For many of us the Covid-19 pandemic has instilled a sudden and unsettling sense of fragility and fear in the face of the looming health crisis. We’ve had to step back, take stock and analyse our situations. Where are we weak? How can we improve? What can we do to try and sidestep the virus?
For others the choices are more limited. Fifteen per cent of South Africans live with disabilities, which could have far-reaching and even life-threatening consequences in the current health context. Dr Emma McKinney, for example, has a hearing impairment. While you’d expect lip-reading masks to be a significant problem for her, it’s the wellbeing of others with disabilities that concerns her most.
Emma, 44, holds a PhD and is a lecturer and researcher in the Interdisciplinary Centre for Sports Science and Development at the University of the Western Cape. She is also a disability consultant. Creating awareness about disability is something Emma is incredibly passionate about. She recently completed SACAP’s Coaching in the Workplace Online Short Course as a means to broaden her support skill set. We chatted to her about her experience of the course and the impact it’s having on her life every day.
Emma does important work. Beyond lecturing and developing teaching programmes and materials she supervises postgraduate students and manages research into disability issues. “I also conduct research for a number of international organisations supporting disabled people and I’m able to work on amazing disability projects in the rural areas of Madagascar, Malawi, Zambia and Ethiopia,” she adds.
Engaging with people from all walks of life is fundamental to Emma’s job and it’s something she really enjoys. “I interact with so many different people – from students, disabled children and adults to governments, academics and teachers to mothers doing the best they can for their disabled children – and I love it!” she asserts.
Emma’s commitment to helping others prompted her to register for SACAP’s Coaching in the Workplace Online Short Course. “I really wanted to know how I can support people better and the more ‘tools’ I can have in my tool belt, the better,” she explains.
“I began the course worrying that I would not ‘do well’ as I had no psychology background,” Emma says. “But I soon realised that the skills the course would develop cut across all sectors and I had nothing to worry about.”
Emma has harnessed her new coaching skills and is using them on a daily basis. “The course has given me new perspectives on how I manage others in my work environment and it’s encouraged me to reflect on my own views and way of doing things,” she says.
We asked Emma why she thought coaching in the workplace is so important. “It’s vital not just for supporting others, but also for enabling us to become insightful and more productive.” When workplace challenges arise – managing adults or people of different cultures, for example – coaching can be particularly beneficial, she says. “Fortunately SACAP’s course provided us with skills and resources that can be used in many different contexts.”
In hindsight Emma says she’s come to realise that coaching has a myriad of different applications: “From my workplace to the various groups and committees I’m involved with, through to my parenting and friendships, coaching can be applied to all areas of my life.”
Emma has two young sons and is married to a C4 quadriplegic who is paralysed from the shoulders down. Managing her time effectively between work and home can be quite a juggle, but she’s glad she made time to complete the course. “While it requires a big commitment to participate in all the sessions, finish the reading material and prepare each week, the benefits are so worth it!” she exclaims. “I am a completely different person from when I started.”
SACAP’s Coaching in the Workplace Online Short Course is a rigorous 12-week programme that inspires out-the-box thinking and nurtures skills that have a huge amount of value in the workplace. Whether you’re an employer or employee, you’ll discover exceptional tools that will enhance your performance and empower the people around you to be engaged and productive, too. If, like Emma, you want to broaden your expertise then why not consider an online course that’s stimulating enough to be internationally recognised and yet so convenient you can complete it in the comfort of your own home? SACAP’s next Coaching in the Workplace Online Short Course starts on the 14th of September 2020. Want to unlock your potential? SACAP has the key. Enquire here now.