The Impact of Coaching: Early reflections from Ethiopia

In October 2018, EthicalCoach hosted 450 NGO leaders at the Ethiopia NGO Leadership Coaching Summit to introduce them to the power of expert coaching. Twenty organizations were selected following the Summit to receive a coaching grant that included one-on-one coaching for the leader and team coaching (delivered by a pair of coaches) for the senior team for a twelve month period.

Fast forward nine months and a 2019 WBECS pre-summit panel discussion affords us the invaluable opportunity to hear how these leaders are getting on.
Andrea Hernandez Tobar, Country Director of IDE, an organization dedicated to creating  income and livelihood opportunities for those households in need in Ethiopia,  shared her enthusiasm with all of us as to the value coaching has brought to her and her 8-member team.

“THIS HAS BEEN BEYOND MY WILDEST DREAMS. When I first brought this opportunity to my team, they didn’t know what coaching was. I could see their evolution throughout the day of the Summit.”

Andrea spoke of the immense support she and the team had gained from showing up to each coaching session, and the evolution of trust and engagement she witnessed in herself and each person in her team. 

She also spoke to the challenges of remaining committed to the coaching program, including time availability and logistical hassles (primarily internet interruption), and how, notwithstanding these challenges, that these coaching sessions were a win to her team. 

“There is a lot of pressure on me as a leader, The pressure from beneficiaries from donors and the worst pressure comes from ourselves: that we need to have the answer for everything. I am the one that needs to resolve all the issues. The greatest learning through this process has been that the team has come together and to feel the support from the rest of my leaders-  we feel like we are all supporting each other now. More people have stepped up into the leadership role. The support system that the sessions has created has been immense. I have seen the evolution even in myself as a leader- to trust people more, to engage people more, to know that I am not alone. It is a lonely job to be a country director of a NGO. Now I know that I have a team beside me and working with me. It has brought us closer together.”

In closing, Andrea expressed her gratitude : “I can’t thank you all enough for what you are giving to us and to our organization as we are just getting so much closer and more effective as a team.“

To read more about the Coaching Program and the Ethiopia project, visit EthicalCoach’s website at 

Andrea Hernandez Tobar joined iDE Ethiopia in January 2018 and is energized by the commitment and dynamic nature of the Ethiopia team. During the last 20 months, Andrea has focused on creating new partnerships to continue to grow Ethiopia’s portfolio in food security, resilience to climate change, nutrition, livelihood diversification for women and youth, and our programming in Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH), as well as communicating our successes and impact to the international community at large. She has led the effort to develop a comprehensive gender strategy for iDE Ethiopia, looking at gender equity in our work and inside our organization. Andrea is committed to ensuring we are transformational when it comes to women’s empowerment, bridging the gap between the economic and social aspects of gender equity, while committing to a gender-responsive working environment. Andrea and iDE Ethiopia strive to be leaders in this work, ensuring all voices are heard.

iDE is a global development organization that co-creates with foundations, governments, individuals, for-profits, and non-profits to develop lasting solutions to poverty. We design and deliver market-based solutions in Agriculture and Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) in 11 countries across Asia, Africa, and Central America. Much more than a collection of technologies and field offices, we are a globally integrated ecosystem of nearly 1,000 staff, passionate about innovation and entrepreneurism.