Coaching leaders of communities of practice


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Communities & Technology workshop reporting on a study of 9 coach/coachee pairs aiming to develop leaders of communities of practice

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  • Coaching leaders of communities of practice

    1. 1. Coaching community leaders on community cultivation and technology integration Workshop John Smith, Lauren Klein and Theodora Fitzsimmons Communities and Technology, 3 rd International Conference Michigan State University East Lansing, Michigan June 28, 2007
    2. 2. Today’s Workshop Agenda <ul><li>Introductions </li></ul><ul><li>Review our study </li></ul><ul><ul><li>context </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>process </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>findings </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Conduct Coach-Coachee demonstration </li></ul><ul><li>Workshop exercise </li></ul><ul><li>Discussion </li></ul>
    3. 3. Our Study <ul><li>Grew out of individual practice </li></ul><ul><li>John Smith, Lauren Klein re-connected Fall ‘06 </li></ul><ul><li>Theodora Fitzsimmons got involved Spring ’07 </li></ul><ul><li>Fundamental assumptions at CPsquare </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Communities of practice matter </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Leadership matters </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Practice – doing something – matters </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Our question: How do community leaders become competent? </li></ul>
    4. 4. The Purpose of the Study <ul><li>Explore learning practices around leader development </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Learning in practice, in service of practice </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>CoP context (both theory and application) </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Through conversations with other coaches and their coachees (or mentors or members) </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Look for common elements </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Fishing trip (what doesn't exist?) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Look for trends </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Look for evidence of success and barriers to success </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Understand the role of technology in the coaching/mentoring relationship </li></ul></ul>Articulating what we already knew: our assumptions
    5. 5. Assumptions: About Community Leadership <ul><li>Community leadership embedded in a social setting </li></ul><ul><li>Typically: volunteers leading volunteers </li></ul><ul><li>Leadership involves engagement with members </li></ul><ul><li>Relationships often mediated through technology </li></ul><ul><li>Personal characteristics of leaders </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Passion as a community bond that leaders must have </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Professional maturity </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Kinds of influence available to leaders </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Minimal positional authority </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Self as instrument: setting an example </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Admin rights on a software platform </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Focus beyond the self </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Extended network </li></ul></ul>
    6. 6. Assumptions: False Friends of Community Leadership <ul><li>Developing a CoP is like “any other project” </li></ul><ul><li>Community life == Postings or volume </li></ul><ul><li>Over-reliance on theory or cookbooks </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Community stages </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Cookie cutter / checklist compliance </li></ul></ul><ul><li>It's “all about technology” </li></ul><ul><li>“Learning is commonplace”, so will take care of itself </li></ul><ul><li>Learning is what happens in a classroom </li></ul><ul><li>I’m the SME and don’t need any consultant to help me </li></ul>
    7. 7. Assumptions: CoP Theory & Leadership Challenges <ul><li>Legitimate peripheral participation frames coaching & false friends </li></ul><ul><li>Community, Practice, Domain model frames </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Domain </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Supported CoPs are common where topics are complex, subtle, or new </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Competence in the domain determines status in the community </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Community </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Global membership of communities creates challenges for leaders </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Diverse languages, cultures, and organizational affiliations add complexity </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Creating useful connections within a community can be hard work </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Cultivating the next generation of leaders needs to be part of ongoing work of the community </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Practice (repertoire) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Making a collective practice visible at a distance can be a challenge </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Technology plays an enabling and a complicating role </li></ul></ul></ul>
    8. 8. Assumptions: Improvisational nature of practice <ul><li>Improvisation is key </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Growth of leaders and communities </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>happens step-by-step </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>focus on zone of proximal development </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Transformation is &quot;the norm&quot; </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>goals </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>means </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>identity </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Planning is important but the unexpected may be more so </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>In general: focus on the time dimension </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Emergence </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Behavior and perception are situated </li></ul></ul>
