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Etienne & Bev Wenger-Trayner - (11th November) | Coach Developers

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Posted in: CDC Extra

Etienne & Bev Wenger-Trayner - (11th November)

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  • ABradshaw

    This is my initial sketching out from the last section of this morning's conversation around identity when Bev posed the question - "are we doing identity work?"

    She then went on to describe the inter-relationship between Imagination, Alignment and Engagement when exploring identity. I've tried to capture some of what she described above - hastily and more reflection required but wanted to get this thread set up quickly to help capture others thoughts too.

  • ABradshaw

    It was a good chat box this morning - fortunately I remembered to copy (names taken out)

    This is one of the very few groups where the leader/facilitator has been brave enough to say 'there isn't a formal agenda today - let's have a conversation about what is meaningful to you at the moment'

    What was the initial reaction to that?

    My personal reaction was 'wow, that's bold!' as well as 'wow, that's great' - what did everyone else think?

    Removes any sense of ownership!

    My reaction was also, 'that's brave and great!' To really walk the talk of enabling meaningful interactions that are a genuine shared learning experience.

    Some of the best experiences I've had in coach development 'events' have been where we've just ripped the agenda up and thrown it to the room to take the conversation where they want to go.


    What advice do you have on managing/nourishing CoPs where there are naturally some leaders/people who know more than others, but we want it to be a collaboration? How do we maximise both the collaboration and the learning/leadership of the group?


    National Governing Bodies of sport have a huge 'power' over what coaches and Coach Developers consider to be 'legitimate' coach education or CPD. Yet if NGBs 'institutionalise' CoPs/Social Learning Spaces then they aren't going to have the value they otherwise might.  How many NGBs are willing to give leadership roles in CoPs to people who aren't employed by the NGB!

    Is that because there is an expectation on the part of the participants? therefore the question becomes 'how do we set the environment'

    Fundamentally... social learning spaces should be with people you expect to learn from, not with people who expect you to deliver!

    Levels matter here - leaders should be in a community of practice with other leaders!

    If there is a clear answer.... we don't need to be in a social learning space to pick it up!

    This seems to link well with what Nick Shackleton-Jones alluded to regarding how we learn. We learn through emotional meaning (not fact transfer) and connection to narratives and practice that are connected to their meaningful experiences.

    I think that's really powerful Bev because there is an inaccurate perception out there that CoPs are about everyone sharing their perspective and everyone then says 'oh lovely, thank you for your opinion' - and that’s as far as it goes...

    How do we challenge the extent to which we have been socialised and embodied into routines and habits that sees education as 'learning to practice' rather than 'learning from practice'?

    Is the issue here our deficit model? We look at what people can't do rather than taking a "glass half full" approach and seeing what people can bring to the space?

    For me, the whole point of social learning is to explore tacit and perceptual knowledge - if someone feels able to give "the answer"... we're obviously dealing, instead, with explicit / abstract knowledge!

    Bev Wenger-Trayner

    If you are interested in what I started talking about re “leadership groups” - here’s something we wrote a few years ago https://wenger-trayner.com/resources/leadership-groups-for-social-learning/

    But also to say, that unless you have someone who is paid to do some of the logistical work (organize the room, do the scheduling, coffees etc) it’s hard to get members to do it. It feels like a waste of their time.

    Are they other ways to support learning? Perhaps through simulations (like flight simulations) so that it is representative and embodied.

    Curiously... whilst mistakes in coaching can have consequences which might take some unpicking... it's based so much on everyday skills we can transfer from ordinary life that we genuinely can engage and learn as we go.

    The fun bit for coaching is surely the extent to which even the most experienced experts are just struggling and playing with stuff that we can't really document...

    Interesting observations. A thought from me: the longer we delay practice, the longer we risk people taking longer to find out that the practice isn't something they actually enjoy/are suited to.

    Stories was one of the important learnings too.

    Stories always convey more than we could ever articulate - a window into what we take for granted / our sense-making....

    stories and/or sense making narratives?

    Does these mean that we need to challenge the way we do research into coaching and coaching practice?

    If we say that the heart of coaching is relationships... uncertainty is always going to at the heart of practice!

    Uncertainty is a very difficult position for coaches - there are lots of other coaches who will impose their certainty if given half a chance!

    Uncertainty is a very difficult position for everyone ;-

    I also think this why we have a problem with diversity in coaching!

    If coaches need to feel 'certain' would that stop those coaches from engaging in continual learning?

    Uncertain coaches vs certain coaches map to Yoda vs the Sith Lords: we just need to get over the idea that being professional means having answers!

    Curious to know more about the comment on diversity. What are you thinking?

    Interesting thought, perhaps also the influence of those who like certainty/answers can make those who are willing to embrace uncertainty feel like they either don't belong, or aren't 'good enough'

    That was very much my experience, Don. What the coaches in my sport were certain about, did not reflect my lived experience.

    I've just been pondering how identity, biography, and values/philosophy relate to each other and since identity appears in the title of the 'Learning in Landscapes of Practice' book I wondered if there may be something to explore there.

    Often our view of coaching is certain on so many levels - down to the way we should present ourselves, the way we talk, how we should be educated, wearing the 'badge'...

    That is really interesting, Bev. The relationship between risk (uncertainty) and support.

    Could you say something about identity as alignment, imagination and engagement?

    Is a part of a community of practice's importance in enabling the participants to grow some resilience in accepting their own uncertainty when out in the bigger community where that could feel more challenged/challenging?

  • eaperryhotmailcouk5S7TIYLX

    Is there a recording of the webex?

  • ABradshaw

    Link to session recording - Bev & Etienne

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