Friday, July 22, 2011

When one becomes a Communications Strategy Coach FULL-TIME, beware of the food intake

neYes, girls and boys. It's official. I am now a Communications Strategy Coach full-time. More specifically - teaching English communication in the food and beverage industry. Before this, I have been coaching on a part-time basis, knowing how much time and energy are needed to plan. Now, this is something I have always been aware of. Food! But it can be difficult to resist food, since SO MUCH energy is dispensed everyday, teaching and coaching, persuading and laughing with my students - who mostly are inept in the English language. Not to mention, I have to outline the course details, remembering to give balance in each class in terms of the content and the manner in which I teach, so it will always be fresh and exciting in attracting these students to attend everyday. When so much energy is dispensed in all these coaching work and planning, naturally one would have to eat some food to replenish one's loss of humongous energy. And how much weight have I gained since! (almost 2kg). Check out my NEW commercial in Youtube:

Communication Barriers
First and foremost, I can't possibly joke with my international students in English, which I always did with my other local students. This group of students are more "international", being that they are not locals and English is not their first language. So you can imagine how tough it is for me to even communicate and teach the simplest terms to them. Being a communications coach, I have been able to utilise my years of "bumping into the wrong wall" experience, and come up with strategies that find its way into the minds and hearts of my new found international audience. The first week was exciting - getting to know each and everyone of them, more than 80 of them. I predict more new faces are coming.

Using Communication Strategies
Strategies mean using my interpersonal skills, experience, knowledge, even body language and facial expression to communicate and reach out to them. It's all really natural to me, since I have the experience of being an actor, so I find the skills I've learnt on set have truly helped. Of course, some of the students in the group knew of my past TV appearances, so it helps to connect and flame the camaraderie. It's all good, positive rapport! And with all the good vibes, my students would sometimes bring me some food. The first time, I didn't expect it, for I do not want to be too comfortable and take any advantage. But there are some interesting foods - like the pig patee served with bread. Creamy and really filling! Oh, the pig patee is to die for, it's all mashed up into a dry paste, in which you can spread over the bread like some butter, served with a cup of milked coffee.

Like a Professional
Later, one of my students who is in charge of supplying food (secretly) to the floor staff when they're working, decided to let me taste their traditional noodles. Glass bee-hoon in sweet, sour and little bit spicy soup, mixed together with some mushrooms and giant onions. I declined at first, for I do not want to take anybody's share, but the student insisted. She even have the food sent up to me at my class - all nicely presented like a professional chef would have done - with the steel lid cover over the bowl and white napkins and silver cutlery. Impressive.

Lunchtime is my coaching time
The timing of my work starts also clash with lunchtime, which I have to immediately head back to the training room, after a quick lunch. The area of the restaurant and bar, is thankfully packed with a few Chinese food stalls, but a tad expensive to my taste. I tried the mixed rice shop at Sg Wang food court, and I advised you guys not to eat there for dinner. Seriously, the food quality has deteriorated much. So the only available place is Jalan Alor, and even that place I don't favor much because the price. But the place is pretty packed with other specialty restaurants. One of my students passed me some shrimps and white buns as snacks to take away, which I saved it to prepare my dinner for the night. They really love me. Hopefully all the love will not be channelled to my weight gain! Ai-yai-yai, I definitely have to go for a hardy swim session tomorrow!