My name is Paula Meadows and I was blessed to attend the Coaching for Greater Effectiveness! I have worked with Notre Dame for about 5 years, but have been in management for over 25 years in other businesses. I felt I had a pretty good grasp on how I handled crew and co-workers. During my time in the class, I was finding out how much more I could grow as not just a manager, but a better leader.
The biggest thunderbolt for me was how much I was not listening. Even though I was doing my job as a manager, I realized I was making quick fixes by commanding and worrying about how it may affect the crew, later. After going through the class, I started to relate differently. I took the time to listen. This is a challenge in its own because my line of work is very fast paced. I noticed the crew was enjoying the fact that I was being mindful of their concerns and ideas. Some come up with some great ideas.
I wish I could say that it has been smooth sailing. When you are trying to change the direction of a ship, it takes time and patience. Again, because of the class, I learned to ask myself open-ended questions about my challenges. I kept finding that my approach was the key. Soon, my coaching techniques were becoming more and more beneficial. The crew is more responsive in a positive way. Including with each other. One of my toughest situations was trying to bring together the day and night shift. During the summer they work together and sometimes there can be a bit of a civil war. Using the tools that were given to us from the class, I put them to work. It is working! As I was typing this up, I heard a crew member wish everyone a good evening. This person normally just walks out without a word. Victory!!
For those of you about to take the class, I will say don’t expect overnight results. It starts with changing your methods. This is by no means a fairy wand that will magically make your work life perfect. What it will do is make you a more successful leader. Start to set off a more positive vibe. When you take advantage of this class, you will learn to communicate better, stop micromanaging, lead with a nurturing manner, yet with a vision and most importantly, you will grow.
Remember, leadership is not magical, it’s sets of skills that you must learn and practice.
How can I be better at my job? This is a question I have asked myself many times. One area I have always wanted to be better at was coaching and helping people to better themselves.
I have had several great coaches over the years. I have always wanted to be like them. Help people. Inspire them to do better. Give them hope for the future. Help them solve their own problems. Not solve problems for them but help them. I found a great tool.
I was enrolled in the class Coaching for Greater Effectiveness. I never dreamed that one class could give me one of the keys I was missing to be a better mentor or coach. I thought “oh good, another class to waste my time on.”
I was having a problem with a co-worker at work. I used this problem in the class as an example. I practiced my SBII in class and at home. When I returned to work I sat down with my co-worker and used the SBII. We talked for over and hour. We cleared the air and now have a line of communication. Our relationship has changed for the better and I believe it will continue to grow.
On the occasions I have to give corrective action to an employee, I now use the SBII. I have restructured my thinking and what I want to accomplish with the corrective action. It is now more positive and has opened communication between myself and the employee.
This is a great class for any person who wants to improve. It gives you the confidence to have difficult conversations. It gave me one of the keys I was missing to be a better coach and mentor.
In an effort to continue the coaching momentum in our division and inspired by the Sharpening Your Coaching Skills event held on Sept 12, Notre Dame Research (NDR) held two coaching lunches for our managers this winter. During these lunches, we had an invited speaker and a couple of activities that gave managers the opportunity to further practice their coaching skills in addition to a very special give away at the end of the workshop (like the ND Courage rock).
We kicked off the lunch with an invited speaker – Kristen Morin from OIT. She shared her coaching journey and talked about the initial struggles and successes she’s had. Our NDR managers greatly appreciated hearing about another manager’s point of view and experience with turning what she had learned into action.
After her talk, I introduced a special theme for the day – a snowball. In addition to being a perfect theme due to the weather, snowballs, like coaching skills, need to be built in order be effective. Good snowballs are not made with one handful of snow. Instead, snowballs take many handfuls of snow that need to be shaped and packed. Good coaches are not made with one training sessions. It takes multiple attempts, successes, failures and learning from others to build a good coaching skill set.
In the first practice activity, I asked each table to reflect and share best practices that they have used to continue their coaching momentum. At the conclusion of the table discussion, I asked the larger group what to share an idea they heard that they will start doing.
