Designing for remote delivery of coaching

Client: Ventures37 (Land o’ Lakes International)
Location: Malawi

The challenge

An in-person cooperative coaching program faced the Covid-19 challenge of putting in-person contact on hold. Yet, in rural Malawi without reliable internet and low tech literacy, the American reflexive reach for zoom as a solution was not tenable. While finance and governance for cooperatives are well known subjects, the program was not delivering a set curriculum, but a customized coaching experience to meet cooperatives where they were.

What we did

Picture Impact led a two-month design sprint with the cooperative coaches, collectively coming up with solutions and doing rapid prototyping and testing. We worked with the curriculum pieces to sync, pace, and make concepts contextualized. Picture Impact engaged an illustrator to help materials for group exercises come alive and bridge any literacy gaps. We guided coaches in creating customized videos and audio recordings to accompany weekly packets sent to Cooperatives.

The results

A successful pilot of 4 coaching sessions delivered remotely via a combination of paper worksheets, group activities, pre-recorded videos and audio, WhatsApp communication, and scheduled phone calls. Moving coaching to a remote engagement model ended up empowering and engaging learners in deeper ways than the face-to-face in-person modality. It held the cooperatives accountable to themselves, creating a more internal locus of motivation and a more learner-centered process. Coaches are still needed for customizing, pacing, answering real time questions, and building relationships.

 “The combination of projectors, videos and audios and coaching process via Whatsapp and phone calls. The integration of all these was magical! This gave them a lot of encouragement especially the fact that they are able to revisit and relive the key moments of the training even in future.” [coach]

“This model works better because they can learn at their pace unlike cases where coaches sometimes run through training content because they are in a rush to leave the training venue. They end up eroding the overall quality and focus of the learning process.” [coach]