    9. 9. Assumptions: About Coaching as a Practice <ul><li>A model relationship </li></ul><ul><ul><li>One-to-one helping relationship </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Trusted advisor & sounding board </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Developmental (performance-based) </li></ul></ul><ul><li>A model business </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Business model / practice is well-established </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Code of ethics is established </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Coaching certification (General purpose) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Applied to sports, management & personal development </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Adapting to CoP leadership setting </li></ul><ul><ul><li>What are we borrowing from the existing role & trappings </li></ul></ul>
    10. 10. The Study Design: The Interviews <ul><li>Systematic practitioner-to-practitioner conversations </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Used our network to find pairs of supportive relationships </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Interviewed nine pairs (in separate interviews) in diverse settings </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>John and Lauren interviewed each other as practitioners and each other’s clients as coachees </li></ul></ul><ul><li>The Interviews: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Emailed questions in advance of interview to guide conference calls </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Calls were recorded for later data analysis </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Participants were assured confidentiality </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Conversations were structured by questions but also allowed for wandering </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Notes were shared shortly after interviews </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Analysis of Interviews </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Analyze recordings and notes for themes </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Using Mind Map to organize themes </li></ul></ul>
    11. 11. Sharing the Findings <ul><li>Held a &quot;findings&quot; phone call with participants </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Gather reactions to what we found </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Participants who missed the call were invited to listen to recording </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Comments continued through email and the blog </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Project blog describes the project and holds continuing conversations </li></ul><ul><li>CPsquare session at some point </li></ul><ul><li>Planning to publish something next Fall / Winter </li></ul><ul><li>This C&T Workshop as extending the inquiry </li></ul>
    12. 12. Findings: The relationships between our respondents <ul><li>Relationship duration, intensitiy, & basis varied a great deal </li></ul><ul><li>Conversations were private, behind the scenes </li></ul><ul><li>Meetings ranged from structured to ad hoc and varied in frequency and regularity </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Occasional collaboration on deliverables </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>“ Going meta&quot; - standing back together and reflecting </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Coaching and mentoring were mixed moment to moment </li></ul><ul><li>Common technologies to support interaction </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Face-to-face meetings </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Phone calls </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Email </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>IM </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Web Boards </li></ul></ul><ul><li>“ Every technology generates new possibilities.&quot; </li></ul>
    13. 13. Evolution of the Relationship Supporter Community Leader CoP Supporter Community Leader CoP Beginning of the relationship Later in the relationship
    14. 14. Findings: Seeing the actual & inventing the possible <ul><li>Grounding in practice (Disciplined Realism) </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Jointly interpreting the evidence </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Dealing with changing technology, membership & politics </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Addressing individual interests </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>A sense of history </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Passion for what could be (Cultivated Imagination) </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Conversations about things that don’t exist </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Intent behind the charter or goals </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Future orientation </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Make order out of chaos </li></ul></ul>
    15. 15. Findings: leaders focus alternately self and group <ul><li>Passion for domain as a working basis </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Purposeful community leadership </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Alternate, reinforcing focus on self and on group </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Inquiry into the self </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Emotional Intelligence and a hunger for continuous learning, especially around fostering a CoP </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Self starter and leader; instrumental in making things happen, such as via gathering people together </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Risk Taker </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Inquiry into the group </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Technologically minded in order to learn and leverage the technologies involved </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Detail oriented for event planning and project management </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Salesperson, Recruiter, Maven and Connector </li></ul></ul>
