Coaching Theory: Don’t put the cart before the horse

cart-before-the-horseCoaching is all about doing –having conversations, using tools, assessments, making plans, following up and evaluating performance.  It’s not about theory and models and research, right?  Unfortunately, this belief is all too common in coaching and has led many experts to question the validity of the coaching field.   When we put the cart before the horse, with the cart being practice and the horse being theory, we take a backwards approach to coaching practice and do a disservice to our clients and also our profession.

So let’s take a careful look at the horse, or the theory that drives coaching.  A great place to start is by reading Stober & Grant’s book Evidence Based Coaching.  Each chapter is devoted to the discussion of a different theory that drives coaching practice–from behaviorism to humanism to positive psychology–for a total of twelve theoretical discussions.

What’s my fav?  I am a big fan of positive psychology and feel that this relatively new theory lends itself to the practice of coaching.  In fact, I believe that coaching is the practical manifestation of this theoretical premise.  Here is a link to a Ted Talk by Martin Seligman, one of the founders of the movement. Remember, if you are viewing this in Blackboard, you’ll need to right click the link to open a new tab.

What are your thoughts about positive psychology and coaching?  What other theories do you think lend themselves to coaching practice?  Why have you selected them?

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Mid- Semester Program Notes

Spring 2015

What will you do during your week off between classes?  One suggestion is to register for summer and fall semesters.

As a reminder, taking summer classes allows you to finish your degree in one to two years plus you can use financial aid awarded for the academic year. Please contact financial aid for more information or refer to in RU Access (under “Tuition and Fees”) to view your availability.

View the full schedules here Registration codes were sent out last week so you should have received it by now, if not please contact Tara, We have many great classes being offered, here are a few descriptions…


TRDV 423 Team Building and Leadership: Examines issues surrounding team building in organizations with a focus on the design and development of teambuilding initiatives. Topics include processes critical to team performance including interpersonal and managerial communication, problem solving, and conflict resolution. Dynamics of leadership as they relate to team performance.

TRDV 450 Learning Technologies (pre-requisite for e-learning classes): Technological approaches applied to training delivery including classroom technology uses, electronic job aids, performance support systems, self- paced tutorials, instructional games and simulations, decision support and expert systems, mobile and wireless applications, asynchronous and synchronous delivery, and virtual reality


TRDV 445 Executive Coaching: Provides an overview of the principles and practices of executive coaching within organizational settings. Areas addressed include entering and contracting, assessment, coaching models, theoretical foundations, communication, feedback, and the ethics of coaching.

TRDV 439 E-Learning Course Authoring 1: Design, development, and evaluation of self-paced e-learning applications. Application of instructional strategies to storyboarding, course development, and evaluative approaches. Key human factors such as considerations for interface design and usability testing. Exploration and comparison of software tools for creating storyboards and critique of e-learning courseware. Creation and presentation of an Instructional Design Plan (IDP) and detailed storyboards for a self-paced e-learning prototype.

TRDV 453 E-Learning Course Authoring 2: Development and delivery of self-paced e-learning applications. Application of instructional strategies and programmatic interactions to course development. Considerations for rollout and administration, including both maintenance and recordkeeping. Exploration and comparison of software tools for creating e-learning courses. Creation and presentation of a self-paced e-learning prototype.

Save the date! On 3/24 from 7-8c the TRDV program will host the virtual event “Learning to Give: Professional Development and Social Justice”. Three panelist will discuss how volunteering has expanded their personal and professional experiences. We’ll have more details forthcoming including registration.



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Are MOOCs Doomed to Fail?

By Paulina Merino
MATD Graduate
Mathieu Plourde/wikipedia

Mathieu Plourde/wikipedia

Are Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) a revolution in higher education or will they forever be just a form of knowledge sharing? Are MOOCs even a “real” education? Their proponents speak about energy, enthusiasm and change happening in today’s education sector and call it “education innovation” (Boyers, 2013). At the same time, many educators believe it to be a form of commercial transaction — distributing information rather than teaching it, pointing to a lack of interaction and the little or no value of completion certificates (Gitanjali, 2013).

What is a MOOC?

