How OCHA used strategic career coaching to achieve diversity goals

52,5% of all talents viewing OCHAs jobs are women.

The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) coordinates the global emergency response to save lives and protect people in humanitarian crises.

OCHA is an office of the UN Secretariat and hence they follow the quota scheme of the UN secretariat, working with both gender and geographic diversity.

OCHA and Impactpool have worked together for many years to achieve OCHA's diversity objectives. In 2021 OCHA and Impactpool started to discuss coaching of women to promote gender parity. OCHA has local offices in several of its under-represented member states. Many of these colleagues are highly educated women serving on professional contracts (NO).

If they could motivate and prepare these women to apply for International professional (IP) roles, OCHA saw an opportunity;

  1. to accelerate the reach of their diversity goals and

  2. to do it with talents they already knew.

OCHA knew that Impactpool had offered coach programs to other organizations and wanted to explore the possibility that Impactpool designed a coaching program for them.

To be a coach on Impactpool you must have a combination of coaching certification and professional sector experience. The OCHA task was to design a coaching program for women in a national professional role with aspirations to move on and apply for International career positions. For the tack, Impactpool compiled an experienced project team.

OCHA wanted two batches, one spring batch of 100 staff and one fall batch of 100 staff. The objective of the program was to help the participants to better understand:

  • how to move from a national staff to an international staff (G-to-P or GS-to-P),

  • how to identify their own transferable skills and career advancement opportunities,

  • how to navigate careers in a UN context with different contract types and quotas,

  • how to create individual Job search strategies and apply for the jobs with the best chances,

  • how to write an effective CV and,

  • how to manage a UN assessment (Competency Based Interview)

Coaching program design

Both the budget and expectations from OCHA were clear. For staff working in a humanitarian crisis, offering the flexibility of self-learning options is important as daily plans and schedules can change rapidly. Hence, the Impactpool team wanted to design a program that allowed the participants to take different avenues to obtain knowledge and designed a program with three different learning elements.

  1. Live recorded virtual Workshops

  2. Individual coaching

  3. Self-studies

To ensure that participating OCHA staff were interested and motivated to go through the program, all staff had to apply and OCHA selected 100 participants for each batch.

Live recorded virtual Workshops 

The virtual workshop was provided live, and recorded for non-attending participants. The workshops were facilitated in French and English. OCHA didn't add subtitling or sign-language interpretation, but Impactpool offers these two services for our webinars.

The Workshops are divided into three online sessions, facilitated by a coach to create a participatory atmosphere where the individuals ask questions and share experiences and knowledge. The workshop topics were:

  • Job search strategy in a UN context

  • CV and application writing in a UN context

  • Interview preparation in a UN context

Individual coaching

The Impactpool coaching network offers coaches a broad range of language skills; hence, the individual can in most cases (if desired) work with a coach in their native language.

The selected career coach had all worked in HR at the UN and specialized in supporting career progression at the UN. The focus of the sessions is decided by the staff member and the coach in agreement. Topics we have seen chosen often touch on one of the topics in the workshops.


The Impactpool Fellowship is a premium membership of Impactpool providing a large library of self-learning materials. The affected staff member registers their career profile and receives AI-matched job alerts with relevant jobs. The individual will also receive online access to individualized content and learning paths, increasing their chances of promotion. At Impactpool the self-study material contains:

  • Learning material on how to write a strong application;

  • Learning material on how to succeed in an interview;

  • Guides to understanding different grading systems in International Organizations;

  • Databases filled with CBI interview questions;

  • Library with Webinars from Impact employers and Career Coaches

  • Live webinars, etc

Diversity results

Over the two past years, 400 staff has gone through the coaching program.

Thanks to frequent participation in Impactpool's Virtual Career Events and being a premium partner for several years, 52,5 percent of the talents viewing OCHA jobs on Impactpool are women today. These women come from 195 different countries.

Below is the dashboard OCHA (and all our partners) uses on Impactpool to monitor the diversity targets in real time.

If you would like to discuss a coaching program for your organization, please fill out the contact form below and an Impactpool representative will reach out.