Hi, there! My name is Anne-Marcelle Kouamé, and I am a Certified YouMap® Coach!
For the month of May 2021, I created a micro-coaching program at Discover Praxis using YouMap®, a holistic self-awareness tool that helps people uncover their Four Pillars of Career Fit: strengths, values, motivating skills, and career interests. I was able to deliver results by affirming my peers on their unique talents, equipping them with the tools to land meaningful jobs, and inspiring them to work collaboratively. My intention with the project is to also signal that I have what it takes to work in People Operations, Talent Development, and Career Advising. Keep reading to find out how I did it 😎
The problem I saw
Already 6 weeks into the program, my peers at Praxis were feeling demotivated. They struggled to put into words what they felt, how they thought, and why they behaved the way they did. This created more resistance and made it harder for participants to commit to the program, develop their skills, and map out their value proposition for a company.
The solution I came up with
Knowing what a positive difference YouMap® has made in my career journey, I proposed a coaching project to walk my peers through four self-discovery phases: strengths, values, motivating skills, and career interests assessments to reveal what they’re naturally good at!
The skills I got to flex (complementary to my own YouMap® further below):
- Project management and virtual collaboration via Trello
- UX Research interviewing and survey creation via Google forms
- Virtual instruction delivery via Zoom + Otter.ai live transcript for meeting notes
- Talent sourcing, personal development, and team building using YouMap®, Clifton Strengths, LinkedIn, other coaching tools
- Problem seeking/solving for intangible human problems (motivation, group dynamics, self-awareness)
- Short-form video editing using Loom, Screenrec, and Snag it (for making demo gifs and blurring out sensitive user information)
Now take a look at my own YouMap profile below, paying close attention to my strengths and skills, for comparison:
Notice how most of the skills I got to implement for this project match up with “my strengths’’ and “skills I enjoy” on my YouMap.
Pretty revealing right!?
Now imagine how I got my peers at Praxis to identify what they’re good at and then realigned them on their job search using YouMap! I break it all down through 3 planning phases and 4 weekly updates below:
The Planning Phases: Sales Outreach, Coaching Strategy, and Project Management
I wrote these posts to highlight the levels of planning I did before the project even began. Knowing how multidimensional the YouMap® process is, I got an early start mapping out the proposal in early April (Coaching Strategy), pitching the idea to my peers in late April (Sales Outreach), and putting down the final planning touches halfway through the first week of May (Project Management). For the remainder of the month, I had coaching sessions happening each week, both in group and one-on-one sessions.
For this first session, I walked participants through their strengths, values, motivating skills, and career interests at a high level. We spent about 30 mins on each pillar, and I participants engaged through a series of exercises, altogether worth 30mins tops. I wrapped up the session with some CTAs — Call to Action — and opened up the flow for questions, comments, and some feedback. Check out this video highlight of the actual session — video editing courtesy of one of the participants, Don Mason — below:
Here, I met up with each participant one-on-one. Through our discussion, I helped them identify compelling stories to illustrate their strengths, reflect on their values, and affirm them on what they do best that others need. I even implemented a tool called Otter.ai for meeting notes and to extract quotes, which I demo below:
For this second group session, I had participants paired together into breakout rooms based on their YouMap®, working on performance-oriented tasks to showcase their teamwork. I personally had a ton of fun making connections between the participants' YouMap reports, so much so that I actually ended up making a comparative case study, a word cloud, a data table, and some pie charts, just to share with the group during the session. Here is the one that I am most proud of below:
For the final coaching session, I got participants’ feedback via this exit survey that I created, while also answering any remaining questions that they might have had. This is where I also integrated individuals’ final YouMap® Report + my coaching notes into a landing-page-like summary on Notion. See what it looks like below:
So….What Did I Learn so Far?
At the beginning of this project, my goal was for my peers to CELEBRATE their natural talent through stories and STOP with the negative self-talk! Not only was I successful in helping them gain more confidence, but I was also able to equip them with:
- A unique contribution statement for what they do best that others need
- A personalized strategy tailored to assess roles, manager, and organizational fit
- A story tack that illustrates what they’re good at to wow employers during placement
- A YouMap® summary-like-landing page (on Notion) where they can reference their strengths, values, preferred skills, and interests + some coaching notes on what they can improve on!
- As a bonus — straight out of week 4 — participants also got a display of the group’s YouMap profiles (via Airtable) to reference for future collaboration and teamwork. See below:
Then…I also came away with the self-assurance, confidence, and knowledge that I can:
- Create and lead a coaching program from scratch! From the first day when our Praxis Cohort met, I had already envisioned doing YouMap® as my final project. My first obstacle was that no one in my cohort had ever heard of YouMap, and it was my first time creating and executing a group coaching program. Not only was I tasked with educating them about YouMap, but I, myself, had to paint a specific and tangible vision of the project by establishing my why, my goals, and my strategies. No doubt there would be challenges, but I had a clear vision and a strong passion. So, I got to work.
