Disillusioned Learners and Coaching in the SoMe age

It seems we’ve hit the mid-semester slump with problems with technology and how to leverage it for learning this week.  It’s got me thinking about Ken Blanchard’s model of Situational Leadership, a concept that’s been debunked a bit by scholars, but I’ve found extremely useful for leadership development.  I think there are some concepts here that will help us as we move forward to nurture informal learning in our organizations.

Starting out, we’re enthusiastic beginners.  We’re excited by all the new toys, eager for the possibilities, proud to be learning to lead the charge.  With enthusiastic beginners, says Blanchard, direction is important:  show and tell how to do things.  Little coaching is needed because newbies are already enthusiastic.  Then reality hits and we become disillusioned learners.  Tweets don’t show up.  Critical information is embedded in an email we didn’t read carefully.  We have trouble keeping track of URLs and passwords.  Blanchard suggests that the leader/trainer/coach/facilitator needs to continue with lots of direction, showing and telling, but needs to add more support and encouragement.  To be a listening post and cheerleader.  If our ultimate goal is to become an independent peak performer, we need coaching to get over this hump.

In the networked world, where will this coaching come from?  I think we’ll need to nurture coaching abilities in everyone, so peers and even strangers can step up to the plate when someone’s faltering.  I also think we’ll need to find ways for people who need help to ask for it.  We’ll need to help experienced users overcome what the Heath brothers call the “Curse of Knowledge” to help them coach less able colleagues effectively without making assumptions about what they know.  Personally, I think I’ll have to suppress the urge to play mom and rush in to help rather than waiting for the network to spring into action.


2 thoughts on “Disillusioned Learners and Coaching in the SoMe age

  1. You nailed it! I was an eager puppy in the beginning and looking at every opportunity that came my way through this class. Now, mid-semester slump. I didn’t pace myself and getting overwhelmed and wondering how I can keep this up as a professional. But I can see the independent stage down the road. Our work is helping us to filter through all this and figure out what we will do with it at the end of the class and what we can continue on in our real lives. (Thanks Jeannette for the gentle reminders to work on our PLN. Mine is a Word document with an ongoing collection of thoughts and ideas but I know once I organize it a bit more, it will be a useful tool)

  2. Chris – great points here. Yes, how do we get others to stay enthusiastic, and not only others, how do we keep ourselves enthusiastic? I know you wrote this a week ago, but I think this correlates perfectly with the conversation we had w/Koreen on Friday when we discussed ways to keep learners engaged, especially those in Gen Y (including me). I struggle with the enthusiasm to keep the depth without going overboard with the breadth. The breadth is fun for me! What else is out there and how quickly can I apply and use it? The depth, well, that’s the hard part. The push, the oomph to keep going, to go deeper, to finish. So many of my high school athletics teams did not know how to finish, nor were we prepared to, so we lost A LOT of basketball and softball games. From my perspective, it was a combination of lack of skill/ability compared to opposing teams, and it was the coaching. I think I’m going to do some further reading on motivation, so I can help myself as well as those I design instruction for.

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