Perspectives from Cairo

There wasn’t much mental space for poetry or writing much of anything while I was in Egypt. I also had technical challenges to dumping pics from my camera to the blog.

It was a whirlwind of making connections, tourism, eating amazing food, meeting new people, and so on. My hosts (people I met in Thailand last February) even commented on the last day that they thought I had made the most of my time. All my meetings went as planned, and I was even invited to lead a five hour training for two groups.

The opportunities in Cairo are daunting, like looking at a pyramid and thinking about climbing it. (These days you are not allowed to climb the pyramids at Giza).  But they’re also exhilarating and the doors are wide open for doing some things there that would be very new for Egyptians. The opportunities are huge, but whether or not I can handle it is simply a matter of perspective. Pick up a pyramid and stick it in your pocket.

There’s a lot I can’t discuss publicly regarding my trip, but here are a few pictures from my time in Egypt that give you a bit of flavor.

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above: meeting for dinner and finishing up with some sweet mint tea on the Nile with a new friend. You can see some river cruise boats in the background.

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training group: I spent one day working with this org. and several of their non-Egyptian friends (none are pictured) and we all had a blast (and also some really deep moments).

I’ll post a bunch more photos on the next blog.

 

 

Cairo Update

I have ten minutes before I head out the door to lead a training from 10-3:30. I have virtually no idea what I’m going to do, besides the obvious: wing it.

Of course I have notes, but to get a good flow you have to be the riverbed. You have to find a way to become lower so others can move like a river to the ocean. That’s not a new metaphor for me in my work, but I certainly get to explore it at a new level today.

This will be my first attempt to teach coaching methodology entirely through an interpreter. I have no idea what the education level of my trainees is, how much of my English they will understand before it gets translated.

It will be important for me to establish for them why coaching is a Biblical model for leadership development. It’s not listed in Scriptures, only hinted at. But they are a group of Christians, so putting it in a context where they can embrace it is very important. Once I’ve done that I’m going to go with my gut about what to teach next, picking exercises out of the old hat that is my memory. The thrill of spur of the moment decisions.

As soon as I’m done I head off to Alexandria for two days. Now that I’ve seen the Nile, I’m excited to follow  the river down the highway, through the cradle of the Civil War… oops, slipped into Paul Simon there for a minute.

Alexandria sounds cool to me. The place where the world’s largest library once existed, a sort of World Wide Web in one place, a place where learning has been cherished. I’m excited to see what I will learn there.

It looks like I will do another one of these trainings on the 9th, again from 10-3 or so. It’s fun to be invited for stuff like that after meeting people once.

The meetings I had yesterday were amazing, but I’ll have to save that update for another time.

Sorry no pics, I’m posting them to Facebook and Instagram but I don’t have a good way to move them to my tablet.

Coach training, Congo update

Monday I spoke with Jacques Luwaku, one of the trainees from a class I led in Kinshasa last September with Charles Buller and Jeannette Buller Slater. Jacques (pictured, in the middle of three men seated behind the table) works with Leonard Kiswangi (pictured, seated to my immediate left) at the Kinshasa office of African Enterprise, an international organization based in South Africa, and also pastors a congregation in Kinshasa.

Jacques said, “I’m going to give you a coaching testimony. Recently, I got a call from a young husband in my church (and he filled me in on their positions, the wife is in the women’s council, I missed what the husband’s position is, but these things are culturally important in Congo, everyone has some position or title) and the man said ‘No, pastor, my wife and I, it’s not working out, we are just going to get a divorce.’ (Jacques did not say what their dispute was about.) So I called the husband back, and I called the wife, too, and I said, ‘No, I don’t have any counsel to give you. But I have a question for you. If I asked you to give counsel to another young couple who was thinking about getting a divorce, what would it be? What should they do? Get divorced? Or stay together? Please reflect on that together, then you tell me.’ and they called me back later and said, ‘No, pastor, really, we’ve thought about what advice we would give; we’re going to stay together.’ They solved their own problem, they have walked away from the door of divorce. When I am coaching, I am second, and they are in charge.” Jacques went on to say that he hadn’t had to stress out about it and was glad to see the couple find their own solution.

I felt excited for him. I told him, “But Jacques, you didn’t even use the Panic Technique.”

