A little over three years ago, Mission Possible was chosen by Essential Impact as the nonprofit recipient of its excellent training program, with the goal of implementing a coaching culture within the organization. At the time, it was unknown how this implementation would take place. Fortunately, Mission Possible gained a staff person shortly thereafter who had the skills and passion to lead the way.
Meet Mission Possible’s Jen Langerud. Jen has been working at Mission Possible for two and a half years. Before that, she was with Youth Unlimited in Vancouver and Manitoba. At the Vancouver branch of YU, Jen worked in partnership with Mission Possible, even having a desk at MP’s main office. As a staff member of Youth Unlimited, Jen frequently referred people for job training with MP Maintenance.
Currently, Jen is the Employment Program Manager for Mission Possible. Every associate and staff member at MP is given the opportunity to meet with a coach and work on their employment and individual goals. Jen currently does 80 to 90% of the coaching in the organization. She walks people through every phase of the program, ensuring their momentum towards employment is sustained.
In Jen’s view, Mission Possible has come a long way in a short period of time in its efforts to become an organization with a strong coaching culture. All of the staff have received coaching training from Essential Impact and have significant buy-in to the philosophy of a coaching culture. This is reflected in the conversations and training that take place at Mission Possible, with coaching moments happening around the office and on job sites.
Coaching, according to Jen, is helping people to feel empowered so they know they can do what they are setting out to do. She explains that “Having someone coming alongside you to help you process your insecurities and verbally express what your strengths make a big difference to reinforce what people are capable of accomplishing.”
Jen has seen the power of coaching first hand. As she tells it, “We currently have a supervisor working for us who…the first time I met with her, I don't know if she even made eye contact with me. I had a couple more meetings with her like that and then referred her to MP Maintenance. Something in my gut told me that we needed to give her a try, or the chance to try. Now, she's part of our full-time permanent staff and you always know she's in the building because you can hear her laughing with her co-workers. Not only that, she is supervising other people. She's training people and bringing others into the program. She's even gone through coaching training herself. I would never have guessed that this is where she could be today. When she got back from coaching training she said that it was ‘challenging, but it was really fun!’”
When Jen thinks about where Mission Possible was in January, both in terms of participants and coaching culture, and where it is now, she is amazed. “Our program has exploded. Next week there are 32 coaching sessions happening at Mission Possible; that's how many we used to do in a month. We have hired so many more people the last several months. Our capacity is growing, and at this point, it doesn't seem to be slowing down. It's not just that we're hiring more people; the difference now is that people are coming here because they want work, and they have identified Mission Possible as a place that can help them do that.”