About 7 years ago I had a dream. Let me sound like Martin Luther king here hehe. I somehow managed to picture the future I desired amidst the fog of my midlife transition. Based on four parameters, I pictured how my life would look, but the platform or context was still unclear. My second half of life would impact many lives positively, make Kenya (and Africa) a better place, consume me fully and whatever it was, I could live off it. It’s like I knew I would have a car with leather seats, silver in colour, a diesel engine, and a 4 x 4. But I didn’t know what make of car it would be. Sounded like a Subaru though. Hehe, I’m biased.

I’ve noticed clarity starts forming from the outside when it comes to life transitions.  At least that has been the case for me. Dots start joining from far away and get clearer as I linger longer in that place of nothingness. If we are well tuned in, things people say or situations we find ourselves in confirm a thought we’ve been mulling over or which way to turn. Maybe in my case, it’s been Sir God taking me slowly. Perhaps he knows I’m his beloved but doubting Thomas and that if he showed me the make of my car I’d doubt him and settle for a boda.

That ka vision I got way back in 2017 has never left me. It ignited my desire for public service as the route to impacting many lives positively. I found myself in leadership roles in golf and enjoyed them sana. I progressed to the top of golf administration in 2018/19 and interacted with many folks from many places including top government officials. I was on the right track or so I thought. Maybe I’m still unclear because the dots are still joining. I have often questioned why I became golf captain at Limuru Country Club (our Kenyan Augusta course. If you know you know hehe) back in 2012. I get the sneaky feeling it was a training ground for public speaking which I have enjoyed ever since.

That came in handy last week in a joke that had Sir God all over it. A coach friend invited me to be part of a leadership program for a government agency. Initially, it was to support the senior staff of this organization through coaching over two years. I was ok with that until she invited me to Naivasha to help facilitate a 3-day leadership program. I had a silent but excited panic.

Truth be told, as we drove down to Vashas I wasn’t sure how this would pan out. But I felt this would be a turning point of sorts. We got to our hotel on Tuesday evening, checked in and sat down to do our Day 1 slides. When the student (me) is ready the teacher (my fellow coach) will appear. That’s exactly what happened. We complimented each other pretty well. She’s brilliant in using tech to do presentations and exercises. I’m good at storytelling and connecting with people. My pal was the virtual hero of that workshop and I was the in-person celeb to put it poetically.

Day 1 went well. The meeting room at the hotel had a few challenges but we didn’t let that take away our mojo. The wakubwas (client) trickled in slowly and waited for us to show what we got. We started by guiding everyone through their past leadership journeys. This was also the icebreaker where the aim was for guys to see that they’ve been leaders all along as they grew up and started their first jobs. It was hilarious hearing their stories about their past experiences and lessons learnt along the way.

We connected beautifully with how past random activities taught us lessons that we are applying in our current occupations. We then did a picture exercise that we use in halftime roundtables. I wasn’t sure how that would work in this context but I’m glad we took the chance. Folks were to pick 3 photos. One was to be a picture of where they are in their leadership journey. Another was a picture of where they would want to be at the end of our program and third was to be a picture of a current or potential obstacle.

We split them into groups to discuss their pictures (that they stuck on the walls of our conference room). A picture speaks a thousand words and that’s exactly what happened. From the participants’ responses, I could tell that the pictures worked. They shared their interpretations of the photos and we all got to know each other a little more. It was heartwarming seeing folks who work together sharing personal struggles and somehow allowing their colleagues to come in and help them. It was a good start to our deep-end experience of a leadership workshop with the Government. Thankfully we didn’t drown

Day 2 began on a high note after a strong ending on the first day. We had more confidence but still wound up after a late night of preparations. We continued with their leadership journey in the morning and later dived into the public service leadership framework and competencies. Again, we attempted the group work approach to drive the point home but also to avoid classroom-type presentations that make people daydream and drift away, especially now that we are in Naivasha and just next to the lake.

Day 3 was short as folks needed to leave early and get back to Nairobi and so did we. By this time, I felt like my mind had been to the gym for 3 days straight doing some heavy lifting. We had to finish strong so we tweaked the program to accommodate the time we had. One sign of quality work is keeping within the time given. We took the team deeper into coaching and even did a demo so that they understood what it would look like when we started the one-on-one sessions. I enjoyed that part because I brought up a real issue that my coach (co-facilitator) coached me through. It did lead to some clarity and I hope the folks in the room saw how magic unfolds through coaching. Coaching is all about dancing in the moment.

We asked the team to share one thing they are taking away from Naivasha after our three days together. Their responses confirmed to me that we had done a good job. I couldn’t believe it, especially because I had never been part of something like this before. On the way back, we reminisced with my colleagues and it felt like a dream. Now I feel more competent to both coach and facilitate for more learning and impact. After all, it’s all within my gift. Love how things are forming.

Could this be the public service version that’s cut out for me? Time will tell.  

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3 thoughts on “For Country.”

  1. Charles Babu says:

    I love how you built it from the ground up. I also aspire to be a coach first in my organization and then on to a global scale. I learn and get lots of inspiration from you!
    thank you Lucas!
    PS. I am coming to learn how to play golf from you. haha.

  2. Kirigo says:

    Keep doing it a day at a time. It will all end well.
    Twas great bumping into you as you left on Friday. Wishing you well.

  3. Priscah Motogwa says:

    Great job Lucas and your fellow coach. As a public servant, I firmly believe that we can begin to rewrite the story of the public service, one person at a time.

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