Sustaining the Thinking Collaborative Journey

Video as a Catalyst for Improved Practice

Karen Smith and David Baker, authors

One of the many purposes of Cognitive Coaching is to improve practice; teachers aspire to engaging in refined instructional practices that propel student learning. Cognitive Coaching supports this by providing a platform for deepened levels of cognition and reflection that would otherwise be absent in an “evaluation-only” environment.

Engaging in such deeper levels of cognition and reflection creates a pathway towards holonomy – one’s ability to act autonomously while working interdependently. As Garmston and Costa remind us, the ability to navigate this paradoxical task rests in three self-actualizing endeavors: capacitating the parts by elevating autonomy and self-actualization, strengthening the whole by reconnecting with one’s sense of interdependence, and creating consciousness and skill around how the parts and the whole support one another. When balance exists between all three of these endeavors, we have reached a holonomous state. This balance, however, does not come easily. Rather, it is reliant upon the energy sources that propel us towards holonomy: the five states of mind. The goal in cognitive coaching is to illuminate and elevate states of mind so that one can capacitate the parts while simultaneously strengthening the whole.

The phases of the three Cognitive Coaching maps support us as we navigate a coaching conversation that attends to the five states of mind. Further, the pause, paraphrase, pause, pose question approach provides intentional space for heightened reflection and cognition. Our next step is to explore the potential of video in deepening even further that which evolves when we support teachers, particularly as they capacitate the parts to reflect on their practice. Again, our goal in this phase is to foster autonomy and self-actualization by coaching to the five states of mind.

In a coaching conversation designed to enhance instructional practice, one approach may be to break a lesson down into its parts to either reflect on or plan for optimal effectiveness and impact on student learning. As discussed in our series of recent posts, reaching a deepened level of reflection and cognition is dependent upon objective recall and consciousness of current reality. Video provides an optimal data point for a teacher and coach to leverage as they activate objective recall and construct consciousness of current reality. The heart of video observation and coaching hinges upon the teacher seeing the lesson through his/her own eyes. Doing so enables that teacher to objectively observe and reflect upon the impact of instructional moves on student learning, implications of decisions made during the lesson, or even their presence in the classroom. If improvements in practice are to transpire, the teacher must recognize a need for improvement. Video evidence supports this recognition.

Being fully present and listening for states of mind that emerge from video observation enables a coach to bring to the forefront thoughts, reactions and even mental models underlying deep structures. A teacher’s reaction to seeing the lesson through his/her own eyes can be very telling to a coach. Lingering in this space to support a teacher as he/she makes meaning of what the video shows can be transformational. Using an objective data point as a source to activate accurate recall and consciousness of current reality creates the conditions necessary for deepened reflection and transformational learning around instructional practice. The larger outcome accomplished is a closer approximation of self-actualization. Video is not only the tool creating this opportunity, but it is the catalyst propelling this deeper reflection and transformational learning.

After breaking the finite moments of a lesson into their parts to reflect upon, the artful coach can use the phases of the coaching conversation to invite the teacher to consider how these newly refined “parts” might contribute to the overall effectiveness of the lesson – essentially, “the whole.” This coaching move represents an invitation for the teacher to consider and reflect upon the interdependence of refined instructional components of a lesson, thereby improving overall practice. With consciousness of this interdependence, we leave the teacher to explore the notion that “the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.”

Video as an Accelerator of Reflection

David Baker and Karen Smith, authors

A theme of the past several posts has been how video of a lesson, as a component of a coaching conversation, reduces the cognitive load and increases the capacity of a teacher for reasoning and deeper reflection. Video can easily be used at multiple places in a Reflecting Conversation. After the Summarize and Recall region, a coachee may have readiness to watch video to support and enhance recall. Another place in a Reflecting Conversation where we have deepened reflection through the use of video, is the Analyze Causal Factors region. By watching the video after the Summarize and Recall region, the teacher has not only refreshed their recollection of the event, they are primed to go deeper through the questions exploring Decisions, Others and Comparisons (D.O.C) that is often used to help analyze causal factors. One other advantage of using video as a third point is that teachers may want to re-watch a short segment of a video.

