Monday, February 15, 2016

Conversations That Inspire: Coaching Learning, Leadership and Change Course Summary

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I took a Massive Online Open Course (MOOC) called Conversations That Inspire: Coaching Learning, Leadership and Change. The session went from October 5 to December 19, 2015, and was offered by professors at Case Western Reserve University through Coursera.

Coaching for compliance occurs when a person is coached according to the coach’s wishes or expectations. Coaching with compassion is a method where someone is coached with their personal goals and desires in mind. The class examined the theory and research behind both coaching for compliance and coaching with compassion. Research shows that coaching with compassion is a more effective method of coaching.

The capstone project at the end of the course was to provide coaching to two colleagues. There were five coaching sessions for each of my colleagues. My coachees and I discussed personal vision, strengths, weaknesses, and career vision, among other things. We talked about their ideal selves, and their real selves, and we worked on goal setting. Some questions that we covered were “What do you strive to become?”, “How will you apply lessons learned?”, “Are you building on your strengths with these goals?”, and “What common themes do you see in your feedback?”. I was also coached by a classmate while I was coaching my colleagues. Being coached by someone while coaching others was a very helpful experience. I was able to see the effects of coaching while coaching others, and apply my experiences.

Since I’ve never done any coaching before, this class was invaluable. I learned why coaching with compassion is so effective and how I can go about coaching in that way instead of coaching for compliance.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

The Guest Room by Chris Bohjalian

Chris Bohjalian isn’t afraid of tackling social issues in his books, and The Guest Room is no exception. His latest novel deals with sex slavery. Richard Chapman hosts a bachelor party for his brother, but after one of the “entertainers” kills her handler, things go from bad to worse. Richard’s life is completely turned upside down. Told from multiple points of view, readers get to see how this tragedy affects Richard, his wife, and one of the entertainers.

I am a huge fan of Chris Bohjalian’s books, and his newest didn’t disappoint. The ending was completely unexpected, and left me reeling. I couldn’t put this book down until I read the very last page. 

If you liked this book, you should also try The Stolen Ones by Owen Laukkanen.

Monday, October 26, 2015

Personal Learning Assignment #3

The third personal learning assignment had us teaming up with two other participants in the Conversations that Inspire: Coaching Learning, Leadership and Change course from Coursera. We were asked to discuss our weaknesses and disappointments, as well as things we do well and who is proud of us. It was a very interesting exercise. Below are my reflections on the assignment.

My first feeling before our Skype call began was nervousness. I didn’t know these people, and I wondered how they would react to this round-robin sharing. My feelings of nervousness soon subsided after we introduced ourselves. They were genuine people, and seemed very interested in what was being said. That helped a lot as we began to share our weaknesses, disappointments, and what we might do better.
It was nice to hear what others were dealing with. I liked talking with others and getting ideas and tips. When I shared my own flaws and weaknesses, they weren’t judging me. They just listened and had some brief feedback on what I might try to do differently. Hearing ideas on how others deal with issues helped me think of ways I might deal with my own flaws or weaknesses. My classmates also put some perspective on the situation.
I felt slightly more uplifted after this second round of questions. It’s not necessarily easier to “toot your own horn,” but it does make you feel better. It feels better to talk about positive things than when you’re talking about what you do wrong. These feeling were different from the first round, because I wasn’t concentrating on my weaknesses or flaws. I was talking about what I do well, and that always makes me feel better. It helps remind me that, “Yes, I can do this. Yes, I have accomplished things.”
I noticed that the NEA wasn’t as bad as I’d expected. I think it helped to talk to people who didn’t know me and could be objective. The PEA was more prevalent in round two, and really kicked in when I was talking about my accomplishments, because it feels good to talk about what you do well. This exercise was very helpful in showing me that it’s not always a bad thing to talk about your weaknesses or flaws.

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Personal Learning Assignment #1

I’m currently taking a class through Case Western Reserve University called Conversations that Inspire: Coaching Learning, Leadership and Change. This post is my Personal Learning Assignment for the first week of class.

The thing that strikes me the most about the people on my list is learning by example. I've seen many people do things that have inspired me, and I realize that I want to do them the same way. The three themes I’ve been most inspired by are hard work, positive outlook, and learning.

For example, my father is and always has been a hard worker. I've tried to emulate that and feel that I'm also a hard worker. Positive outlook is also a theme that has motivated me across different life stages. My grandmother has dealt with many challenges throughout her life, and has always looked on the bright side. Besides my grandmother, a close friend also has a positive outlook no matter what is going in her own life. I try to do that as well. I’m not always successful, but those two people have inspired me to have a positive outlook. Learning is a theme that has been present throughout each life stage. My mother has always been willing to try different jobs and learn new things, so she doesn’t get stuck in a rut. My grandmother is another example of this. A former coworker inspired me to go back to school and continue learning. I’ve always been inspired to learn something new, and I think I’ve been successful in doing so.

The other thing that has struck me about motivation is what not to do. In past jobs, I’ve seen what other people are doing, and I’ve learned that I don’t want to do something the same way. I think it’s just as important to consider bad situations as inspirational as it is good situations. I think you learn as much about yourself during the bad times as you do during good times. In fact, you might learn even more through a bad situation. 

Stay tuned for this week’s assignment!

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

The Winter People by Jennifer McMahon

Monsters don’t really exist, do they? But what if they do…

The Winter People goes back and forth between present day and the early 20th century. West Hall, Vermont is a place where strange things have happened for many years. Sara Harrison Shea lost her young daughter, Gertie, in a horrible accident. She is overcome with grief, and when she discovers a way to bring Gertie back, she can’t resist. Sara quickly discovers that sometimes the dead are better left alone.

Ruthie’s mother Alice has gone missing. While looking for clues, Ruthie stumbles across Sara’s secret diary. Ruthie realizes that maybe her mother wasn’t wrong to insist that she stay out of the woods.

The Winter People is the perfect Halloween read. If you liked this book, you might also enjoy The Night Strangers by Chris Bohjalian.

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Could You Pass the Test?

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A few weeks ago, I saw this article on the Mental Floss website about U.S. citizenship. It has 10 questions that might be on the test immigrants take when they want to become U.S. citizens. As a natural-born citizen, I've never had to take the test. I looked through the questions, and was horrified when I realized I couldn't answer all of them correctly.

That prompted my next learning assignment. I challenged myself to research the answers to each question. Below is each question, the answer, and the source where I found the answer.

1. How many amendments does the Constitution have? 
A: 27 

2. What is the economic system in the United States?
A: Capitalist/Market Economy 

3. Name your U.S. Representative. 
A: Peter Roskam, 6th Congressional District
Source: House of Representatives

4. What are two Cabinet-level positions? 
A: Department of Commerce, Department of Education
Source: White House 

5. Who is the Chief Justice of the United States now? 
A: John G. Roberts, Jr.
Source: Supreme Court 

6. Who lived in America before the Europeans arrived?
A: Native Americans 
Source: World Book Online Reference Center (one of my library's databases) 

7. The Federalist Papers supported the passage of the U.S. Constitution. Name ONE of the writers.
A: Alexander Hamilton

8. What is ONE thing Benjamin Franklin is famous for? 
A: He was the first to propose a monthly magazine in America. 
Source: Library of Congress

9. Before he was President, Eisenhower was a general. What war was he in? 
A: World War II 

10. What did Susan B. Anthony do?
A: She was an activist and reformer who supported women’s right to vote.
Source: Infoplease 

How many of these questions did you know the answers to?