Mrs. Saykham works at the Provincial Lao Women's Union of Xayaboury Province. Although she graduated from the Luangprabang Teachers' College and is a skilled teacher, she believes that with progressing training as an ESS coach that her skills of speaking and communicating have improved. “I also learned a lot about how the labour market works,” she added.
She explained the steps to select the target beneficiaries require interested applicants to first complete the application form and submit it to the coach. Then the coach will select eligible applicants based on initial information and make an appointment for an interview. Some of the interviews happen on the phone and others are face-to-face.
“Being a coach is mostly listening to the person,” Mrs. Saykham said. “As coaches, we are not the ones that fix all the problems, but we are there to help a person to learn possible ways to solve their problems and to encourage them to make decisions.” She explained that coaches also need to be respectful. “Because as a good mentor, we must gain the confidence of the person we want to support,” she emphasized.
The project’s planned approach for the implementation has faced many obstacles. For example, the agenda not being followed correctly, participants changing their short-term internship placements, and a bulk of the challenges are because of the current pandemic; COVID-19 has impacted every activity we planned so far.
Mrs. Saykham said she adapted her approach based on discussions with other coaches and she also managed to apply her new skills to her duties at the Lao Women’s Union Office. After that, Mrs. Saykham observed that a lot of participants changed their perspective in a positive way; especially, when they are given the chance to voice their opinion.