Decisions are seemingly nonstop during instruction. Asking a question such as, “As you watched your video, what decisions did you make based upon observing your students?” or “What instructional choices did you make as the lesson unfolded that enhanced student learning?” Often watching the video after the Summarize and Recall region will increase a teacher’s readiness to answer these types of questions. Being intentional in referring to the video supports the use of this point. As a coach, I often remind myself to gesture at the device to help focus thinking back to the video.

Looking at Others is a strength of video reflection. A teacher may remember or focus on a specific event, interaction, or student. We also know as teachers that there were antecedent behaviors or events the teacher may have missed. Video allows a teacher the opportunity to examine the words and behaviors of students in the antecedent moments with greater accuracy. Often a question such as, “What did you see or hear that may have led to/accelerated/precipitated event you noticed?” will draw a teacher back to the video. “As you watched the video, what surprised you that students doing or saying?” is another question that will help a teacher reflect on others in their classroom.

Comparison questions flow very easily into a reflecting conversation. One of my new favorite questions to help a teacher compare was learned from Carolee Hayes, Co-Founder of Thinking Collaborative. Carolee asks, “On reflection, what might ‘the you’ (their name) that taught the lesson tell ‘the you’ that planned the lesson?” Another way we have asked this type of question is, “As you watched this lesson, how did what you taught (or what students did) compare to what you envisioned as you planned the lesson?” We try to be very deliberate in using visual or auditory language cues with video as it provides such a strong connection within a coaching conversation.

These questions and connections of video to the Reflecting Conversation are helping teachers we coach to not only accelerate their thinking about their teaching, but to help teachers see their practice through their own eyes. Video is a powerful third point that can deepen teacher reflection.

Video as a Third Point for Reflection

Karen Smith and David Baker, authors

In embodying the identity of a Cognitive Coach, a value we hold is that of fostering self-directedness in our coachees. This involves building capacity in self-managing, self-monitoring and self-modifying behaviors. In aligning our process with our core beliefs as a coach, it is critical that we engage our coachees in opportunities to generate their own sources of data. Rather than the coach providing feedback for a coachee to reflect upon and grow from, our coachees need to seek opportunities to grow from reflection based on the data they chose to bring to the conversation.

One possible source of data is a coachee’s recall of an event. While this is held in the coachee’s memory, this source of data may be limiting. As mentioned in our previous two posts, Cognitive Load, the Ebbinghaus Forgetting Curve and perception bias often impact one’s ability to adequately recall with objectivity. Further, because recall of events are often tied to the emotion we experienced during the event, our recall runs the risk of offering a subjective data point. In essence, variables tied to memory have the potential of tainting our current reality.

The second possible source of data for a coachee is video. As mentioned, video serves as an objective third point that is free of perception bias and subjective recall. Much like the process for calibrating, a coach has the option of inviting a coachee to view his/her own video of instruction and identify the focal point for reflection. The questions formulated are based on how the coachee is constructing meaning as a result of viewing his/her video. Through the cycle of pause, paraphrase, pause, pose question, a coach who is listening for states of mind now has an opportunity to refine paraphrases and questions by pairing states of mind intended to invite cognitive shift with questions centered around what video directly and objectively provides. These questions might include:

• What do you notice? (consciousness)
• As you watch yourself, what do you notice about your decisions and their impact? (craftsmanship)
• As you planned this lesson, you chose …. After watching your video, what options might you now consider? (flexibility)
• As you watch your video, what are some of the things you are doing to make it go so well? (efficacy)
• How might you leverage this video to share your practice with others? /How might you solicit video evidence from others to building your own capacity? (interdependence)

Next week we will explore how video as a third point and video to promote increased noticing provides even greater depth in a coachee’s capacity to use video as an accelerator of reflection.

