Self-Directed Learning…Are you doing it?

September 26, 2010

This week my coaching certification focus has been on self-directed learning.  A key take-away in my studies has been the awareness of how critical it is for learners at all levels to embrace this learning approach.  Gone are the days where information other people think we need to know will be spoon fed to us via a “subject matter expert.”  With information being so readily available, it will become simply expected that we know how to gain knowledge as needed to keep up to date both personally and professionally.

This current situation creates what is being referred to as a knowledge economy yielding a business environment where Human potential, not merely capability, is the new unique selling proposition.  Knowledge in and of itself has become less valuable.  Seriously…is there anything you can’t Google for the answer any time of day or night? The expectation has shifted from simply knowing something to the more intangible or “right-brained” functions used effectively to think strategically, create innovative solutions, implement change, and lead.

Yes, the “information age” as it is referred to by many is vastly upon us and to keep up, we must be self-directed learners who can leverage our unique learning styles to get better results for ourselves, our businesses and our society overall.  We will need to “reinvent” ourselves over and over again.  It has recently been said that one third of all ten year olds will begin work in a job that hasn’t been invented yet.  It’s an exciting time to be alive!

Self-directed learning is the new learning.  Each of us will need to have our own development plan.  While some people have taken this approach their whole lives, others will need to figure out what they need to learn and how to learn it.  Having a coach to support you can yield a high return on investment.  Coaching is all about self-directed learning.  If you have an interest in investigating coaching for yourself, contact me to find out more.

So tell me….what have you learned lately?

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Coaching – What is it?

August 31, 2010

As explained in the About The Growth Coach page, I am working on becoming a Certified Professional Coach through the International Coach Academy.  I thought it would be important to take the time to explain what coaching is for those of you who may not have run across a coach outside the realm of the soccer field, baseball diamond, basketball court or you fill in the blank sporting arena.  Coaching is a relatively new profession.  As recent as twenty years ago, no one had heard of life, business or corporate coaching.  Today that has changed.  Well known news media has featured coaching in a variety of settings.  Marshall Goldsmith and Ram Charan have made Executive Coaching fairly well known but still, most people don’t think of coaching as an option for them.  Maybe you think….oh, that’s just for members of the C-Suite class…you know, CEOs, CFO’s, COOs, etc.  Or maybe your idea is that coaching is for those people who aren’t cutting it on the job.  Maybe you have personally known someone who was given a “coach” in order to correct some major behavioral problem like controlling anger or relating to people.   Perhaps you have it lumped together in a category you call “therapy” or “counseling.”  Despite your exposure to date, I find it part of my personal mission to dispel the myths so you might move forward with a new paradigm around this thing called “coaching.”

During a recent ICA training session, coaches from all around the globe weighed in on the question above.  Here are just a few of their responses:

Coaching is…

  • Helping people move from being good to being awesome
  • A relationship where one person “lifts” the other person up
  • Client-driven self-assessment to help the person achieve his or her goals
  • Communication with a lot of courage and compassion to help a person achieve a dream
  • About change.  A catalyst for bringing it about.  It enhances the quality of life
  • Non-judgmental, deep-listening and reflecting back to the client what you are hearing
  • Being a positive outcome devil’s advocate

I believe coaching can be all of these things.  In addition, when I think of coaching the first word that comes to mind is “growth”.  As stated by Theodore Roethke, “Deep in their roots, all flowers keep the light.”  Each human being has untapped potential waiting to be put into action.  Having a coach helps to effectively access that potential.

The process of coaching involves providing confidential, customized support to a person one-on-one in a way that moves the individual from where he or she is to where he or she wants to be.  Coaching is future-focused and involves identifying specific goals and taking action.  Unlike counseling which looks back in time to assess how a person got to where he or she is today, coaching looks at where a person is today and identifies actions for moving forward to a client-identified goal.

Coaching can involve any topic or subject matter imaginable.   There are generally broad categories of coaches such as: life, sales, & business and then niches such as:  relationship, wellness & nutrition, leadership, executive, parenting etc.  The list goes on and on.  Not only are there a vast amount of categories and niches but a coach may also specialize in the type of client he or she serves for example I recently met a women who is a business coach focused on executive women.  Another example is a life coach focused on communication skills for expats who are integrating into a new country.

So if you haven’t gotten the point already, coaching is a viable option for you if you want to work with a professionally-trained, unbiased advocate who is focused on one thing only…. ACHIEVING YOUR GOALS.  This is not something your manager, significant other or best friend can provide!

I encourage you to give it a try when the time is right for you.