Mentoring and Coaching Workshops

Our health is perhaps the thing we take most for granted and, as a global community, we are often too late to realize when something is wrong. Here at CoRE, we believe whole-heartedly that through greater social awareness and education – we can move past our previous misconceptions about health, and develop, as individuals, into an entire community of care givers and receivers.

From the 18th – 21st June, in partnership with Research Exchange International (REI), CoRE hosted a series of community health training workshops, as part of a bigger program designed to equip Social Workers with adult learning and coaching skills integral to engaging community health staff. As well as this, participants would be mentored in health campaign management and local partnership building – with the aim of not only improving the skills of community health professionals, but also providing them with the confidence to initiate social change independently.

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The program was assembled by American anthropologists Dr. Gary Hipp, Mrs. Merri Lee Hipp and Dr. David Bjork and called upon a wealth of knowledge and experience in the fields of public healthcare and community development.

Part I of the workshop, “Mentoring and Coaching”, took place towards the end of June and proved to be a huge success. NGO health care professionals, social workers and university students were all in attendance – many of whom were already friends of CoRE from previous workshops.

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The aim of part I was to familiarize the students with different mentoring and coaching techniques that can then be transferred to the local community. In doing this, participants would then be able to teach others how to become mentors – thus enabling the wider community to actively engage in public health.

The students started off by getting to know each other and the workshop directors. Then, participants explored the differences between mentoring and coaching, and the effect that assuming either of these roles will subsequently have on the health care receiver. Discussion then turned towards effective adult learning methods and the LePSA (Learner Centered, Problem posing, Self Discovery, Action Oriented) framework – which places importance firmly on the learner, rather than the facilitator.

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Dr. Hipp then moved proceedings on to perhaps the most poignant discussion of the entire workshop – the importance of reflection. Most classroom based learning methods involve a simple cycle of knowledge and action – whereby students are given information which they are then expected to absorb and remember. Dr. Hipp discussed a much more learner friendly approach, which involves knowledge and action, but also reflection and decision. With this method, students are not only able to digest information, but also question it and then apply it in a way that they believe is most beneficial for the community. This then helps to create a free-thinking society that can make confident decisions about health care.

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Over the remaining two days of the workshop, students were introduced to the GROW model – which is now a tried and tested method for promoting personal growth. GROW is an acronym that stands for: Goal, Reality, Options, Will. By adopting this model, participants will be able to set out clear realistic goals and then work towards achieving them through pragmatism and flexibility.

As the workshop drew to a close, both students and facilitators were left to reflect on a learning experience that will undoubtedly lead to a more unified community. The health care event that took place last month was just the start of a much greater program that will eventually see 4-6 qualified professionals administer a health care initiative within two regional provinces in Vietnam.

The second half of REI and CoRE’s initial community health training will begin in October, and we are all extremely excited by the prospect of further developing our health care skills. As well as this, we cannot wait to get back in the classroom with like-minded individuals and globally experienced facilitators.

A wise man once said that vision is the art of seeing the invisible. We envisage a society that notices when change is needed, and can then work together, as a community, to improve the lives of those around us.

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