Video Promoting Increased Noticing

David Baker and Karen Smith, authors

Video is a tool that supports and enhances what teachers notice and draw upon as they are coached. The noticings of a teacher, whether it is in the summarize impressions or analyze causal factors steps of the Reflecting Conversation or in the specify success indicators of the Planning Conversation or as a 3rd point data source, can be general, internal – about themselves or external – about their students, systems or learning. What is noticed can be reflected upon and Cognitive Coaches believe that accurate self-reflection is a learnable skill. As a coach, I rely on the coaching practice of having the coachee recall before outside data is offered. Video can help a teacher notice more and reflect deeply within a coaching framework.

So why is video powerful for increasing noticing? Video supports memory and recall. Ebbinghaus demonstrated that the brain is designed to forget specifics over time. The longer the delay, the greater the forgetting. Video supports clarity. The data a teacher sees from video will include what they noticed in their initial reflection as well as words, actions and reactions that were unnoticed or not remembered. Seeing after remembering supports clarity. Video supports objectivity of noticing. Data or events can be re-viewed instead of remembered. The coachee can watch and participate in the data gathering instead of relying on the insights of the coach.

In reviewing research on noticing we read, “Characterizing pivotal teaching moments in beginning mathematics teachers’ practice”. They shared research showing one major difference between expert and novice teachers is the ‘‘form and structure of their attention’’ (Mason 1998, p. 243). In Cognitive Coachingsm a goal is to increase resourcefulness of the person being coached. Coaching is designed to support the form and structure of the noticing, leading to thinking and awareness. Video enhances the noticing and thinking in the conversation. This line of thinking is furthered by van Es and Sherin (2002) In their Learning to Notice Framework. They highlight three main components of teacher noticing in the context of analyzing artifacts of classroom practice: (a) identifying important aspects of the situation, (b) reasoning about these aspects, and (c) connecting what is observed to more general ideas about teaching. Cognitive Coachingsm is the process we use to understand these three components. Video is the third point data source used to focus these coaching conversations. Cognitive Coachingsm supported by video increases noticing by supporting memory, providing clarity to noticing elements of practice instructional and objectivity by allowing the coachee to actively participate in the gathering of data.

A coaching question we often use to increase noticing with video is “How does what you observed compare with what you thought happened?” Next week we will explore more questions we use and frameworks that support coaching and video as a third point.

Video as Accelerator of Reflection: Teachers Seeing Their Practice Through Their Own Eyes

David Baker, author

Cognitive CoachingSM is a gift a coach gives enabling others to have increased capacity to think about the complexities of their life. Coaching can provide a novice teacher with a lifeline. Knowing that teachers make 800-1,500 decisions daily, while balancing the social/emotional needs of a classroom of students, teaching content, and supporting student metacognition, finding time and cognitive capacity to practice professional reflection is challenging. Video has become a vital tool to support coaching conversations and professional reflection.

How does video support the person being coached?

We think we are seeing ourselves as we teach, but because of our cognitive load, we are not really seeing our current reality. Due to the cognitive load that a teacher experiences daily, video provides a third point that enhances the accuracy of the recall. Through video, I can see myself, hear myself, and see the impact of my words and actions on students. Memories of a lesson are quickly generalized. Video provides specifics of the experience without the cognitive load of teaching. When I have reduced the cognitive load of the initial experience, I have increased my capacity for reasoning. Seeing my practice through my own eyes, freed from the immediate cognitive load of teaching allows me reflect more deeply.

As a coach I observed the impact of video in action with multiple teachers. One teacher after watching a video clearly identified a goal, moving from a reflecting conversation into a problem resolving conversation because of the clarity gained from watching their video. Another teacher identified success indicators for their teaching and used video as a way to monitor progress. A third teacher watched their video prior to our coaching conversation, made adjustments, re-recorded several times and then wanted to reflect. Video enabled teachers to isolate elements of practice, and reflecting on the decisions or choices out of the 800 – 1,500 that they felt would be most impactful.