    16. 16. Findings: Coaching and Mentoring Roles <ul><li>Characteristics : </li></ul><ul><li>Formality: a structured cycle of goal-setting, observation, and performance assessment </li></ul><ul><li>Front-loaded set-up: depends on negotiating rules and terms at the beginning </li></ul><ul><li>Rigorous: focuses on a developmental process </li></ul><ul><li>Formal, Standing outside the social system </li></ul><ul><li>Coachee’s as clients </li></ul>Coaching A person who supports people to achieve their goals, with goal setting, encouragement and questions. <ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Mentoring </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>A person who shares expertise with less experienced individuals in order to help them advance their careers, education, or networks. </li></ul><ul><li>Characteristics : </li></ul><ul><li>Informality: informal shop talk between more- and less-experienced persons </li></ul><ul><li>Reflection on relevant experience </li></ul><ul><li>Share local lore, connections, and street credibility with mentee </li></ul><ul><li>Both in a social & political fabric </li></ul><ul><li>Mentors may be community members </li></ul><ul><li>Mentors may be actors in the social system, opening doors, locating resources, etc. </li></ul>Mixing or alternating roles less important than the work
    17. 17. Findings: Coaching and Mentoring Spectrum <ul><li>Coaching highlights </li></ul><ul><li>Coaching role is familiar and programs to organize and support it exist in many organizations </li></ul><ul><li>Coaches role is professionalized through training & certification processes </li></ul><ul><li>Process seeks to be neutral, focused on coachee's unique goals </li></ul><ul><li>Up-front negotiations create a useful learning platform </li></ul><ul><li>Limitations </li></ul><ul><li>May lack local connections & clues </li></ul><ul><li>Too formulaic? </li></ul><ul><li>Assumptions </li></ul><ul><li>It's &quot;the method&quot;: a good coach can help individuals with diverse goals </li></ul><ul><li>Mentoring highlights </li></ul><ul><li>Informal & flexible </li></ul><ul><li>Local </li></ul><ul><li>Familiar: Companies institutionalize it </li></ul><ul><li>Relationship is negotiated in an ongoing fashion </li></ul><ul><li>Limitations </li></ul><ul><li>Too idiosyncratic? </li></ul><ul><li>Lacking permission for giving personal feedback </li></ul><ul><li>Assumptions </li></ul><ul><li>A good mentee can translate from mentor's experience to something useful </li></ul>Interchangeable terms can provide a useful distinction Coaching Mentoring
    18. 18. Group Self Cultivated Imagination Disciplined Realism Coaching Mentoring CoP Evaluation Attending meetings together New potential of role Tool use & techniques Leadership skills inventory a friendly ear Developing a leadership style Charter development Finding sponsorship Joint projects Motivating Envisioning future possibilities Interpeting political winds Swapping war stories Lending confidence “ to-do” lists Integrating all 3 dimensions: Inspiring
    19. 19. Findings: activities and outcomes <ul><li>Power of one-to-one conversations </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Part of social learning </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Back-channel </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Vygotsky: guided participation </li></ul></ul><ul><li>EW's distinction between “learning with & from”: </li></ul><ul><li>Learning with </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Sounding board aspect is important </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Learning partner </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Learning from </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Access to other people's experience </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Grist for transformation </li></ul></ul>
    20. 20. Reported Benefits of Supportive Relationships <ul><li>Supporters help leaders look at what they have through experienced eyes and help them see opportunities for promoting community interaction. </li></ul><ul><li>Using a conversational process helps to simplify, prioritize, and focus on what is important. </li></ul><ul><li>Practice and immediate feedback from a co-committed supporter is a building block for increased performance. </li></ul><ul><li>A co-committed supporter: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Facilitates the new leader's ability to see both part and the whole. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Presents more opportunities that the new leader may not have thought of on his or her own. Leaders realize that they have more resources to draw upon for things they can do. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>May inspire the new leader to reach new heights. As new community leaders become more secure and confident in their role, they tend to be more innovative and try new things. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>New leaders are able gain more confidence in stages with less pressure. </li></ul></ul>
    21. 21. A coaching session model <ul><li>An evolving agenda </li></ul><ul><li>Set a regular time (may be interleaved with other contact) </li></ul><ul><li>Confirm readiness </li></ul><ul><li>Whole person “check-in” </li></ul><ul><li>Develop communication conventions such as real-time note-taking </li></ul><ul><li>Verification of notes, commitments, learning </li></ul><ul><li>Connecting conversation and practice </li></ul>
    22. 22. Workshop Activity <ul><li>Purpose: to give participants an opportunity to experience a community coaching exchange from the perspective of a coach, coachee, and critical friend. </li></ul><ul><li>Directions: Form into groups of three. Conduct the activity three times so that each person has an opportunity to experience the three roles. </li></ul><ul><li>The coachee brings an issue related to a community of practice they lead (or to a social situation that has learning implications) </li></ul><ul><li>The coach responds with clarifying questions, resources, challenges or advice. </li></ul><ul><li>The observer listens to the conversation between coach and coachee and does not intervene in the conversation in any way. </li></ul><ul><li>After each person has had a turn at each role, begin a quick debrief, which we'll share afterwards: </li></ul><ul><li>Describe the conversation, including differences in perception between coach, coachee, observer. </li></ul><ul><li>Which comments are most helpful to the coachee, ones which are &quot;Coach's&quot; or &quot;Mentor's&quot; comments? </li></ul>
    23. 23. Let’s continue the conversation… <ul><li>On our project blog: </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul><ul><li>… and, please join us for a beer between 5:30 p.m. and 7:00 p.m. at Beggars Banquet: </li></ul><ul><li>Near Cowles House, Michigan State University Campus </li></ul><ul><li>John Smith, Lauren Klein and Theodora Fitzsimmons </li></ul><ul><li>will be on hand to welcome </li></ul><ul><li>CPsquare members, C&T attendees, and friends. </li></ul><ul><li>Please stop by for a chat! </li></ul>
    24. 24. Contact Information <ul><li>John D. Smith – +1 (503) 963 8229 </li></ul><ul><li>Lauren Klein – +1 (775) 336-8204 [email_address] </li></ul><ul><li>Theodora Fitzsimmons – +1 (301) 460-2896 [email_address] </li></ul>