Quotes of the week:
“Life is ten percent what happens to you and ninety percent how you respond to it.”
“If what you did yesterday seems big, you haven’t done anything today.”
“I think everyone should experience defeat at least once during their career. You learn a lot from it.”
“If you’re bored with life – you don’t get up every morning with a burning desire to do things – you don’t have enough goals.”
“Don’t be a spectator, don’t let life pass you by.”
“When all is said and done, more is said than done.”
The goal of this week’s learning is to discuss the concept of coaching and why this concept is so vital to success in today’s business environment. How do coaches know what they’re doing works? How do you know you’re getting your money’s worth or in business speak—a good return on investment (ROI) when you hire a coach? In addition, this week we will also delve deeper into various meta-analyses of coaching to explain the links between action learning and how we construct meaning for effective understanding of our world and those worlds with whom we interact and engage. How will this be of interest and benefit to us?
To begin our adventure, let’s take a walk back in of time. As Landy and Conte (2007) offered:
You may ask why we need any historical treatment. The answer is that to know where we are now and where we are going as a field, it helps to know how we got there. (p. 17)
The goal for us during this course is to connect the dots that transcend a variety of related disciplines from leadership to management, to human resources, to human engineering, to the analysis of the human psyche as part of understanding the mind of the adult learner through the lens of coaching. When we take ourselves to work each day—however we may define work— we cross many fields of interest as we simply do not exist within a vacuum. Since many of us spend at least 50% of our time at ‘this thing called work,’ let’s see how the relationship between coach and client affect how we see the world. Why can others see what we may not be able to?
Let’s first be sure to understand the difference between coaching and mentoring. A coach is familiar with the game; a mentor is one who has played before. Why is this distinction important? We need to look at the advantages and benefits of both, particularly how experiential learning may affect this relationship between coach and player; coach and client, mentor and mentee.
Take a quick look at this 2 minute video:
What do we think about this famous speech from the 1980 Dream Team? What was so inspiring about these well chosen words that motivated this team to such success? Why was this coach able to connect with each of his players in such a powerful way?
Table 3.1 within our text (p. 81) offers some thoughts by Berger (2006) that will be of interest to us here regarding her four perspectives of understanding: Prince/Princess, Journeyman, CEO, and Elder. Be sure to dig into this table and compare and contrast the key strengths and key blind spots as well as areas of growth and targeted coaching interventions (Stober & Grant, 2006, Ch. 3). Do you see yourself within these categories? Bosses co-workers? How might these best practices be of help to us here?
I find Berger’s (2006) categories of great interest, as they relate to a character in one of my books, Journey Outside the Golden Palace, named Merlin. Merlin is the wise elder who ‘coaches’ his young apprentice Henri though his awakening of leadership offering pearls of wisdom in his speech Money is . . .
“Money is but a symptom, a tool, a way of going about one’s day. It is not the what one does but how one uses their gifts that are of importance dear boy You would do best to be mindful of this. Money is not happiness; it is not calmness or clarity, or wisdom or knowledge. Money quite simply . . . is” said Merlin as his gaze trailed off into the river once more… (Lentz, 2010, p. 15)
As with Berger (2006), “The Elder sees and understands the perspectives of others and uses those perspectives to continuously transform his own system” (p. 81). Merlin like the Elder is both teacher and student, both learner and master—possessing the ability to see many connections on many levels of understanding. This nexus is the point of relevance for a coach.
Interesting perspectives from two different authors yet similar in nature.
Soon-to-be-famous Segment: News You Can Use.
Now let’s look at the application of what we have learned this week. How does this translate into action? How can this translate into “News We Can Use Today?”