Over the following posts, I will expand the connection of video as a component of coaching and impacting different States of Mind in the coaching process.

Kauchak, D.P. & Eggen, P.D. (2005),

Breathing Renewed Life into Our Work: Enjoying the Blossoms

Author: Ericka Harris, Training Associate and member of the Thinking Collaborative Futures Team

The colors are amazing. The blossoms are too numerous to count. The blossoms scream LIFE and JOY. It’s time to move forward, to share your knowledge, expertise, and wonder with the world. The last quotations include an opportunity for you to CELEBRATE. MAY your blossoms bloom bringing renewal to the world that you serve.

DAY TEN
“Grit is more about stamina than intensity…Grit is about working on something you care about so much that you’re willing to stay loyal to it…How gritty are you?”
Angela Duckworth, Grit

DAY ELEVEN
“Language molds our sense of who we are. Our words can shape identities. What we say to others can deeply affect their sense of who they are and who they might become.”
Paula Denton, The Power of Our Words

DAY TWELVE
THREE DEEP BREATHS
“The Centering Breath
Breathe in the present moment,
with balance and energy.

The Possibility Breath
Breathe in the “me I want to be”
with power and purpose.

The Discovery Breath
Breathe in the mystery,
let go of judgment.”
Thomas Crum, Three Deep Breaths

Finally choose at least one quotation to celebrate and share with others. Make tangible plans.
1. CELEBRATE
2. IDENTIFY at least one quotation to set NEW intentions.
3. THINK… possibilities, growth, and thriving. Move into Spring with a pep in your step, a new song to whistle, and new blossoms to share.

As you end this experience, remember to breathe. Remind yourself that it’s okay to start again. See obstacles as stepping stones and SMILE.

Breathing Renewed Life into Our Work: Watching for Growth

Author: Ericka Harris, Training Associate and member of the Thinking Collaborative Futures Team
Our plants are beginning to show their buds, pushing up and out of the soil, showing themselves to be strong, ready to burst free. May these quotations strengthen your resolve to never quit.

DAY SEVEN:
“And that night, before I went to bed, I said a prayer of my own—that I might extend the same presumption of good faith to others that the doctor had extended to me.”
Barack Obama, The Audacity of Hope

DAY EIGHT:
“Wake up! It’s a magic day! Wake up! Get up and play!”
Thomas Crum, Three Deep Breaths

DAY NINE:
“Even when you change, the old beliefs aren’t just removed like a worn-out hip or knee and replaced with better ones. Instead, the new beliefs take their place alongside the old ones, and as they become stronger, they give you a different way to think, feel, and act.”
Carol S. Dweck, Mindset

Breathing Renewed Life into Our Work: Nurturing the Seedlings

Author: Ericka Harris, Training Associate and member of the Thinking Collaborative Futures Team

As plants need sunshine and water to nurture their growth and development, we also crave the sun, turning our faces towards its warmth and glow, quenching our thirst with the cool water that flows freely from our streams. Use these quotations to warm your spirit, inspiring personal and professional growth.

This month, let’s focus on renewing our commitment, passion, and energy for this work. There will be four opportunities for you to ponder quotations.

• You will need your journal to take notes, reflect on the short passages, and to write “Look Fors” to support your continued blooming.
• Please commit to spending ten minutes a day to recharge and reflect.
• Consider these prompts to ignite the power within:
a. What do you see in the quotation that supports your role?
b. What does the quotation make you think about/remember?
c. About what does the quotation make you wonder?

