F coaching platform


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Throughout the process of f-learning, the coachee-executives can ask their strategic partners (CEO, CKO, CHO, CIO) to share new knowledge with regards to the new concepts and to compare them to the available experience.

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F coaching platform

  1. 1. Post-Experiential Business Education by f-Coaching Zoltán Baracskai, Doctus Co., Budapest, Hungary Viktor Dörfler, University of Strathclyde Business School, Glasgow, UK Jolán Velencei, Óbuda University Keleti Károly Faculty of Business and Management, Budapest, Hungary ABSTRACT To use an example from sport, the coach is the guy running up and down the basketball field trying everything to make his team win without ever hitting the ball himself. Alchemists are people who create something from nothing. They create the nova. The gurus validate the nova, and by doing so, they create concepts. They are the gatekeepers who let the new ideas into the field. The coaches make sense of the gurus’ concepts; they put the concepts into the context of the corporation thus creating new conceptions. Like the witches to Macbeth, the coaches whisper their conceptions into the ear of the executive. Executives occasionally do as their coaches tell them, more often they do not otherwise. But the decision of the executive will most certainly be different than without the whisper of their coaches in their ears. The coach helps the executive creating a picture about the conflict situation. Keywords: post-experiential education, f-coaching platform, f-learning, learning route, 1. PROBLEM How long does the coach stay with the same team? For a few years at the maximum. The coach teaches the players all (s)he is supposed to or can and then moves on. The team hires another coach and the coach is hired by another team. With Charles Handy [1] we believe that the coaches have nothing but their reputation; so if the coaching has been successful, the reputation increases, if unsuccessful, it decreases. That is how it is and how it should be. Beware of consultants who offer non-interfering-coaching, who promise not to give advices – they surely will not give you any advices, at least, no useful ones. They are coaches with empty bags. A coach may occasionally return to the same executive, but then (s)he will have something new to offer. 2. KNOWLEDGE INCREASE Knowledge increase may happen by absorbing new knowledge, by practicing skills, by experiencing events, by inner experiencing, or by rearranging existing knowledge. Knowledge increase by absorbing new knowledge we call learning; this kind of knowledge increase is investigated in this paper. The source of the new knowledge we
  2. 2. call the available knowledge the personal knowledge before the increase is the existing knowledge and after the increase it is called the increased knowledge. If knowledge was simply additive, the new knowledge would simply be attached to the existing knowledge. However, incorporation of new knowledge is a constructive process Neisser, U. [2] which means that the existing and the new knowledge together construct something new – the increased knowledge. In this paper we take the idea of f-learning a step further, from “e” to “f”, indicating that the post-e-learning is on the doorstep. Here “f” stands for freedom, focusing on the freedom of the f-learner. The f-coach is the coach in the f-era; as we will show, the demand for the freedom of the f-learner imposes certain boundaries to the freedom of the f-coach – this is what we propose to handle by adopting the f-coaching platform. For this quest we have developed a systems-description of the increase of personal knowledge, we analyze the interaction of the individual and organizational value systems, and we examine the possibilities of standardization of the user interfaces to finally be able to offer scenarios for f-learning. More precisely, we do not offer instant scenarios applicable in any situation but a conception of how scenarios can be developed, what they should contain and what should be taken into consideration during the development. The outcome of this research also indicates some new problems regarding the roles identified in f-learning. We adopt Polányi’s [3] conception that all knowledge is personal; i.e. that knowledge cannot be properly divorced from the whole personality of the individual. This means that in our approach the organizational knowledge does not exist in the sense of the personal knowledge. Of course, we do not neglect the importance of knowledge for the organizations; but for the organization it is the knowledge of its employees. Using the system features that described the system of knowledge the new knowledge can be put into three categories: • New knowledge of concept covers the first three levels of the system features; as a concept corresponds to a schema which may be a meta-schema. This type of new knowledge is a description usually put forward as a keyword; it corresponds to “that” type [4] or declarative [5] knowledge. • New knowledge about functioning is of level 4 of the system features; it usually appears as an explanation or a model. This type of new knowledge is “how” type [4] or procedural [5] knowledge. • New knowledge about validity indicates the domain in which the new knowledge may be used. This type of knowledge is related to the “why” type knowledge as introduced by Gurteen, D. [6] to extend Ryle’s original model. The types of new knowledge are here listed according to increasing complexity; new knowledge of functioning only makes sense in relation to concepts and new knowledge of validity needs both previous levels. Therefore it is more accurate to speak of type 1 new knowledge (concepts) of type 1+2 new knowledge (concepts + functioning) and type 1+2+3 new knowledge (concepts + functioning + validity).
