Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Immersive Experience 1. Goals and Motivation

As an activity in our Facilitator Accelerator Program we were required to complete an experiential task which we called an analogous or immersive experience. This required us to spend a half day in a non-work environment. My interpretation of the exercise was to provide us with clarity on our roles as facilitators by paralleling what we do with another industry. We were expected to share our insights within our group to learn from others' experiences.

My immersive experience was an interview with Emma, a friend who is a Psychologist and a fellow AFL mum. We catch up most Sundays on the sidelines but this Sunday I had asked Emma if I could interview her. My aim was to gain an understanding of the alignment between the support services offered and techniques used by a Psychologist and what I do as a Facilitator, both in facilitation of learning programs and also understand how the techniques might be similar to workplace coaching.
I have broken the interview and my takeaways into 2 blog posts around
1. Goals & Motivation and 2. Questions.

1. Goals & Motivation

My first question to Emma was;
What do you call a session? 

Emma confirmed that it is most often referred to as a treatment or therapeutic session.  We discussed predominantly examples of individual one on one (therapist and client) sessions, however throughout the interview we also talked about group sessions which could include couples, families or groups (eg parenting classes - where the group has a commonality).


I was keen to understand how Emma approaches goal setting with clients.

Emma clarified that every session has its own goals, she reiterated the importance of clearly outlining the agenda at the commencement of a session, to ensure all parties are in agreement about the flow of the session. Each session would have goals to be achieved, and then there would be interim goals that the individual would work on post session and bring outcomes to the next session. We discussed the importance of making these interim goals achievable, particularly with children, to ensure an ongoing commitment to the therapy. Each session runs approximately 50 minutes and a client supported by Medicare would be entitled to 6 sessions however Emma pointed out that some clients require up to 10 or even 20 sessions. 

Long term goals are determined at an Initial assessment where it is important to gather an overall understanding of the individual's situation such a their history. The client must be actively involved in the formulation of where they are heading, what are their long term goals. These goals can change, so it is important to allow the goals to be really flexible, however generally the long term goal is an overarching goal(s), which will stay same as they are usually a life goal.

An important factor is to provide the client with the power to negotiate the goal, by doing this the therapist gets the client's buy in. During a session the therapist is reading body posture and tone of voice and will guide the client by pointing out what sounds important. If there is a key point that therapist sees as relevant they will prepare the client to discuss that in the next session. 

Emma raised my awareness to the fact that there are many regulations determining the actions of therapists not just ethically but also practically. Because the client is not in a position of power or authority the therapist must empower the client by gaining their agreement and empowering them to choose. Sometimes the psychologist, who is the powerful expert, needs to point out the pros, not cons, to engage the client therefore helping them understand the benefit of dealing with the difficult or challenging topics. It is easy to presume people think the same as you regarding the benefits of having therapy sessions. They may have a commitment to therapy but it can be a real challenge for people to keep putting themselves in a vulnerable position, they need to 'feel good' and achieve some sort of incremental or achievable goal to see progress which is the value for them. "The 'feeling good' is the motivator"

Interim goals must hold true in case the ultimate goal is not achieved or achievable.

There is one exception where the goal is not determined by the person receiving therapy and this is EAP workplace therapy. The organisation or workplace sets the goal as they are the paying client.


I questioned Emma about commitment to the goals

Emma raised the importance of understanding client motivation. Most of the time if the client is paying for the therapy they don't want to waste their time and they want to get value for the money that they have paid.

Emma gave the example of working with kids, you set up with an initial learning phase to ensure success. She used the example of a star chart for already successful achievements. "Find out what they can do successfully and build on this", which reminded me of what we would describe as strengths based coaching. 

Goal is something they never do, something they are striving for, but the first goal is something that they do 100% of time eg brushing their teeth in the morning when they have been asked once. Then the next is 75% of time eg once you have brushed your teeth you put your socks on. Emma pointed out that you can't have standard goals as each person is different, the goal(s) need to be suited for the individual client. It is important that the reward is set by the client. For adults the reward is about feeling good or successful achievement.

Emma raised the point "Don't set dead people goals"

I was fascinated by this point and she elaborated but also indicated that there is plenty of info online. An example of which is "I never want to feel threatened", "I never want our family to fight again". It is important to recognise that being human requires risk of feeling hurt or disappointed, part of therapy is to assist people to manage these feelings and the risk of them happening again, it is not realistic to expect that therapy will take away the problem or the risk.

Monday, June 5, 2017

Facilitator Accelerator Program - listen to the music

When the exciting opportunity became available to participate in - what is now known as, the Facilitator Accelerator program I was - excited, beyond excited perhaps almost bordering on fervent. I was anticipating the addition of yet another layer of thinking.  My fervour to add another layer of thinking to the already busy world of day to day seems sometimes like a form of self-sabbotage but the lure of the 'lightbulb moment' is too intense.  
This addition of another dimension to my world I liken to listening to multiple playlistsšŸŽ¶, where I tune into the day to day pop & rock playlist of facilitating induction, attending meetings and planning for facilitation and then when do I get time to listen to the soulful soundtrackšŸŽ¶ of the course that I am completing I might have to do this late at night, after I have listened to the rhythm & blues playlist of dinner, washing up, bath time and family time.
Sometimes when I am listening to the day to day I hear similarities to the soundtrack of the course I am completing. This recognition is exciting because it is as if the playlists are not completely adjacent but rather could perhaps one day be combined to be played as a mixed playlist of music šŸŽ¶that fits together and makes sense, 
even though each song is independent one makes sense next to the other. 
There are those other times when the noise is too loud from one playlist and distracts me from the soundtrackšŸŽ¶ I should be currently listening to. I ask myself questions like 'Do I need to listen to the whole playlist?', How do I hear what I need to hear when I need to hear it? These questions are all about me using my time efficiently however sometimes it seems when I relax and just listen to where the music takes me I am led to the 'lightbulb moments' that are the reason I was listening in the first place.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Membership has grown to 19

