Boy am I different!

December 13, 2006

I knew I had made the right choice within the first few minutes of the Train the Trainer class. It was a small intimate group, the structure was balanced with some discussion and some lecture, and acknowledgement was the thread that brought it all together to new heights.

 I jumped on enrolling in the class because of my trust in Karen as an excellent teacher and ICA trainer. What I knew of Bronwyn reinforce the quality knowing her to be an excellent businesswoman and intelligent thinker. “Yes,” I said to myself, “This will be an excellent method of learning to train and to structure successful tele-seminars.”

Little did I know the personal change that would overtake me. Having been an extremely successful teacher and home school coach, I reveled in the joy of seeing my students and their parents set goals, learn to balance their lives and subsequently create success both in their educational endeavors and the personal passions. But that was two years ago and I was now transplanted and without the constant connection with former “clients” and colleagues that reminded me of why I came to this earth.

With Train the Trainer, I connected with a whole new set of colleagues, delighted in their accomplishments and set my magic to work on ICA students in the practice training session. More ideas came to me solidifying my niche and helping me understand when you are doing your purpose, your career takes its own positive course.

Am I different? Absolutely!

Am I a more proficient trainer? Ditto!!

Am I a different person? Have I regained my sense of center and enthusiasm in my business? Do I now have options that were hidden from me as I navigated the ICA CPC program? Without a doubt.

Then I guess, dear Bron, my answer to your question is “Yes!” a resounding “Yes!!” I have changed. I will let you know how it all turns out.

Thank you, Karen and Bron, for putting together a terrific class.

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December 10, 2006

Teaching and Teleclass Learning

Another rich lesson under the guidance of Karen on December 5.

After Louise’s gratitude exercise, we all felt enriched not only by the exercise but Louise’s loving and sincere energy projected into our hearts and souls.  We also sent compassion to Kathy in her loss. We admired her vigilance and her tenacity in joining us at a difficult time.

The topic this week was the role of a trainer and competencies of a trainer. I was interested in Bron’s observation that assessing in training differs from assessing in coaching. The intimacy of coaching allows for verification of competencies whereas training does not allow opportunities for such intimacy and therefore verification is minimal and sometimes totally absent. I see the possibility of a blend of coaching and training.

Role of a Trainer

I led my practice class on Thursday and spent hours looking over the competencies from the ICF standards provided us in Supervised Coach. The topic for my class was UAC’s an it was the third and final session. My goal for the class was to review what UAC’s were to verify the understanding of what they are, how they inhibit the achievement of the goal and how to free an client from them in order to create more effective action. Once it was clear the students understood the UAC I wanted to illuminate tools for helping a client discover his UACs.

Bring a focus to a particular topic:

I asked for the students to review for me what they had covered in the first two lessons. They were hesitant but in a few minutes time we had a few important points.

Open doors for the learners to connect to their own knowledge and wisdom 

As they discussed UAC’s and their experiences coaching around UAC’s, I acknowledged each point looking specifically for competencies I had noted earlier. One point that did not come out was the need to establish what the big picture and higher goals were for the client. I offered my habit of doing that and one of the students joined in to explain how she brought those goals into the picture for the client.

Create an atmosphere of equality between learners and the trainer.

I created an atmosphere of equality between me and the students by allowing them to be the authority on the point they were offering. I congratulated them for their wisdom and also projected a feeling of compassion for a few difficulties they shared with us.

Build safety by demonstrating acceptance and acknowledgment

Since the class was a little bit tentative, I drew them out by using their names, following their lead, acknowledged the competencies and the sharing they did.

Competencies of a Trainer

Karen lists the competencies of a trainer as listening, questioning, setting up experiential experiences, eliciting sharing of insights and acknowledging. What a great joy to follow these competencies. They certainly paid off during my class.

One thing that is interesting is the juxtaposition of setting structure as in “setting up experiential experiences” and preparing the lesson plan with the more receptive skills of questioning, listening, eliciting sharing of insights, and acknowledging.

It is the skill of the trainer in setting up the structure that makes all the receptive competencies work. This is one of the most valuable components of master training but is often missed because the receptive components encourage the learners’ self authority so much the learner and a casual observer may not realize this training skill in action.

My competencies as a trainer: The “catch them doing something good” formula

1. Set learners up for doing something good.

2. Catch them doing something good.

3. Linger on, expand on, and acknowledge what they have done that is good.

More thoughts on creating a safe space

The competencies we have spoken of so far create a safe space for the learners. In the class I led, two situations came up that required a little extra focus. First, when I called for a practice coaching session, the one student wanted to role play as a client she has had difficulty with. Since she was so eager to play that role, we went forward. Inevitably the coaching session stalled because it is difficult to be a client without having the situation be authentic to you.

We easily ended the role play and I diverted the topic back to what was working. Others offered tools they would use and as the session continued I called on the original student to share her insights. When we were closing, I asked her if she had some new tools to use with her client and was complete and she enthusiastically responded “yes” and thanked everyone else for their help.

In another situation, I asked for someone who hadn’t spoken to join in and answer a question. Since no one jumped in I called on one of the students by name. He said he felt like a 7th grader who had been sleeping in a class but offered another dynamite tool to use in the situation from the role play. We extended this conversation with him continuing to offer his wisdom and knowledge. I acknowledged him and thanked him for his contribution repeatedly both during the discussion and at the end of the class. I also apologized for making him feel uncomfortable and shared that I understood that feeling, too.