- Plan out an innovative strategy. Though the YouMap® process is already broken down into four pillars, I had to adapt it to the Praxis context and the problem that I saw — that my peer struggled to affirm what they’re naturally good at and convey their experiences in a meaningful way — hence the storytelling addition. I had to create an experience that allowed participants to reveal their most compelling, and often vulnerable stories to show their talents. To do that, I had to write out thoughtful questions ahead of time, consult other coaches, and envision the best outcome for participants — And I crushed it!
- Sell people on an idea. Getting my peers to buy into YouMap® early on was key. But what really made a difference was the one-on-one, personalized voice notes I sent out to my peers, asking them to join on this self-discovery adventure. That latter bit is one of my secret sauces. Literally, very few people actually do send voice notes, and that’s why they worked in my case.
- Be hella’ resourceful in gathering people and material resources. I know I don’t have all the answers but one thing I know for sure is that together we complete. I couldn’t have pulled off this project alone, and I never intended to. Therefore, I was very intentional in getting people on board early on, delegating tasks that were misaligned with my YouMap, and collecting tools like Otter.ai to efficiently extract accurate stories out of interviews— and even leveraging UX Research interviewing methods from past experiences [link] to create empathetic survey responses — Hence the type of multidimensional and collaborative mindset I bring to the workforce and the world at large.
- Connect the dots between people, stories, and ideas. Given my strengths of ideation and connectedness, I often see patterns between seemingly disparate phenomena. I also raise thought-provoking questions that are usually overlooked and gravitate towards solving nuanced human needs that are too often underestimated — think lack of affirmation, self-awareness, cultural intelligence — So, I flushed some of those out, in a concrete, meaningful, and actionable way — helping people to see and make those connections between elements of their YouMap® and in real life through stories.
But hey, don’t take my word for it. Listen to what the participants had to say about their YouMap® experience with me:
From Noah, a problem solver, through and through!
I feel like YouMap® definitely helped the overall attitude of everyone in the [group], especially me. it’s easy to get caught up in the negative self-talk, things that I’m bad at, or things that I’m struggling with. But when you’re going through the [YouMap® process], it helps you actually discover areas that you’re good at, and things that you like doing. It also equips you to understand what it all means and like how those [elements — strengths, skills, values, and interests] play off each other to really mold yourself into doing the best kind of work.
From Ade, known for his stamina and high-achieving mindset!
The best way to describe my [YouMap®] experience with Anne-Marcelle would be like a self-fulfilling prophecy, where I understand these things about myself. But to see a third party also echo those same things was very affirming. It really gave context into ‘okay, yeah, this is what you need to double down on’. And it just so happens that I’m in an environment at work, where my whole team is essentially like me in a way in terms of our thought process and being results-driven. I used to think that maybe I should try to to do other things, but with YouMap® I know that I can continue to double down on my strengths with confidence.
From Edwin who never fails to deliver on his promises.
Anne-Marcelle’s connectedness helped me make connections within my own YouMap®. I don’t actively think about how my strengths may connect with my skills or how my values may contribute to my strengths and career interests that I have. So, [Anne-Marcelle’s] coaching notes and the one-on-one debrief helped me clarify those connections and pinpoint areas where I’m similar or different from my peers in the group. That then makes YouMap® very applicable in everyday matters, relationships, and a co-working environment.
And that said…BIG shoutouts to the rest of the YouMap crew!
- Don, who was kind enough to create that 5mins video highlight from our first group session, thanks to his creative and intellectual genius!
- Caysen, who brought that caring, compassionate, and healthy competition, which allowed me to be vulnerable
- Parker, the epitome of determination, teamwork, and fun combined! His genuine reactions and “aha” moment throughout the whole process was truly affirming for me.
- Not to mention, Liliana who graciously partnered up with me during the planning phases, using her strengths: discipline, learner, achiever, restorative, and individualization!
- And of course, HUGE shout out to the innovator, creator, and author of the YouMap, Kristin Sherry, for creating such an amazing tool and training me to be a coach!
PS: for those reading, reach out to my peers who helped me bring this project to life! They’re insanely talented in their own rights. Don’t believe it? Check out their YouMap(s) below + a link to take you to their Praxis talent profile!!!
- I completed a full YouMap® coaching process. *smirk* Check!
- I affirmed the heck outta’ my peers. *giggles* Check!
- I equipped them with stories for their job placement. *mmhmm* Check!
And I am only getting started!!!
The next phase for me is pitching my YouMap process to Praxis and other companies that I resonate with. Between pitching sessions, I’ll be reviewing my portfolio to fill in the gaps between my coaching skills and other areas of growth to value-signal my capabilities!
In the meantime, if you enjoyed reading about YouMap® and learning about my coaching strategies, reach out and I’d love to work with you!