Monday, October 3, 2011

Workshop Notes September 30

Facilitation and "Coaching" Workshop Notes, September 30

After introductions of several new participants, we checked in to class and then Roger told us a story. Sometimes he is asked by companies to come in as a consultant and “motivate our apathetic employees.” Roger says that employees are highly motivated, just not, evidently, for what the management wants.  Management doesn’t always understand this, so Roger turns these jobs down. Just like the rest of us, the actions of the employees are naturally correlated to their perceived future. We could be seeing a pattern of the past that gets extended to the future, or the future might be based on personal experience. For example, grades are perceived to correlate to jobs, and a B grade might have associated with it an imagined future salary that is $10,000 per year lower than an A.
The concept of motivation brings up whether actions are universally positive. Your actions are positive in your world view, aren’t they?  Carl Rogers’ assumption is that behavior is logical in the context of one’s own life. If another person’s actions don’t seem positive to you, you don’t have their world view.

So our class needs to process this. I heard Roger say that unconditional positive regard is an assumption, but I also heard him say it's impossible to be true. Now what do we do?

If you are Jean Francois, then you can have unconditional love, with notable exceptions for serial killers and Hitler.
If you’re Carol, you aren’t quick to judge and you make a lousy juror.
If you’re Pete, then you don’t hold it against a mountain lion that it would eat you if it could.
If you’re Nina, then you could love the person, but not the behavior.
If you’re Trevor, you’re amused by how all these comments are just zipping by each other.

Roger hopes our class can help us reveal our pre-existing models and in that way be conscious about what we do and thus have a choice about it. Roger says we’ll be investigating the quality of our attention. But wait, says Kurt, what do you mean by quality? Quality could be right, wrong, same, or other. Examples of qualities include fixed, open, sharp, mushy, etc.  Roger admits his attention can have qualities of intolerance, judging, and doubting. He’s trying to convince us he’s human. Ha.

Jean Francois’ position indicates there is a right and wrong, so unconditional positive regard is for 95 % of people. Roger helps by defining “practice” to be the other 5%, and we should all just try to have moments of unconditional positive regard since it can’t be maintained at all times.  

Neil brings up the concept of triangulation in teaching, that students are motivated to follow you. We coach the students, they in turn coach us to be more effective. Neil will have to fill us in on how the details work.

Roger says that curiosity is a key feature of facilitation. You can imagine that you don't care about your student, but you really do. Lynn suggests that maybe professoring is not necessary (don’t spread it around) since learning is natural and it can happen without us professor types. Well Roger fills us all in on how students are always actively engaged, we just don't know what in. Hmmm.

Dan says that a critical element of facilitation is the level of engagement of your audience. But how do you know if someone is engaged? Drew told of a study that tried to measure it, but Drew wasn't convinced it was true. The study indicated that the students are most engaged in your lecture after the first five minutes and it lasts for about 10 min. Roger’s technique for assessing the level of engagement is pretty transparent, he asks students directly “why the hell are you here?” Well that oughta do it. For the rest of us, we can teach by following the Creative Model of Facilitation that says that the learning wouldn't accidentally happen on its own. It is distinct from the Mechanistic Model which says “I teach, you learn or not.”  I’ve had those days, haven’t you?

Ask a student why they are in class, and eventually the subject of survival will appear. Our dominant paradigm right now is money, and that brings up an example that describes the concept of range. Range is how far you can participate in the creative process. Eventually you can’t take it anymore, when asked “and what does that make possible?” one too many times. Range can look like boredom, humor, anger, exhaustion, etc. You should try to recognize your own range and observe someone else's. You can easily get someone else to range. I tried, it was easy. Recognizing my own range is tougher. But, that’s your homework now, so go try.

What is missing from an environment that has successful coaching? Permission. Structurally, what do you want to be present to be safe? We are going to talk about this next week with our fellow participants. Notice this process over the next week:
You have an Event. Immediately you have a moment of choice, you can bypass it, let it go, or you can engage it. 
If you engage it, you have a choice to do so internally or externally. Somehow blogs don't let you draw the picture for that. Oh well.



  1. Was there a homework at the end of the session?

  2. Thanks Diane for this summary. You did a good job of capturing what was said and the spirit of our confusion!