In each community Loom engages, we discover extraordinary people. The struggle of their lives has created in them a rare power and hope. They are willing to face head on “how things have always been done” and to disrupt fatalistic value systems and thinking to make authentic impact. Yet their vision is often stunted, never reaching its full potential, because they simply lack the resources and training.
Loom’s mission is to come alongside these Local Experts and equip them for sustainable change. One of the ways we partner with experts on the field is through one-on-one coaching. In general, we connect a Local Expert with a coach if they express interest after attending a training such as our Celebrating Children Workshop.
Coaching provides a concrete way for Loom to track with Local Experts and helps them set and reach tangible goals. It differs from mentoring in that we don’t necessarily have the experience to tell them what to do – but we can draw out of them the strengths and resources they need to be successful. Questions like, “What have you already tried to solve this challenge? How did it work/not work? What are the obstacles you currently face?” are critical in getting to the root of problems.
“Often people know the answers but get stuck putting them into practice,” says Steve Kilpatrick, a Loomer who received coaching training through Coaching Mission International. “Coaching can be one of the greatest tools in building the internal capacity of social innovators.”
Besides Steve, two others Loomers have gone through the training and several are currently going through the course. This year Eva Spengler has been coaching Jacinta, a Local Expert working in Tanzania who runs a sewing course and mentoring program for young single mothers in her community.
“It was good having someone that was willing to listen as well as helping me keep track and focus on my goal,” said Jacinta. “Every time we talked…there was something new in line with my goal. Knowing someone is praying and thinking of [me] is so special.”
When our team met up with Jacinta last month, we could see the change coaching has made in her confidence to take on new challenges. This year they have expanded their ministry to include a small store in town where women can sell their products and begin taking contracts for local school uniforms.
All over the world, there are hundreds of people like Jacinta, with enormous potential and big vision. In the coming years, we hope to continue expanding the coaching hours we can offer Local Experts to continue accelerating their work among the most vulnerable.