Creating a safe space comes not from technique as much as being truly committed to the other individuals. I often think of myself as a watering can pouring energy and light onto my students and watching them blossom like those fast forward videos of a plant emerging from a seed and growing into a flower.

In the review of my lesson, Sheri asked me what I would pat myself on the back for. For me, I told her, it wasn’t any specific thing I had done but it was the validation, once again, of my dharma (calling or divine purpose).

I have a whole history of students, both youth and adults, who tell me I have made a difference in their life. Since my break from coaching home school parents and students, it has been easy to forget how powerful living in my dharma is and what a contribution it makes.

I thank Karen, the other leaders, and the wisdom of all the co-creative students for such wonderful inspiration and knowledge. What a gift!

Writing a Lesson Plan

December 4, 2006

What part of the lesson plan is most important?

Whether in person or on the phone, my first and most important step is to connect with the students. this connection means not just a surface connection but a deeper one that creates a safe space. This safe space is characterized by a sense of trust between me and the student and between the students and each other.

I like Krissy’s habit of adding humor. Humor is a great equalizer and takes us from the surface concerns to a joint chuckling which bonds us to each other in a happy way. I plan to ask for input from the students on what they find are the most compelling points from the UAC module. This is an appropriate warm up because I am entering the class at the last section of a three part module.

To create that connection, I routinely acknowledge the offerings of the students not only by praising their contribution, but finding some benefit that is either universal or that I personally find attractive. One of my rules is to acknowledge not only for verifying points but to extend learning.

Once we have created the trust, connection and safe space, then we will dig deeper into the meaning and use of UACs in coaching. At this point, the definition of UACs will probably have come out in the opening review of most compelling points of the module. What will be valuable to discuss next is the ways coaches help us uncover UACs. Here is an opportunity to review power questions and noticing and reflecting observations as well as the Power Tool “Commitment vs. Trying”.

The next way to solidify the learning of key points in the UAC module is to have a role play coaching session where one student practices the tools we have just discussed to help another student uncover a UAC. The coach, client and other students can illuminate the successful coaching practices surrounding the client’s UAC so another experience of what works in this type of coaching can be repeated.

In the end we will wrap up by having the students offer what they learned from this session. I will also acknowledge them for specific contributions and thank them for allowing me to be their course leader for a class period.

While the most important part of the lesson plan is the creation of trust, no one part should be minimized as lesser important. The whole sequence of exchange is important for learning that matters. When the students “get it” their learning must be observable in what they say, feel and do. This is the mark of a well learned lesson.

How do I deviate from a lesson plan?

 Even if you are teaching a finite subject like math, you always deal with the infiniteness of the students so the lesson plan, by design must be organic. Because it is in its design, organic, you will find slight deviations from the lesson plan. If your target is very clear and your understanding of the uniqueness of your students, you have already incorporated lesson deviations into your plan.

Being an experienced teacher committed to organic lessons, I understand that things happen that change the flow of the lesson. But experienced teachers account for this so even the deviations are within the lesson planning. The most important things is that the over all content gets addressed. Because ICA is so thorough, there are lots of opportunities for review and to use the ideas in many different ways. This makes the unified lesson planning throughout the whole of the program, a giant organic structure that works together to create optimum learning.

Beginning a new adventure.

November 21, 2006

Thinking I would join a class to learn more about teleseminars, I sign up for Train the Trainer. I know if Karen and Bron are involved, I can’t lose. During the first class, my ears prick to hear the difference between the inner exploration that goes with coaching and the inner and outer development training facilitates. I love hearing good teaching comes from giving of yourself as a leader.

 Not only am I greatly satisfied that I have made the correct decision by the time the first class is a few minutes old, I am delighted and overjoyed. Finally, I have returned to my niche and my purpose.

 The blog assignment leads me to a search of exciting articles on blog writing then distance learning and the future of that discipline. I boldly request a meeting with a business partner using www.gotomeeting.com, a site that allows interaction and computer sharing plus lots more for multi-dimensional meetings, for my first trial experience. Now I have an organizing system to create collaboration, distance access to PowerPoint presentations, and a way to chat while teleconferencing. How exciting!

One of the links I find myself enjoying while on my search is http://www.umuc.edu/distance/odell/cvu/brownbag/barker05-04.html where I find video seminar entitled Lessons for Leaders in the 21st Century, presented by Joel A Barker, Scholar and Futurist. Not only do I learn from Dr. Barker’s comparison of change in ecosystems to change in human organizations, but I get to see how a presentation can be done through online video technology. He talks about the importance of diversity to innovation and I realize honoring diversity as a teleclass leader gives us the best shot at creating a future not just for the attendees but for the world. I resonate with Dr. Barker’s most quoted phrases:

“You can and should shape your own future; because if you don’t someone else surely will.”

And for leaders,

“No one will thank you for taking care of the present if you have neglected the future.”

There is something to be said for leaping onto a train that brings you joy. It is perhaps the most important ingredient in the decision making process. When you know your life’s purpose and stray from it, only a taste of that joy will bring it all back to you.

My companions on this journey write from their diverse Selves about safety in teleseminars, being present as a leader, and providing opportunity for participation in classes. They are each in their own right, inspiration. They remind me to take a few breaths, to acknowledge and to ask compelling questions in a safe environment.

The ingredient of Love is there. The ingredients of joy and purpose are there creating the platform I move from. My immersion in purpose greases the wheels. Now breathing, acknowledging and questioning flows. I am a teleseminar leader.