We’ve been sharing our stories about pro bono projects completed during the global pandemic featuring work done by ICF members and and by Chapters. This story provides excerpts from an article submitted by Farah Nic, ACC, Flight Angels (Coaching individuals within the aviation industry (e.g., pilots and flight attendants)
Taking a courageous step
I was a chief stewardess with an international airline that I left in April 2020 after 31 years of flying. One of the main reasons I left was because I felt compelled to help my colleagues who were going through a tough time due to the COVID-19 pandemic adversely affecting the aviation industry and the livelihoods of its workers. I just could not watch what they were going through when I knew that I could help them with their challenges through coaching. I could not coach them if I was still with the airline, since I was bound by exclusive service with the company. The suffering of my now ex-colleagues was far greater than my own and tugged at my heart strings, which gave me the impetus and courage to leave my job and fully step into what I long saw as my calling.
However, my initial efforts in offering pro bono online coaching sessions via Zoom to my ex-colleagues were met mostly with great reluctance. Many were more concerned with the daily bread and mounting bills and, despite my sharing, did not see coaching as essential. Soon after, I read on LinkedIn of flight attendants and pilots of other airlines being laid off, and it pained me. My heart goes out to all the flight angels of the world, as I call them, and I reached out to them on their posts, offering them pro bono coaching sessions.
Flight Angels begins
In August 2020, I set up and launched my website, Flight Angels Coaching & Training, which was filled with information on coaching once I’d realized that my ex-colleagues — and Asians in general — are not familiar with how it could help them. I set up Facebook and Instagram pages to reach out to flight angels in every corner of the world, offering pro bono online coaching sessions via Zoom.
Truthfully, I have not been as successful as I would like to be in reaching out to them. I do not have the financial means to advertise or boost posts. I am new to social media and am still learning the ropes, but I will continue to do so while juggling peer coaching and trying to make a living. I have continued to coach the small number of pilots and flight attendants who have contacted me thus far. Some have expressed concerns over the three pro bono sessions coming to an end, for fear that they may not be able to afford the costs beyond that, given their financial struggles. I have assured them not to worry and intend to carry on with further sessions without charging them.
Seeking the ripple-effect
Despite my big heart, my relentless efforts and my desire to be of service to others, I understand that I may not have made a large impact in terms of reach and numbers. It is but a drop in the ocean. But perhaps that one drop will have far-reaching ripples that positively affect the lives of many others. It is not about seeking a reward or recognition, but rather raising awareness. I will continue with pro bono coaching to pilots and flight attendants for as long as it takes. Through this sharing, I hope to come together, join hands and pool our resources toward helping various segments of society who are greatly affected and struggling during this time.
To learn more about this initiative and other Gift of Coaching Collective projects visit the ICF Foundation website page at: https://foundationoficf.org/giftofcoaching-2/
To share your own pro bono Gift of Coaching stories, click here and learn how to submit a narrative about your project.