In 2007 ICCO started a learning trajectory with 7 partners who embarked on a newly designed Local Market Development Program. This learning also required a coaching input of PME and VCD consultants. Each organisation contracts its own coaches; and, additionally, ICCO contracts the coaches and Fair & Sustainable Advisory Services (FSAS) for overall learning and experience sharing, in which partners also actively participate. Ben Haagsma of FSAS is the coach of the coaches. In october 2010 the third learning workshop took splace.
The following key findings were intensively discussed with the partners and coaches as integral part of the learning agenda of this workshop
- This intensive coaching input only yield results if the organisations firmly believe in learning as an internal management tool and in markets as a valuable tool for poverty reduction and rural development. Without that strong belief the coaching will not yield results. Soft values such as those beliefs must be taken serious in this coaching process. Two organisations were lacking that belief and fell out of the process.
- Most organisations strongly underestimate the damaging effects of poor reports or proposals on their (external) reputation. Coaches are therefore now more directly and practically involved in these two steps as integral part of the PME cycle.
- Likewise organisations have recently undergone external evaluations as powerless victims; they did not intervene pro-actively when external evaluators were not aware of this coaching process and did not refer to the coaches as sources of information. Again, this created a poor image of the organisation.
- In spite of lip service paid to partnerships, partners still behaved as if they are the underlying partner in the donor relationship. They withheld information about staff changes to ICCO till the final decision for approval for the next phase was taken, as they feared a negative reaction of their donor!
- The great dynamics in the triangle between ICCO, partners and coaches. Coaches are sometimes bypassed or ignored by partners, as if they are a secondary to the donor relation. At other times, they have on basis of their internal knowledge of the partners, successfully mediated to make ICCO approve a next program phase in spite of serious doubts arisen.