Are you an Erasmus alumnus and would you like to share your experience and insights by being a coach? On March 14 and May 9, 2019 the next Erasmus Coachcafés for young alumni and master students of the Erasmus University Rotterdam will take place. During these evenings, set in an actual bar, the participants discuss their talents, dreams and next steps and learn about the power of networking. Here are five reasons why becoming a coach is a great idea.
1. Give back
Former Secretary General of the Ministry of Justice and Security Pieter Cloo coached Erasmus Coachcafés several times. He likes to give back to the university. ‘Two years ago I decided to turn my life around. I’ve had great opportunities throughout my career and I’ve earned enough money, so I decided I’d like to spend less time working, and more time giving back. In particular to the university that made it all possible. Now I give guest lectures, but I also very much enjoy coaching at the Coachcafés.’
2. Inspire young people
Coachcafé-nights are a wonderful opportunity to share knowledge and inspire young people, such as Master students. Many of these are at important decision-making crossroads in their lives, and ready to take the first steps into their future. Your questions can help them on their way. Pieter Cloo: ‘Many of them don’t know exactly what they want to do. When I was their age I didn’t know either. As coaches, we ask them questions such as: What are your strong points? How would your friends describe you? What would you like to do in ten years? I can tell them my story and how I learned things the hard way – but the most important thing is asking them questions, and letting them talk.’
'The most beautiful part is when you see a real change in the person in front of you.'
Alumnus Berthilde van Hierden, manager at UWV Utrecht
3. Get energized
‘And I always get a lot of energy from these nights,’ Cloo adds. He thinks it’s great to talk to young people. Alumnus Berthilde van Hierden, manager at UWV Utrecht, also has experience as a coach at Coachcafés. According to her, ‘The setting is a bar (‘café’), so these nights of inspiring young people take place in a very relaxed atmosphere. Bars are usually where the best conversations happen.’
4. Bring about change
Berthilde van Hierden: ‘The most beautiful part is when you see a real change in the person in front of you. When you can make a student dream big, freeing their minds, it is a real success. Once someone's dream was: becoming a professional piano player. It doesn’t really matter whether these dreams are feasible, the goal is to inspire people, to get them dreaming in the first place, because that is what will lead them to their real passion.’ As a coach you help people think about their strengths and their specific talents.
5. Learn something yourself
‘In Dutch culture, we’re not used to asking for help. But at the end of each Coachcafé we play ‘Live LinkedIn’. We stand in a circle and ask each other for connections. There is always someone who knows someone who can help you realise your next step,’ Van Hierden explains. ‘You’ll always find someone willing to help. It’s a great thing to become aware of. As it turned out, the same questions we ask as coaches are useful in my own job, with my employees. I now ask them about their dreams and how I can help them, instead of solely giving them orders. Everybody thrives on sincere interest.’