There’s this concept that it’s better to keep your weaknesses and your difficulties to yourself and slowly work on them yourself. Everybody does that. We all do it. The things that I’m really upset with myself for doing, I’m not going to tell anyone. Because I’ll just fix it and then I won’t have to tell anyone. But that’s something that you can say every single day.

To rid yourself of that habit in an environment in which you are surrounded by love and support, for students to learn now it’s okay to be comfortable sharing the things that you’re not so good at so that we have people around to support us and build ourselves up I think it’s really powerful. These students benefited a lot from it.

The students immediately became comfortable with each other during the discussion with K Street Coaching®. That was important specifically to me as a program coordinator. Because I’m organizing 35 Chinese undergraduate students who are focusing on STEM and 15 American graduate students in international relations. After the session with K Street Coaching® these students were no longer split up into two groups of Chinese and Americans. They were really talking and we enjoyed the rest of the week as a large group together instead of two split ones.

A lot of people address programs like ours in ways that aren’t kind. Being a leader involves being kind. It involves looking at the people around you and caring what they do. Gideon commands a room, he leads a room, getting people to participate, as a nice guy. And that’s a really important thing that K Street Coaching® brings to the table: A way to view leadership as not commandeering all the attention.

In a general sense, these students from China and America don’t all have a very good idea of the other side. The Americans don’t really understand what it’s like to be a student in China or even what it’s like to be in China at all. The same is true for these Chinese students coming here who had no idea what to expect coming from America.

Breaking down those guards immediately and having our vulnerabilities presented showed everyone from day one that we’re really not as different as it might seem. There’s a language barrier, there’s a physical barrier all the time, just in terms of geography.

But once you’re in the same room and you hear someone talk about things that are really deep and personal to them, working on leadership, which is something that we all want to work on, we have these things in common that we can do together and that can bring us closer, in sharing our personal goals and helping each other achieve them. That’s a large international relations sense and it’s beautiful that K Street Coaching® can do that for us.

On a smaller level, it was really lovely to see the students begin to interact in a way that was important to them, in a way that mattered. And that wasn’t something I was able to achieve prior to the K Street Coaching® workshop, because the students were closed down and unaware of what their own personal goals for the week were.

Once they became aware that they did have these personal goals that maybe they hadn’t realized themselves, and that they shared these goals with students of vastly diverse backgrounds, we were able to make a great week.

I would recommend K Street Coaching® mostly for what we can learn about ourselves. I could hear all of these students being surprised at hearing themselves answering certain questions. There was a question, “What is the worst thing about yourself?” I could see, as the students began to answer, they were a little bit hesitant and maybe even confused. I’ve never seen someone be confused while speaking about themselves before. But it was very clear that this was something they’d never done before. And afterwards the relief was tangible.

By sharing these experiences, by sharing the things that they were concerned about, or the fears that they had, or what made them feel vulnerable, it made them stronger and more capable of tackling those exact issues. We saw that throughout the rest of the program. We saw a lot of people become more and more comfortable with public speaking as the time went on.