“Its network is Facebook’s superpower;
its reputation is its kryptonite.”
Motley Fool analyst Aaron Bush recently spoke about the viability of a currency developed by Facebook. Their Libra cryptocurrency is in the news for its widespread adoption and subsequent widespread dismissal by notable companies and organizations in the domain of international finance.
Of Facebook, Bush said the following:
Its network is Facebook’s superpower; its reputation is its kryptonite.
What would you say is your superpower? Your kryptonite? What helps you amplify your existing strengths? What perpetually limits your potential?
I’d like to ask this of the teams that I lead. In some cases I lead teams of team leaders (insert Escher sketch). What would they say about the superpowers and kryptonites of their teams?
This is a quote that caught my ear some time ago from an episode of The West Wing Weekly podcast. The hosts were discussing with guest Richard Schiff the power of silence in dialogue (Schiff was careful not to call silence “pause” because the silence in dialogue is not the absence of something). So it is for the power of not responding during a coaching conversation.
At its root coaching is the act of prompting further exploration. Effective questioning is a wonderful tool for helping your client to go deeper. Asking your client to “say a little more about that” encourages talk of behavior that drills down into the belief that drives behavior, or to go deeper, to the way of being that has engendered a system of beliefs, which manifest themselves as behaviors.
So, as you approach those uncomfortable silences in your coaching conversations, remember that the silence, the spaces between the notes that your client shares with you, those too are part of the music.
PLCs work best when facilitators and members have a sense of ownership.
A PLC facilitator recently came to me with a request to open up the weekly schedule to more PLT time. While I’m happy to weigh in, my ideal response would be “What do you think?” Teachers are highly capable of independent thought, but we’re not terribly comfortable with it. School is a hierarchical place. Pecking order and dependence is carved into our curriculum, our schedule, our buildings, and our relationships. In the independent school domain we enjoy a great deal of freedom in our teaching practice, coaching responsibilities, and extracurricular sponsorship. But when it comes to our work outside of our classroom or our work with kids, we look to “the higher-ups”–sometimes for guidance, other times for permission.
I want our PLC facilitators to feel that they can make decisions and take action independently. If ever they make a decision that I disagree with, I have two options: live with it or help them roll back that decision.
Bottom line: The gains that teams make in feeling a sense of agency and ownership far outweigh the risks–what might be retained or avoided by cultivating an ethos of deference and hierarchy.