DAY FOUR
“Listening for potential is a choice in every moment. By choosing to listen to people as successful, competent, and able to resolve their own dilemmas, guess what’s likely to happen? They often solve their own problems and get on with the job.”
David Rock, Quiet Leadership

DAY FIVE
“There is no greater gift you can give or receive than to honor your calling. It’s why you were born, and how you become most truly alive.”
Oprah Winfrey, The Path Made Clear

DAY SIX:
“Other leaders used their intelligence in a fundamentally different way. They applied their intelligence to amplify the smarts and capability of people around them. People got smarter and better in their presence. Ideas grew; challenges were surmounted; hard problems were solved. When these leaders walked into a room, light bulbs started going off over people’s heads. Ideas flew so fast that you had to replay the meeting in slow motion just to see what was going on. Meetings with them were idea mash-up sessions. These leaders seemed to make everyone around them better and more capable. These leaders weren’t just intelligent themselves—they were intelligence multipliers.”
Liz Wiseman and Greg McKeown, Multipliers

Breathing Renewed Life into Our Work: Planting the Seeds

Author: Ericka Harris, Training Associate and member of the Thinking Collaborative Futures Team

Spring renews life in nature. Trees bloom. flowers burst free showing off their colors. Birds return to sing their songs and the grass turns green under our feet. The sun stays high in the sky offering time and space for those longing to feel its warmth and gift of lazy days.

This month, let’s focus on renewing our commitment, passion, and energy for this work. There will be four opportunities for you to ponder quotations.

• You will need your journal to take notes, reflect on the short passages, and to write “Look Fors” to support your continued blooming.
• Please commit to spending ten minutes a day to recharge and reflect.
• Consider these prompts to ignite the power within:
a. What do you see in the quotation that supports your role?
b. What does the quotation make you think about/remember?
c. About what does the quotation make you wonder?

DAY ONE: Strong Determination
“You continually reaffirm your strong longing to continue with your work.
You are pleased to wake up in the morning and pleased to go to bed at night.”
Margaret J. Wheatley, Perseverance

DAY TWO:
“Once again, we had learned an important lesson: the power of one person to unite the group, the power of one person to inspire those around him, to give them hope. If that one person… could sing while neck deep in mud, then so could we. If that one person could endure the freezing cold, then so could we. If that one person could hold on, then so could we…We will all find ourselves neck deep in mud someday. That is the time to sing loudly, to smile broadly, to lift up those around you and give them hope that tomorrow will be a better day.”
William H. McRaven, Make Your Bed

DAY THREE:
“We pay special attention to what we are expecting to see, hear, feel, or taste.”
David Rock, Quiet Leadership

April 29, 2019 – Interdependence

Thirty-five years ago, Costa and Garmston developed Cognitive Coaching as a theoretical framework for supporting self-directedness and developing cognitive capacity. At the center of the work are the Five States of Mind. Wellman and Garmston applied the States of Mind concept to groups and referred to them as Energy Sources.  As students of this work, these five concepts serve as a framework for analyzing the internal resources of both individuals and groups.

 

This month, we offer a review and strategies for intervening with each of the States of Mind/Energy Sources.

 

Description

John Donne famously wrote, “No man is an island.” As humans, we are inherently interconnected, needing one another for our most basic survival and to thrive and grow.  Interdependence is a recognition of our need to live reciprocally, both giving and receiving resource and sustenance from one another.  When conflict occurs, it is often the result of low interdependence and a default to autonomy.

 

Research has clearly demonstrated that when teachers collaborate, students learn more. It is through dialogic relationships that we construct meaning and add complexity to our world views.  Interdependence requires both groups and individuals to draw on the other four States of Mind.

 

Ways to Intervene

Egocentricity is hard-wired in each of us; it helps us to survive by signaling our bodies to ingest nutrients, take shelter, and move from danger. Overcoming our egocentricity requires us to reach beyond ourselves.  Some questions to assist others in looking outward include:

 

Who might be a resource for you with this dilemma? What might you need to ask for to navigate this challenge?  How are you connecting with others in moving forward with this issue?

 

For groups, moving to an allocentric (other-centered) position and “going to the balcony,” to look beyond their limited view can assist in seeing systems and interconnections among individuals and parts.

 

Reflections

What are the challenges for you in becoming more interdependent? What are some things you are conscious of in your own style preferences that assist or detract from your capacity for interdependence?

