Teach, Model and Coach

Tour Guides are Essential in the Workplace

By Angie Matthiessen, Executive Director

Click here to email Kristen Szych, Development Director.

For our family trip last December, we splurged and hired a tour guide for a personal tour of the Uffizi Gallery in Florence, Italy.  We had never hired a tour guide before and were unsure of what to expect, but it was more than I could have imagined.  Diletta brought everything to life from the colors, sights and sounds, leading us through the life of the Medici family and their gift of the Uffizi to Florence. Each level of the museum, each piece of art including the walls as art, told a story and we left forever feeling connected to those who came before us.

Isn’t that how life is? We can move through the rooms, seeing the art, making a note and then moving to the next remotely. Or we can engage with the life and intention of each person and moment, offering ourselves to the story of another and vice versa.

In January, United Way of Charlotte County (UWCC) began hosting Teach, Model and Coach sessions in our office with Motivational Coach, Troy C. Smith. Our community met him at our inaugural United at Work (UAW) Summit last October.

Through UAW, UWCC unites employers, employees and community to foster resilience and collaboration in the workplace, most especially for those in our community working and yet struggling to make ends meet.  Individuals and families are most financially stable when there is a steady income in the household. Workplaces are most productive when they can retain employees, avoiding the costs of rehiring and retraining. 

As we have embarked on this journey with the employers in Charlotte County, a different conversation is taking place, which is exactly what we were looking for. In sessions with Troy, his question connected with me. “Do you know the difference between a travel agent and a tour guide? A travel agent books your trip, sends you the tickets and says bon voyage! A tour guide escorts you personally each step of the way.”

Everyone in the room knew what he was saying. As it relates to the workplace, don’t we all want to feel seen, heard and valued? What does that look like in a work setting?

Since our UAW Summit last October, we have had 20 business leaders who attended the Teach, Model, Coach Workshops. Not only are we sharing these concepts together but offering resources for getting help.

Kristen Szych, Director of Development and lead for the United at Work program, commented, “We are hearing amazing stories from employers who are caring for their employees in tangible ways, engaging employers around solutions that help ALICE.”

Business leaders are reporting action steps, “I adopted a new approach with my team members. I am more engaged with listening to them on business and personal matters.” Another shared, “I have spent time getting to know employees, to build trust, and get a better outcome to grow our business.” They are gaining insights into effective leadership, communication, and management through teaching and modeling best practices. Many of these leaders are taking their employees by the hand and guiding them to make employee (personal) goals happen.

The 2nd Annual United at Work Summit is scheduled for October 30, 2024.  This is an event dedicated to supporting all businesses and empowering the workforce in Charlotte County.  We are grateful to Florida Power & Light and Farr Law Firm for investing in our local workforce as Title Sponsors for this event.  For information about the summit or United at Work, please visit: unitedwayccfl.org/tourguide

For more information about United Way of Charlotte County’s mission:  Mobilizing the power of our community to break the cycle of poverty, please contact Angie Matthiessen, Executive Director. She can be reached at director@unitedwayccfl.org.