Let’s review our critical thinking skills from our graduate days for a moment to connect the dots. If thinking is within the box and critical thinking is outside the box; let me offer a new concept: refractive thinking which is beyond the box, beyond traditional conceptual boundaries particularly of the either / or dichotomy of the proverbial box (Lentz, 2009, Preface). Why is this important here? This theory builds upon the desire to move beyond conventional wisdom, to learn to challenge what you see, and most importantly to explain why. Both of this week’s chapters 3 and 7, offer some unique perspectives and theories to consider. What is my role as your faculty then you may ask? [Brilliant question to ask—thank you! *grins*] My role is to help you see what is already there, expanding beyond your comfort zone and perceived limitations, to move from a definition—what people and organizations do (theory) into application (action)—how they do what they do, and perhaps a wee bit into why as well. *grins* What we need to consider is the difference between who a coach is and the tangible results of what coaching can do—its affects and effects? [Hint: spend some time deciding what the difference is between these two words.] What is meant by these two different words and why might I be highlighting their importance here?
Our goal is to integrate these theories of adult learning and development to “translat[e] new knowledge, insights, skills, and values into one’s conduct” (Robinson, 1994, p. 3). We need to move from theory to actual practice. What will you do with this information? How will your internal thinking translate into the benefits you’ll gain from knowing the benefits of coaching and the personnel approach where “the goal is to find or fit the best person to the job” (Landy & Conte, 2007, p. 11). How is this valuable? Let’s be sure to contemplate these ideas as we look toward our discussion questions for this week. Be sure to review the eight theories offered by Cox (2006) in Chapter 7, p. 193).
How will we begin to fit these pieces together?
One of my favorite leadership theories is the Kouzes and Posner (1997) Jigsaw Puzzle Principle.
It is easier to put the puzzle together if you can see what is on the box cover.
In any organization, people have different pieces of the organizational puzzle. Members may have detailed descriptions of their roles and responsibilities, but very often they lack information about the ‘big picture’—about the overall purpose or vision of the organization. (pp. 98-99)
Do you know what the cover of the puzzle box looks like for you, your colleagues, your coworkers, and your organization? This is the overarching purpose for us here for coaching and mentoring—the formalized study of how these various puzzle pieces of the human factor integrate and work together, both on the individual level and ultimately for the organization that will benefit from coaching. This then of course begs the questions: What forces act upon these pieces? What are the dynamics that are in play that ultimately effect (and affect!) the outcome in which coaches and clients operate? What specifically can we take from these eight adult learning theories in Chapter 7?
Adult learning suggests that an adult simply needs to know why what they are doing is relevant to their world of understanding.
Andragogy builds on the theory of constructivism, which suggests that learning is an active process where experiences is used by learners to construct new learning based on their previous understanding. (Cox, 2006, p. 194).
As a result, we think of learning—and coaching for our purposes here—as part of creating learning contracts or learning outcomes where “Learning contracts are similar to the contracts or action plans frequently used in coaching to help organization learning/performance more effectively” (Cox, 2006, p. 195). Let me invite you to review Table 7.1 (p. 196). The goal here again is application of coaching and the overarching purpose that represents “a developmental shift, a new world view, rather than simply developmental progress” (Cox, 2006, p. 197). The role of the coach is to help aid in understanding these new epiphanies and ‘aha’ moments, to offered guided reflection and perspective transformation.
My favorite quote from this chapter was “Learning in the service of self-awareness and self-understanding involves processes of critical reflection, self-awareness, meaning making, and perspective change” (Mezirow, 1991; Tennant & Pogson, 1995)” (as cited in Cox, 2006, p. 2000). Isn’t this a gem? The goal as a coach is much the same as a leader, simply one who guides the journey taken by one’s followers. How profound for our purposes here.
This of course then further postulates, how can we in this class help you increase your understanding of these concepts? How can we increase the tools available to help you as part of these organizations—wherever you may find yourself—with the purpose of combining these pieces together for more effective and functional outcomes?