  3. 3. If we say, based on von Bertalanffy [7], that the organizational value system may judge a particular piece of new knowledge as “useful”, “indifferent”, or “harmful”, than the organizational meta-judgment will indicate if the organization “supports”, “tolerates”, or “forbids” it. The personal value system may judge the same piece of new knowledge as “promising”, “neutral”, or “ominous”; using the meta-level the person decides what (s)he will do in each case. The personal meta-judgment, beside the judgment of the new knowledge, also considers the organizational judgment and meta-judgment. E.g. if a particular piece of new knowledge is judged by the organization as “harmful” and the organizational meta-judgment indicates that the organization “forbids” it, and the personal judgment is “promising” the person may decide to try to show the usefulness of the new knowledge to the organization, (s)he may withdraw or may just learn it in secret. At the end of the day it is always the individual who decides whether to accept a particular piece of new knowledge or not. There is also an interaction between the organizational and personal value systems, meaning that the individual and the organization may influence each other to reconsider the judgment about the new knowledge. The source of new knowledge is the available knowledge; to reach the personal knowledge the new knowledge is first judged by the organization, then it reaches the personal value system accompanied by the organizational judgment and meta-judgment, it is judged by the personal value system (personal judgment and meta-judgment), the two value system interact influencing each other to reconsider the judgments. The aim of knowledge increase is often presented as filling the knowledge gap between the existing and the required knowledge – so the person wants to acquire the missing knowledge. In the next section we will look into what knowledge should fill the knowledge gap. 3. WHAT ARE THE GREATEST MANAGEMENT THINKERS BUSY WITH We currently distinguish four classes of great management thinkers: The Classics, such as Bertrand Russell, Umberto Eco and Michael Polanyi. They perhaps more obviously belong to the domain of philosophy than to management. However, Michael Polanyi is the single most quoted author in knowledge management. The New-Top-Thinkers: Malcolm Gladwell, Nassim Taleb, Roger Martin and Chris Anderson are newcomers to lists such as the Top Thinkers 50 and often rejected by reviewers of academic journals. The Stabile-Top-Thinkers, such as Henry Mintzberg, Charles Handy, C. K. Prahalad, Gary Hamel and John Kotter are often quoted management gurus – the biggest problem here is that they are significantly more quoted than read and more read than understood. It is important to always read the original works of these gurus. Finally, the TED-Stars such as Dan Pink and Dan Ariely, seem to have something very important to say, but they are not on the guru-lists yet. Example: We have started with Prahalad’s Social Responsibility, Gladwell’s Outliers, Pink’s Motivation 3.0, etc. starting from the top of the
  4. 4. Top Thinkers 50 and TED and continuing iteratively coming back and re- searching. For instance, you may find that there is already a course on Outliers offered by the Extraordinary Ltd Educational Consortium or a 3-day online training on the social responsibility of managers delivered by the YourChildrensWorld.org Internet Company (made up names). It does not matter whether the quality of these courses is great or poor – and it matters even less whether you could do it better or not. If you are aiming for a unique program, you need to bring something that cannot be found on the market yet. There is also a quitting point (like the conditions for avoiding endless cycles in algorithms): the intellectual honesty dictates that you should quit if you cannot find a sensible set of non-offered conceptions, as it becomes impossible to start a school the next academic year. Examples: We continued down the list until we arrived at #16 Howard Gardner, #31 David Ulrich, #32 Roger Martin, #35 Chris Anderson and #40 Nassim Taleb. The first important thing here is to distinguish the key concepts and the keywords. The key concepts are content items around which you organize your curriculum (or any content for that matter) while the keywords are terms that are used for searching. However, nobody will find you using such terms, as it was said, nobody knows of – you certainly want to find established terms for keywords people actually use when searching. Once you have your key concepts, organize them into taxonomy. Naturally, there is no single right way of choosing and/or creating the key concepts, so there also cannot be a single right taxonomy. But the taxonomy should make sense – therefore it is very helpful if you can draw a concept map and the