enough to visit some of the schools and orphanages that the participants worked in afterwards and saw the huge difference that the coaching skills were already having as the teachers focused on bringing out the brilliance in the children.
The Hope for the Children Foundation team of social workers and teachers trained in
Co-Active coaching skills
Our work with the children was focused on getting them in touch with their dreams and with themselves at their best. We did various exercises and they drew pictures of ‘Their Best Self’, and got to distinguish that from the sabotaging mindset (which they called “the mind that is not my friend”). They got to see that they could choose their mindset and how it could support them in moving towards their dreams. We were ably supported at each of the schools by the teachers and social workers we had trained in the Fundamentals course, who were overheard encouraging the children and saying things like “Nobody gets to be wrong!”
Many of the 40 participants in our women’s workshop were single mums, with hard lives and some with HIV, so being supported as social entrepreneurs to make clothes or food gives them some independence and the ability to support their children. For most of the women, their biggest dream was that their children would have better lives and they did not dream of anything for themselves. During the workshop, we got them to acknowledge each other and it was humbling to see how happy they were that people saw something good in them.
When Karen and I went to the Juvenile Prison to lead a workshop for 30 young men aged around 16, we were daunted – these boys were in prison for all sorts of things including murder and rape. However, we were again well supported by the Hope for the Children team, followed our instincts and it went well. We asked them what qualities they would be allowing out more if they connected with themselves at their best and we got them to imagine themselves at 65 as if they had lived that way and helped them to create the visionary path of joining the dots from the future.
Not only had our seed idea grown rapidly into a tree, but we know these workshops will bear fruit in the lives of the adults and children who took part, the seeds of which we hope will take root in their children and grandchildren too. It was truly an honour to have been part of something which took on a life of its own and grew to heights we could never have imagined at the beginning.
If you are interested in getting involved in any future projects, please do get in contact.
If you are interested in learning more about Hope for the Children Foundation their website is: http://hopeforthechildrenfdn.org