By Lori Quiller, AFCLC Outreach Team
/ Published April 27, 2021
LEAP Scholars Capt. Mathieu Lefebvre and Master Sgt. Alain Mukendi were initially notified of their eligibility for the Coaching Culture Facilitator Course through the MyPers website. Photos courtesy of Capt. Lefebvre and Master Sgt. Mukendi, respectively.
There’s a difference between being a mentor and being a coach. The U.S. Air Force has a new course designed to inspire Airmen to achieve their personal and professional potential. Two Air Force Culture and Language Center’s Language Enabled Airmen Program Scholars, Capt. Mathieu Lefebvre and Master Sgt. Alain Mukendi, are among the first selected to attend this unique course.
The Coaching Culture Facilitator Course pilot equips leaders with a coaching skillset to enable and enhance the development of Airmen, according to Russell J. Frasz, Air Force director of Force Development. While many people understand sponsorship and mentoring, the difference between coaching may not be clear. As he explained, a sponsor talks about you, a mentor talks to you, and a coach talks with you.
French LEAP Scholars Lefebvre and Mukendi were both initially notified of the opportunity through the MyPers website, but what caught their attention the most was their own experiences with the coaching culture and the opportunity to give back to their fellow Airmen.
“I’ve had coaching experience in the past and went through a five-week coaching workshop, in my current role at Microsoft, as an Education With Industry Fellow,” Lefebvre said. “Coaching is an essential leadership trait that benefits people in all aspects of their lives. Becoming a coach for the Air Force would enable me to connect with Airmen on a larger scale and help me to serve others to the best of my abilities. I believe we can do better at preparing junior Airmen to transition from technician roles to more leadership-oriented ones. Often as supervisors, we try to assist our supervisees, and sometimes we do not feel equipped to help them thus we end up just giving advice. While some want the advice, we lose out on an incredible opportunity to listen and let the people talk through their challenges.”
Mukendi agreed and added his LEAP training will provide an additional layer of awareness and cultural sensitivity during the course.
“I hope to contribute my personal and professional experiences to this course. I’m interested in being an Air Force Coach because I believe it is an amazing way to add value to someone else’s life and allow them to benefit from my knowledge and experience while enhancing their ability to go forward and do the same,” Mukendi said. “Becoming a coach will allow me to gain a deeper understanding of my own strengths. I am committed to being a leader who will help improve others, therefore deepening the collective bench and strengthening groups that contribute to retaining high-quality followers and future leaders. My LEAP training over the years will significantly help me as a coach because it has provided me with the cross-cultural competency, awareness, and cultural sensitivity needed to guide our Airmen and inspire their commitment deliberately. Furthermore, I believe my training will help build partnerships with our allies during Language Intensive Training Events or any other LEAP-related events.
Upon completing the course, participants will earn an Air Force coaching certificate. They will be required to deliver 100 hours of coaching sessions over two years, along with a two-year service commitment.
Based on the success of the pilot, the course will open to a larger population to include wage-grade and bargaining unit employees. For more information on how to apply, visit the CAC-enabled MyPers website at https://mypers.af.mil/app/answers/detail/a_id/49733.
551 E. Maxwell Blvd, Bldg 500, Maxwell AFB, AL 36112