Finally, I like to use the concept of outcome based thinking—starting with the end in mind—where you want to be, then backing the truck all the way up to find the most effective route to get there. Think of the answer of the Cheshire Cat from Alice in Wonderland: “If you don’t know where you’re going, any path will do” (Alice in Wonderland, 1954). Very profound isn’t it, yet so elegantly simple. This is what is meant by the various disciplines this course invites us to explore—how can you as the manager or leader control and manage aspects of social capital and culture in all its complexity and divergent splendor to achieve effective and desired results. Let’s look at both the end result and the process by which to navigate often turbulent and troubled waters to get there. *smiles*
We must look to not only the what of the equation, but the other side of the equal sign –the end result as well.
What + How = Organizational & Personnel Action [effect + affect]
AND let’s look to the process [the internal and external approaches to get there (Jones, 2010, pp. 15-16)]. Again, we continue to ask the question, how do we know when we get ‘it’ right? How do we know when good is good enough? Do we settle or do we go for exceptional? How do we know that the puzzle pieces match the top of the box cover in the most efficient and effective way possible between coach and player? How do we know when we have arrived at our destination (outcome) and that where we are is where we want to be, need to be, should be? How does our coach specifically move us from point a (where we are) to our desired state of where our development demands that we go?
Lastly, let’s consider the outcomes of critical thinking and query once more: How do we define success? Connors, Smith, and Hickman (2004) suggest looking at the accountability of results to identify who is responsible. “Your organization will not succeed in the long run unless people assume accountability for achieving the desired results” (p. 7). Isn’t it amazing to see how success ultimately begins with the process of critical thinking and the accountability for the outcome of those behaviors? Berger (2010) refers back to Keegan’s (1994) theory as ‘self transformational’ (p. 92) elements in the process. Is she right? What do you think?
An Object in Motion Tends to Stay in Motion
Nature is motion isn’t it? Let’s return to our chapter 3 for this week and be sure to focus on the elusive difference between theory and its application, acknowledging that “development is hard to see initially” (Berger, 2010 as cited in Stober & Grant, 2006, p. 93). Developmental levels and frames of understanding are nebulous and ubiquitous, a dynamic and shifting goal post. “Development is about motion” (Berger, 2010 as cited in Stober & Grant, 2006, p. 94) . . . “Development is just another way to categorize our judgments” (Berger, 2010 as cited in Stober & Grant, 2006p. 95). The focus is not just on the what, but the internal process and focal point of the how.
Great points for us to ponder this week. Let’s tug on these strings a wee bit more and see where this takes us.
**For more helpful tips on doctoral publishing, please join us for a free webinar (a $97 value!) by going to http://www.FreeRefractiveThinker.com. Please feel free to share your comments!
Coaching Quotes. *(2006). Lou Holtz. Retrieved from http://www.coachqte.com/holtz.html
Connors, R., Smith, T., & Hickman, C. (2004). The Oz Principle: Getting results through individual and organizational accountability. New York, NY: The Penguin Group.
Jones, G. R. (2010). Organizational theory, design, and change (6th ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall.
Kouzes, J. M., & Posner, B. Z. (1987). The leadership challenge: How to get extraordinary things done in organizations. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass Publishers.
Landy, F. J., & Conte, J. M. (2007). Work in the 21st century: An introduction to industrial and organizational psychology (2nd ed.). Malden, MA: Blackwell Publishing.
Lentz, C. (2008, 2010). Journey outside the golden palace. Las Vegas, NV: The Lentz Leadership Institute.
Lentz, C. (2009). The refractive thinker®: An anthology of doctoral writers. Las Vegas, NV: The Refractive Thinker® Press.
Robinson, R. D. (1994). Helping adults learn and change. (Rev. ed.). West Bend; WI: Omnibook Co.
Stober, D. R., & Grant, A. M. (Eds.). (2006). Evidence based coaching handbook. New York, NY: John Wiley & Sons.
You Tube. [Producer]. (2006). Miracle – Coach Brooks Addresses Team Pre Game. [Video]. Available from http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vwpTj_Z9v-c