“What? The Panic Technique? Oh, no,” he laughed, “I did not use the Panic Technique.”

It’s gratifying, and that’s an understatement, to see that the training we did in Congo last fall is bearing fruit in very real ways. Coaching saves marriages.

This story is shared with Pastor Jacques’s permission.

I continue to coach Jacques occasionally, pro bono, with your support. It seems like a good time to remind my readers that if you’d like to support our work in developing nations, training leaders like Jacques Luwaku to use coaching techniques, you can do so at Evergreen Leaders. All contributions are tax-deductible.

 

Foundational Coaching Skills Training

Interested in getting trained in Foundational Coaching Skills? I work together with CMI to provide this training every year. I don’t own the training, I just help lead it, but I can confidently say that as someone inside the industry this class is the absolute best value you can get anywhere. That’s because the training is top notch, and if you apply yourself for the entire course you’ll have a great grasp of coaching, and you’ll get it at a fraction of the price you’d get anywhere else. The deadline for this year’s FOCOS Indiana course is looming, so read more about it today if you think you might want in!

Want more info? Here you go.

Smaller and Quieter in 2016

I got to do a lot of extra listening this month as I completed the Final Evaluations (they’re called “4C Evaluations” though I don’t know why) for a group of new coaches I’ve been helping train all year. I say even less than normal during an Eval because the trainees are coaching each other, and I just observe quietly for a full 40 minutes before I say a word.

One of my trainees did a very nice job coaching, helping the other person (the coachee) to slow down and take time to process something, and as I debriefed the session, I had a picture in my mind:

Have you ever watched the Kentucky Derby or another major thoroughbred horse race? At the end of the race a racehorse is all geared up for speed. Their heart is racing and they’re doing exactly what they were born to do: fly around a track in 2 minutes or so. But they have to cool off gradually so they don’t pull a muscle or whatever. The jockey is there, of course, reining them in, but they need more help.

Next time you watch a race, notice the horse that comes alongside this thoroughbred. The Alongside Horse comes up and communicates with the racer, helping them ease out of their wild-minded, chomping at the bit excitement, so that they can cool off gradually. In other words, the trainer makes sure the horse has a friend who can help him settle down and refocus on what’s next. The Alongside Horse isn’t a great racer — they’re a calming influence. That’s a totally different kind of horse. If these horses were on the DiSC scale, the thoroughbred would be a HIGH D while the Alongside horse is probably anything else.

It’s not unusual to see coaching clients who are going from one thing to the next so fast they don’t have time to breathe.

So, rather than bigger and better in 2016, my mantra is smaller and quieter, calmer. Helping people ease out of their fast-paced life and stop for a moment to breathe.

 

Opportunities for Training in Listening Skills

While I’m leading a four-day training for leaders in Congo right now, I want to let you know about some great opportunities to get some training in motivational listening back in the USA. I hope that if you have referrals you will leave a comment or email me.

These courses are great for those who want to build their listening skills. Usually the first impact people see is improved relationships in their family life, and the second is in their work. Where else would you like to improve your listening skills? Asking powerful questions? Areas where you have leadership responsibility — of course!

First, there’s a Level 2 training coming up September 24 & 25 in Indianapolis hosted by Evergreen Leaders. There is a prerequisite that you take a basic course like the one in the next paragraph; you know who you are. Registration ends September 20 or so. This is a two-day on-site course with no follow up teleclasses or anything. It’s just two days of hard practice. Cost is $395

Second, on October 2 we kick off a Level 1 training, with one day on-site and eight weeks of follow up tele-classes, Indianapolis and possibly in Elkhart, IN as well. Cost is $195.

Third, CMI FOCOS 2016 has a registration deadline of Dec 1. This course is a year long, much more intensive, it is for people who are quite sure they’ll want coaching skills for their work.  We’ll have teleclasses, you get eight personal coaching sessions, six mentor coaching sessions, a week on site in Elkhart, IN (last week of April) evaluations and more. The cost for this course ranges from about $900 for cross-cultural mission workers to $1200 for non-mission workers. It’s absolutely the best value on the market, anywhere. Other places that offer this sort of training would cost at least three times what CMI charges.

All these courses have a Christian-faith based component.