In the final activity, I posed coaching scenarios to managers (based on their own struggles) and asked them to “coach me through it” by blurting out powerful questions that they would ask if they were approached with the problem. I provided “stuck cards” on each table for inspiration should they have trouble thinking of a question. You wouldn’t believe how quickly open ended questions asked by the audience turned into “advice giving,” but I think this was also powerful for others to see that it is a habit many of us have when people approach us with a problem.
I closed out the lunch by giving all participants a snowball that they could take with them. I hope they use them at their desk as stress reliever or maybe as a reminder for them to push forward, coach and build their coaching snowball. If you are looking to have a similar activity in your area or division and have any questions about what we did at NDR , please feel free to reach out!
Operational Effectiveness, Assistant Program Director
I loved this article from Better Up, Learning to Doing to Being, especially since it mirrors very closely the ADKAR® method (from Prosci) that we use in change management here at Notre Dame OIT.
In ADKAR®, Awareness of why a change is being made and the Desire to make the change must precede Knowledge (or training) in order for the training to be as effective as possible.
In the article, “individual mindset determines individual outcomes” is very similar to the Desire aspect of ADKAR®. Think back to a class you had in college when you didn’t really want to be there; you probably didn’t learn much or at least not as much as you could have since you weren’t an engaged learner.
The second A of ADKAR® is Ability while R stands for Reinforcement. In the article, the Doing phase (phase 2) correlates to Ability and Reinforcement. From the article, “…change is effortful and requires a combination of motivation, confidence, and ability” as well as making several references to reinforcement as part of the coaching process.
In the article, Phase 3 (Being) is characterized by “…an awareness of the change achieved”. Similarly, in change management, Reinforcement includes celebrating successes to recognize the achievement that individuals or teams have accomplished. Also in Phase 3 of the article, it mentions “…positive emotional contagion with those with whom they work”. In change management, the concept of change champions is very popular. Change champions are those who believe in the change, have possibly gone through the change already themselves, and help bring others on board along the way.
If you’re interested in learning more about managing change at the individual or team level, please feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
As you know, at the end of the Coaching Workshop, every participant leaves with a blue rock with the word “Courage” on it. This rock is meant to remind us of the new skills that were introduced and to empower us to ask powerful questions, WAIT/WAIST, don’t problem solve and to keep the “monkey” off of our backs by enabling others to solve their own problems. But little did I anticipate that the rock would be a useful tool in and of itself.
Shortly after my boss attended the workshop we were in the midst of talking through a difficult situation that had arisen in the College. There was no easy answer and we were both in the thick of the matter and looking at it from our own very personal lenses. We were sitting at a round table in the middle of his office and, there in the center of it, was where he left his “Courage Rock” from his session.
Its mere presence was a reminder to me to approach the problem together in a more inquiry-based fashion. I physically grasped the rock, smiled and began to ask him powerful questions about the issue at hand. He then reciprocated the method and our conversation opened up a higher level of dialogue. That physical gesture of putting my hand on the rock let my boss know that I was going to practice my coaching skills and also gave me permission to challenge our thinking and problem-solving in a collegial way that was understood by both of us.
We have had many conversations since that day in which one of us will say something like, “Let me put my coaching hat on and ask you a question.” Or, one of us might physically move over to and grab the rock in order to change our conversations. It’s a work in progress and we both have asked our fair share of Yes/No questions and have also moved to problems solving quicker than we should. However, that rock has been a powerful reminder and tool to encourage us to continue to exercise “the muscle” and reframe our approach to problem-solving.
Coach McGraw on the importance of coaching, honesty and accountability
The Courage to Coach
Meaningful relationships and high performing teams have something in common: both are built on trust and candor.
At the University of Notre Dame, we will continue to learn how having courageous conversations is not only effective but also compassionate. Being candid is a tool we can use to both challenge and support. An environment where all coach and all are coached is one where Notre Dame can be at its best.