 

Considering a group you work with, how to you actively promote the group’s interdependence? How does conflict affect your group’s interdependence?

 

 

April 22, 2019 – Efficacy

Thirty-five years ago, Costa and Garmston developed Cognitive Coaching as a theoretical framework for supporting self-directedness and developing cognitive capacity. At the center of the work are the Five States of Mind. Wellman and Garmston applied the States of Mind concept to groups and referred to them as Energy Sources.  As students of this work, these five concepts serve as a framework for analyzing the internal resources of both individuals and groups.

 

This month, we offer a review and strategies for intervening with each of the States of Mind/Energy Sources.

 

Description

Efficacy is an internal belief that one is capable of producing the results one desires. In the individual it is a person with agency, a person who sees him/herself as possessing the skills, ability, and drive to move in a positive direction in one’s life and with one’s goals.  When a teacher holds personal efficacy, It is highly correlated with student achievement.  Recent research has shown that when collective efficacy lives in a group or school, students are more successful.   It is a fundamental resource in equity work.  Efficacy also sustains effort, provides a foundation for collaboration, and helps individuals and groups to persist when the going gets challenging.  Teachers with high efficacy have lower stress and tend to remain in the profession longer.

 

Ways to Intervene

An internal locus of control is essential to ongoing efficacy. Inviting an individual to consider, “Over what do you have control in this situation,” can assist in a focus on actionable behaviors.  Also drawing on past successes in challenging situations can be effective.  The Outcome Structure taught on Day 8 of Cognitive CoachingSM is a useful tool when there is a third party that is part of the challenge facing the individual.  In groups, efficacy is built through ongoing successful collaboration which produces results.  Groups who reflect on their work are more likely to develop efficacy as they understand cause and effect from their actions.

 

Reflections

What are areas of your life where you feel most efficacious? What actions have you consciously taken to ensure impact in those areas?  How might that understanding transfer to other facets of your life?

 

What are the characteristics of the most efficacious group you work with? How might you develop those in less efficacious groups?

April 15, 2019 – Flexibility

Thirty-five years ago, Costa and Garmston developed Cognitive Coaching as a theoretical framework for supporting self-directedness and developing cognitive capacity. At the center of the work are the Five States of Mind. Wellman and Garmston applied the States of Mind concept to groups and referred to them as Energy Sources.  As students of this work, these five concepts serve as a framework for analyzing the internal resources of both individuals and groups.

 

This month, we offer a review and strategies for intervening with each of the States of Mind/Energy Sources.

 

Description

When we think of flexibility, we often think of stretching ourselves in new ways. That is true for this State of Mind/Energy Source which requires us to stretch both our options and our perspectives.  A truly flexible person is able to generate and consider multiple approaches to decisions and choices.  Flexible teams do not run with their first ideas, but push themselves out of the box by examining implications and assumptions of a variety of alternatives.  Equally important to considering multiple options is the capacity to look beyond one’s own egocentric view, taking alternate perspectives.  A truly flexible person can examine something through others’ filters such as race, culture, status, position, age, religion, etc.  The same is true for groups.  What first appears to be true, from our group’s experiences and point of view, may be a complete distortion from another point of view.  White privilege is an example of how white people are unable to see the implications of their actions from their limited perspective.  A strong and flexible group reaches beyond its boundaries to see the world through other lenses.

 

Ways to Intervene

When we collaborate instead of working autonomously, we naturally expose ourselves to other perspectives. Individuals seek flexibility by asking others what they might be missing.  They seek out diverse perspectives through research and conversation with those not like them.

 

Groups who are flexible are constantly asking themselves questions like:

What other possibilities might we consider before deciding?

What other perspectives might we need to research?

Who have we not considered?

What limits might we putting on ourselves?

 

Reflections

Under what conditions are you most flexible? How might you slow down and increase your flexibility?  Considering a group you are a member of, what conscious strategies might you use to increase your capacity in this State of Mind?

