Friday, November 23, 2012
Those of us living in NE Ohio have been gifted the last two weeks with sunshine and temperatures in the upper 50s and 60s. That's big here-- rarely does the sun shine in November and often we are deep in snow -- for example
Monarda stems blown askew by Sandy, I smiled as I remembered the pink blossoms in their glory the past summer. Their strength-- the height and pink they bring to a landscape also graced with shorter yellow daylilies, pink peonies, deep pink coral bells, orange lillies, and yellow primrose. The Monarda are a favorite of the hummingbirds as they blossom and of the finches and chickadees for strong enough stalks to hold them as they light to check out surroundings. As I looked over the cut back, brown remains of the other perennials, I recalled their glory as they stood alone and their wonderful swath of color as they grew together.
Stems cut back, basking in the sun, my mind turned as it does so often these days, to Connected Coaching. Strong connections to the array of perennials in my garden struck me again as I reflected on the remarkable opportunity to improve a collective coaching practice with 13 talented, passioned educators in the Powerful Learning Practice Connected Learner Experience.
The group thrives and grows on the extraordinary synergy that emerges each time we meet together much like the collective swath of color from the garden. And coaches bring that synergy into the CLE community in their own unique ways much like the blossoms of each perennial in the garden. They become immersed in the ebb and flow of the community, much like the garden gives to the ends and beginnings of seasons. Can it be coincidence that with their pairings, their strengths and characteristics beautifully compliment the approach they bring to their coaching as do the groupings of perennials in the garden?
Anne and Amy, Amanda, Becky and Dave, Patti and Heidi, Gene and Pati, Mark and Lisa, Marsha and Debby -- bring warmth, enthusiasm, joy, and caring to their coaching in addition to a meaningful belief system and foundation of values that support them in the work they do with a very diverse group of learners. Their propensity for and understanding of strengths based, appreciative approaches; their tendency for mindfulness (paying attention in a particular way: on purpose, in the present moment, and nonjudgmentally); their commitment to understanding gained through listening and asking good questions related to practice; their perseverance toward deep thought by exploring ideas and concepts, rethinking, revising, and continual repacking and unpacking, resisting urges to finish prematurely; their courage and initiative to engage in discussions on difficult or messy topics; their willingness to leave one's comfort zone to experiment with new strategies; their commitment to deep reflection and growth over time; their inclination toward being open-minded, integritous, and professional; their dedication to the ongoing development of expertise; their ardor for a culture of collegiality- that "None of us is as good as all of us" and that the contributions of all can lead to improved coaching practice; and their comfort level with and thoughtfulness for the affordances of current technology for learning --collectively and individually create a brilliant splash of color and diversity that rivals and surpasses in so many ways my garden.
Gifted again and grateful beyond words for both.