Podcast: Reimagining technical assistance over coffee: episode 3 - Coaching

What is coaching and when is it the best approach? Alexandra Nastase and Jo Kemp discuss coaching as a means of supporting state capability in the third episode of this podcast series.


This podcast series comprises a set of informal conversations with experienced practitioners and development partners on the practicalities of delivering effective technical assistance, the day-to-day challenges of doing things differently, and suggestions drawn from their own experiences. It's about reimagining technical assistance over coffee, if you like.

Technical assistance support is predominantly delivered through expert advice, as consultancy or mentoring services. This type of support, when delivered in a timely manner, can advance significant technical agendas, especially when government officials don’t have the available time or the technical expertise in the respective subject matter. In our blog series, we referred to this as DOER or PARTNER support.

However, large reform programmes, especially structural reforms, require a mix of support methods, to address complex problems. This support can be delivered through facilitation-type methods such as coaching.

In this episode, we discuss coaching with Jo Kemp – what it is, what it’s not, what it can/cannot do, and when to use it. Jo is an accredited coach with significant experience in leading governance programmes in international development (bio below).

Listen in to hear our reflections on:

  • What are the boundaries between coaching, mentoring, and consulting, and what is the right mix for building state capability?
  • Did you know that our brain shuts down when receiving advice? How is this influencing the way we deliver technical assistance?
  • How to manage the continuum between the need for short bursts of motivation and long-term capacity development efforts?
  • How can coaching help to develop adaptive leadership – such a vital skill for most policymakers now in the face of Covi-19?
  • How to make sure we empower those we are working with?

Enjoy the conversation! If you have any comments or suggestions, please feel free to get in touch with Alexandra Nastase on LinkedIn via email.

About Jo:

Having worked in the international development sector for 14 years, Jo Kemp now works as a consultant supporting clients to navigate complexity and help bring about change. She is a qualified executive coach with training in partnership brokering.

Her work with a range of different organisations has provided her with rich and diverse experiences of what it means to work in the sector, and an understanding of how coaching can support sustainable social change.

About Alexandra:

Alexandra Nastase is an experienced development professional who designed, implemented and evaluated multiple public sector change programmes in the past decade. Alexandra’s work is centred on advancing structural reforms, strengthening state capability and government performance to deliver public services in Europe, Asia, Africa. She held multiple leadership and senior advisory roles for multi-million technical assistance programmes funded by the World Bank, the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office, the European Commission, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and UN agencies. Before joining OPM, she also worked for the World Bank, UN, and non-governmental organisations.

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