April 8, 2019 – Craftsmanship

Thirty-five years ago, Costa and Garmston developed Cognitive Coaching as a theoretical framework for supporting self-directedness and developing cognitive capacity. At the center of the work are the Five States of Mind. Wellman and Garmston applied the States of Mind concept to groups and referred to them as Energy Sources.  As students of this work, these five concepts serve as a framework for analyzing the internal resources of both individuals and groups.

 

This month, we offer a review and strategies for intervening with each of the States of Mind/Energy Sources.

 

Description

In the original work of Costa and Garmston, Craftsmanship was labeled, “Precision.” In expanding that title to Craftsmanship, they broadened the meaning to include a disposition for persistence and excellence.  This State of Mind/Energy Source assumes a constant striving toward continuous improvement.  Teams value data and manage it along with their time and resources. Craftsmanship is personified in great artists and athletes.  Craftsmanship without flexibility can become perfectionism.

 

Ways to Intervene

Both individuals and groups who have high craftsmanship pay close attention to the criteria they use for making decisions. Often bringing criteria to consciousness leads to greater craftsmanship.

What are the criteria you are consciously using in making this decision?

What data might you need to consider in moving forward?

How are time and resources impacting your work?

What might be some indicators it is time to refine the work you have done?

 

Reflections

As you consider your own work, what factors contribute to your own craftsmanship? How do you support greater craftsmanship in students and colleagues?

April 1,2019 – Consciousness

Thirty-five years ago, Costa and Garmston developed Cognitive Coaching as a theoretical framework for supporting self-directedness and developing cognitive capacity. At the center of the work are the Five States of Mind. Wellman and Garmston applied the States of Mind concept to groups and referred to them as Energy Sources.  As students of this work, these five concepts serve as a framework for analyzing the internal resources of both individuals and groups.

 

This month, we offer a review and strategies for intervening with each of the States of Mind/Energy Sources.

 

Description

Consciousness is an entry point into all of the other States of Mind/Energy Sources. In an individual, it is awareness of one’s own metacognition, both thoughts and feelings.  It is an ability to articulate to one’s thinking, in addition to doing the thinking.  A conscious person is also aware of the environment, noting patterns, data, nonverbals, changes, and feedback.

 

In a group, consciousness means members are constantly monitoring their interactions and impact on individuals and the group. The conscious group operates from a clear set of norms and values.  They monitor their own efforts and are constantly reflecting on their own development as a group.

 

Ways to Intervene

Data is the most effective strategy for increasing consciousness for both individuals and groups. Providing reflective questions relevant to the data move the person/group from having information to constructing personal/shared meaning regarding the data.

 

Sample questions might include:

What data lead to that conclusion?

What values and beliefs seem to be driving your dialogue/discussion?

What assumptions might be getting in the way of progress?

 

Reflections

How are you intentionally capacitating consciousness in your work? What might you need to be more conscious of in doing so?

Writing by the Coach

Our trainers are often asked about a coach writing during a conversation. We offer some thoughts on this issue for this week’s reflections. Rapport is primarily nonverbal and it signals human connection by mirroring another person, that is, aligning with them physically in postures and gestures and in breathing. When the coach writes, the alignment ceases and attention moves from the person to the writing tools. In addition, the very act of writing separates one’s thought process from the person’s communication to the coach and focuses the coach on his/her own thoughts. The connection is broken.

An additional impact on the relationship is created by the coachee’s thoughts in relation to the writing being done. S/he might think, “What is the person writing? Why are they writing? Am I being clear in my words, thoughts? The effect is to distract the coachee from his/her own content and create thoughts about the writing. This can trigger a stressed reaction and move the brain to a loss of cognitive capacity.

So generally, writing by the coach during a conversation is counterproductive. If the coach has some strong need to write, it should be made clear before the conversation what is the purpose of the writing and permission should be requested before deciding to record.

How do these thoughts align with your experiences and your thinking about the coach writing during the conversation?