After 10 years of experience in the field and at the ICRC headquarters, based mainly in hardship contexts in Africa and the Middle East, constantly exposed to rapid changes, pressure, crisis and multicultural issues, Caroline decided to create Into The Field, a coaching platform to guide humanitarian professionals to find their balance and solutions for a successful adaptation throughout their journey. We wanted to know more about this innovative approach, and we reached out to Caroline. Here is what we learned:
1. Caroline, why did you decide to create Into The Field?
Having been in the field during more than 10 years, be it in hardship contexts, first on my own and later with my family, I had to come to grips with many different and challenging situations. I had to learn how to adapt to different cultures, working environments, social interaction (or lack of). Taking up new responsibilities at work could be both exciting and overwhelming at the same time. Even if it was always very enriching on many fronts, this was not always easy. At times, I could have used some guidance and support to live those changes in a more balanced manner. I also realized that I was not the only one. Many of my peers felt the same way.
By creating Into The Field, my first aim is to provide such support, to accompany humanitarian workers throughout their different experiences and to create a community on which they can rely on. The truth is, it is not always easy or possible to share what we are going through with friends and family outside the context. And while talking to colleagues can help, sometimes it is not enough. Into The Field aims to fill this gap and provides humanitarian worker with the tools and mindset to help them find their balance.
2. What are the most common problems you see humanitarian workers face?
In relation to personal challenges, the most common problems are the adaptation to a new cultural context and living in difficult conditions, in particular in places affected by war where there is a lot of suffering, insecurity and social isolation.In those situations, our traditional support network such as family and friends back home might feel remote at times as they have carried on with their “normal” life and live in different time zones. Work can be sometimes very demanding – or the only activity we have – and it becomes increasingly difficult to finding a good balance between professional and private life.
On the professional front, as humanitarian workers, we are required to quickly assume many responsibilities, includingmanaging people, personal conflict between or with people, meeting objectives etc. This can be an important source of stress and coping with it is not always straightforward.
And then comes the time where we may want to go back to the so-called “normal life”, be it at home or elsewhere. Changing life-style, doing a career shift knowing which one, and building a new a social network is not always easy and can be a source of stress too.
All these challenges are pretty common, but they can strain our internal resources and energies to move forward in a balanced manner. The approach put forward by Into The Field through its different online programs precisely aims to help humanitarian workers to live and learn through those challenges and tough times with increased resilience, and stronger growth mindset.
3. And the solutions?
I can’t give you the solutions, but I can assure you I will support you in moving forward with your objectives to achieve your goals with energy and success. Dynamically inspiring motivation and revealing your talents, I will be your co-pilot, supporting you in action with your professional and personal development through the different stages of this particular life path.