Afghanistan - Empowering women civil servants through self realization
Primary thematic focus: Capacity challenges in post-crisis and transitional situations
In a Nutshell:
The CD stories of three different Afghan women with huge difference in the background and entry-level capacities is presented. The key to their success lies in the strength of the technique of coaching, where the core philosophy is to help the coachee achieve his or her potential at work.
A young woman in her 20s joined Ministry of Transport & Civil Aviation (MoTCA) in mid 2007, as Director General, Foreign Relations Department. This was an important position and naturally, she was happy and excited to join her office. However, her excitement soon converted into despair and disappointment when she discovered the twin disadvantages of being a “young woman” in a high position in government of Afghanistan. She was not taken seriously in meetings. Further, she was new to the work and understandably did not have full command over it yet. The male colleagues would not heed to her advice/directions in day-to-day activities. When she tried to protest by voicing her concerns, she met with further resistance and some male colleagues even went to the extent of questioning the efficacy of a having her, a young woman, in an important position. CAP international coach in MoTCA noticed her situation during several meetings and informal discussions. He encouraged her to join his regular coaching sessions (each of which was attended by 5‐10 coachees). Simultaneously, he also started individual coaching cum counseling sessions for her. In these personalized sessions, he would encourage her to speak up. Initially she was hesitant and was not articulate in listing out the issues that bothered her. Gradually however, she responded to CAP coach’s behavioral coaching technique and started opening up. Being able to formulate the problem clearly helped her put issues in the right perspective. CAP coach advised her on how to handle the situation. He gave her tips on how to conduct meetings, especially in face of resistance. All this started making her more comfortable and confident in the ministry. In the words of Yalda, “My coach gave me the confidence that I am as good as my male counterparts.”
Results and Critical Factors:
Once the frustration and negativity started receding, CAP coach moved on from comfort counseling to more positive and productive issues like personal development plan and career goals. By providing options and engaging her in extensive discussions, CAP coach took her on a journey of self-realization regarding what she wanted from her professional life. At the same time, CAP coach also helped her in her day-to-day activities, including those which involved understanding and implementation of rules and regulations of MoTCA. He introduced concepts of management including human resource management to her. Today, Yalda continues to receive coaching along with many other male and female civil servants in MoTCA. Now Yalda is a happy and confident employee of MoTCA and makes significant contribution to her office.
Name of Primary Contact Person: Homa Sorouri
Title of Primary Contact Person: Programme Analyst