The membership of The Learning Concierge Society has grown to 19, postings are still limited to Jane attempting to encourage discussion and posting links to articles that relate to the topic of Learning Concierge.
I did make a request to hear more examples of how members act as Learning Concierges in a professional capacity, and this has generated 5 responses, with one member adding a link to a blogpost that was relevant, which they had published earlier in the year. 
One new member has posted a group-wide comment relating to their role as a guide to finding reliable sources of information for workplace use. 
So the conversation continues, albeit slowly.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Slowly forming with direction but little participation

My Learning Concierge Society is noticeably inactive. The Director of the Society, Jane, has been posting regularly (twice weekly) however it seems that the initial interest displayed by members has waned. There is little, if any response to Jane's postings which is not generating any energy within the group. It is an informal group, with no requirement for participation and I am wondering if it is simply a condition of a community in it's formative stages. I will continue to observe and I hope that my open declaration that I am observing the group has not deterred other participants from posting. 

Monday, August 12, 2013

Facilitating the introductory conversations & individual participation

As mentioned previously the Learning Concierge Society has been active for only 2 months, therefore the community is still in its developing stages or the 'forming stage' as cited by McInnerney & Roberts (2004 p79) as presented by Tuckman 1965 as cited in Kemery 2000. 

The facilitator posts regularly (every second day) in the initial days of the society to encourage community members to share their thoughts and ideas, specifically as they relate to their role as a Learning Concierge
The general posts generate no responses, however when the facilitator posts are more direct in a request for response, she received comments from members and respective conversations followed.

As would be expected by a facilitator, she responds to comments/replies to her initial postings in recognition of the members' comments aswell as to continue the conversation by prompting with relevant questions. By being responsive to comments/replies or member postings the facilitator is encouraging comments or postings from other members, in an effort to open the community to wider participation. 

Currently, of the 11 members (excluding myself and the facilitator) I have categorised the following in an effort to observe the ongoing trends of participation.

My Observations of the individual participation shows  5 members posted once or twice in the initial days of the community, 4 members participated actively for the first week, 2 members post or comment fortnightly.

I will continue to observe the group as it grows, which will also allow me to determine  how members participate going forward and to note if once early active members return to the group. 

Monday, August 5, 2013

Setting myself up in my learning community For EDIT517

The eLearning community I am interacting in is Learning Concierge Society which is a group recently initiated by Jane Hart. I discovered this community when Hart posted a blogpost introducing the concept of learning concierge. 

Jane is somewhat of an identity within corporate training as she has a very active online presence, having established the Centre for Learning and Performance Technologies (C4LPT) You can check this link for more info about Jane
As with anything that targets a corporate audience, there is something to 'purchase'; from consulting services, participation in a workshop or e-books, however there are also many items on offer at no charge such as presentations of information and lists of Top 100 technologies with reviews. The workshops and publications on offer are also very reasonably priced and whilst I have not yet participated I am keen to involve myself in future workshops. 

Relevance to who I am and what I do. 
As a trainer in a corporate setting I find the concepts and issues that are raised by Hart, in her writings (blog) and her followers' (in comments) are most relevant to my circumstances. I was therefore keen to understand more about this concept of learning concierge. I submitted my request to join the group and within a few days I received the email invitation.

There are currently only 47 members, as the group was initiated 2 months ago.
The main platform for communication is Yammer which is a Social Media platform that I am familiar with, as this is used within my organisation for colleagues across Suncorp to share information. From my initial investigations there are many topics that are relevant to me. I will share more over the coming days as I immerse myself in the community and develop my own sense of self within the group.

I will also send Hart an email as a courtesy to verify that she is agreeable to having me discuss issues that relate to the community within this blog. As it is a closed community there may be certain restrictions that I have not considered. 

Sunday, July 7, 2013

What is a Learning Community ?

I believe a learning community is a coming together of Individuals who are interested in developing their knowledge on a particular topic. 

The dictionary definition ( ) of community, refers to "those living in the same locality", therefore community requires a commonality of location for individual participants. 
When we consider this in the online world, the commonality of location is very important as this may be the only forum where dispersed participants or community members are able to meet. Therefore it seems to be essential that there is an online space that is a dedicated resource for the community to develop in and around, such as a LMS, website, wiki or blog.

McInnerney and Roberts (2004) propose that along with "a gathering of people" a community also requires "a sense of belonging". From my experiences with various online communities, as mentioned in my previous post, I can appreciate how a 'sense of belonging' is an essential component to individual participation in a community, as it encourages a feeling of security and as a result enables participants to find their voice; by having the courage to comment and communicate within the community.

So a learning community requires a collection of participants with a common desire to develop knowledge in a central accessible location where participants can feel secure. 

Blogging is always an interesting exercise, as it often generates more questions for me, but perhaps that is the underlying purpose. I look forward to hearing my colleague's perspectives on learning communities to formulate a final understanding of what makes a learning community, particularly as it relates to online.