picture, both of which should be beautiful. The coach may occasionally come back to the same executive, but then (s)he will have something else to offer. According to Handy [8] the alchemists are people who create something from nothing. In the field of leadership, they are people like Bill Gates, Jack Welch, Steve Jobs, etc. They create the nova. The gurus validate the nova and by doing so they create concepts. They are the gatekeepers who let the new ideas into the field. The coaches make sense of the gurus’ concepts; they put the concepts into the context of the corporation thus creating conceptions. The coaches whisper their conceptions into the ear of the executive. The executive occasionally does what the coach says, most of the time (s)he does not. But the decision of the executive will certainly be different than if the coach did not whisper in her/his ear. The coach helps the executive creating the picture about the conflict situation. Minsky [9] showed that, in communicating with aliens, we would be left with mathematics, i.e. nothing else is sufficiently independent of language and culture. To create f-coaching platform, we need neat user interfaces, furthermore, they should be beautiful and intuitively obvious to use – at first sight, there is no place for mathematics, but there are some standards we need. Diagrams should be replaced by animations, pictures should be replaced by movies, and numerous tools will facilitate the collaboration, such as multi-person chats, VoIP or video conferences, for real-time
  5. 5. discussions and blogs. F-coaching environment also reflects the freedom, thus we can speak of various self-tests. Furthermore, a common element of any online solution has to offer useful links. 4. DISCUSSION We used the content-map conception as a starting point when having developed our f- coaching platform. There are four levels in the f-coaching platform on which concepts appear: 1. At the top level we find the topics; 2. Each topic consists of a set of interrelated keywords; 3. The keywords are described by attributes; and 4. The places where the attributes can be found, we call occurrences. We accept the argument put forward by Clark R. C. and Mayer [10] that: “Our cognitive systems have limited capacity. Since there are too many sources of information competing for this limited capacity, the learner must select those that best match his or her goals. We know this selection process can be guided by instructional methods that direct the learner’s attention.” Based on Miller [11], we believe that this capacity of short-term memory can be associated with 7±2 terms for one node of the concept map. In our f-coaching platform, the topics and keywords are not in a sequential order but organized into more or less complex networks. This enables the coachees to choose their individual, most suitable learning route. This way, learners can apply any kind of order in accessing the keywords. The different learning routes reflect the diversity of cognition which is represented by the ‘tangle’ (complexity of the web of relationships) of the f- coaching platform. The f-coach is available 24/7 and he works just as long as it is necessary. The coachees (executives) always begin with top-level concept map in f-learning which enables them getting familiar with the available concepts. After that, the new concepts are introduced through strategic business decisions. Throughout the process of f-learning, the coachee- executives can ask their strategic partners (CEO, CKO, CHO, CIO) to share new knowledge with regards to the new concepts and to compare them to the available experience. REFERENCES [1] Handy, C., The Elephant and the Flea: Reflections of a Reluctant Capitalist. Boston, MA: Harvard Business School Press, 2002. [2] Neisser, U., Cognitive Psychology. New York, NY: Meredith Publishing, 1967. [3] Polanyi, M., Personal Knowledge: Towards a Post-Critical Philosophy. London: Routledge, 1962.
  6. 6. [4] Ryle, G.,The Concept of Mind.London: Penguin Books, 1949. [5] Anderson, J.R., The architecture of cognition. Boston, MA: Harvard University Press, 1963. [6] Gurteen, D., Knowledge, Creativity and Innovation. Journal of Knowledge Management, 2(1): 5-13, 1988. [7] von Bertalanffy, L., A Systems View of Man., Boulder, CO: Westview Press, 1981. [8] Handy, C., The New Alchemists: How Visionary People Make Something out of Nothing. London: Hutchinson, 1999. [9] Minsky, M.L., Communication with Alien Intelligence. In Extraterrestrials: Science and Alien Intelligence, E. Regis, Editor. Cambridge University Press: Cambridge, MA, 1985. [10] Clark, R. C. and Mayer, R. E., E-Learning and the Science of Instruction, San Francisco, CA: Pfeiffer, 2003. [11] Miller, G.A., The Magical Number Seven, Plus or Minus Two: Some Limits on Our Capacity for Processing Information The Psychological Review, vol. 63, Pages 81-97, 1956.