As Koller (2012) describes them, MOOCs are massive, in that even thousands of students can be enrolled in the same class at once. They are offered online, which makes them accessible around the globe and affordable. Most importantly, they are teaching events — courses, usually two to several weeks long, with structured teaching, assignments and progression of instructions. They are also developed and taught by highly qualified educators, from top-tier universities, including Princeton, Stanford, Brown, Columbia and Duke. And, maybe most importantly, they are free. Consequently, MOOCs offer an incredible array of subjects to curious minds from anywhere and any budget.

MOOCs in the muck

What is wrong with MOOCs then? Why the dramatic title of this article? The most frequently repeated argument against MOOCs is that they provide limited opportunity for interaction between the professor and the student. A student can move through an entire course with little-to-no direct communication with the professor and receive feedback only from their peers (Boyers, 2013). Stacey (2013) furthers this argument, citing an example of K-12 teachers and their contract agreements about limited class sizes. How can someone effectively teach thousands of students simultaneously?

Evolution in education

Some twenty years ago, online teaching was considered vastly inferior to the classroom-based instruction. The credentials offered via online courses were questioned and only brick-and-mortar schools were considered “real” universities. Are we now facing similar phenomenon? Are traditionalists blocking social media’s evolution as a teaching tool because it questions the values on which they built their careers? Many disparage MOOCs dramatic dropout rate. Gijtani (2013) cites a completion rate of 10 percent or less as proof of MOOCs’ ineffectiveness, noting that those who try them lose interest even before the course is over. However, Haber’s 2013 review of completion/dropout data showed a 48 percent completion rate for students who watched at least one video and completed one assignment in a course. Similarly, some are critical of MOOCs’ limited interactivity while others contend interactivity can be achieved through creative use of technology (Koller, 2013).

They have a place

The ever-growing costs of higher education paired with high unemployment among college graduates may simply force young people to look for non-standard ways of learning. Like many others, I think MOOCs offer real benefits to knowledge-thirsty minds across the globe and that they will only gain in popularity. In 1943, IBM Chairman Thomas Watson said, “I think there is a world market for maybe five computers.” Sometimes what we know is just not enough to accurately predict the future.

What do you think?

Have you ever taken a MOOC? What was the subject, and do you feel it was as effective as other types of courses you’ve taken? Have you ever taught a MOOC? Were students engaged? Were you overwhelmed by the class size?

Koller, D. (2012, August 1). What we’re learning from online education Retrieved from
Boyers, J. M. (September 2013). Online Done Right: The importance of human interaction for student success. eLearn Magazine. Retrieved from
Haber, Jonathan (25 November 2013). MOOC Attition Rates – Running the Numbers, in College. in HuffPost (December 14, 2014). Retrieved from
Stacey, Paul (May 2013). The Pedagogy of MOCCs. [Blog post]. Retrieved from
Gitanjali, M. (December 2013). MOOC (Massive Open Online Courses) Redefining Learning. [Online Portal]. Retrieved from
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“Don’t Clap, Throw Money”: Misadventures in Employee Engagement

Is your glass half empty or half full?

Vince Cyboran is a professor in the graduate program in Training and Development of Roosevelt University.

Vince Cyboran is a professor in the graduate program in Training and Development of Roosevelt University.

Having been asked this seemingly innocuous — but heavily coded — question several times over the years at employee workshops, I’ve developed a standard response: “You have a glass?” This generally stops the conversation.

At one organization in which upper management realized that low-employee morale was rampant (after three years without staff raises, hefty annual increases in health insurance contributions, etc.), an outside consultant was brought in to conduct a mandatory, full-day workshop. After a rather long self-introduction, he proceeded to walk around the room, pointing directly at random people, and pointedly asking: “What could you being do better?” We then formed small groups to make lists of ways in which each of us—through personal improvement (that means, at no cost to the organization)—could better contribute to the bottom-line of the organization. I left midway through the list-making process, returning my free copy of the book authored by the consultant on the way out, and mumbling that I was coming down with something. Luckily, there is always “something going around.”

Before engaging expensive outside consultants, sending out another employee survey, or painting the walls in motivational tones, it’s a good idea to take an inexpensive but enlightening look at what’s happening inside of your organization, albeit at a high level. One way to do this is to examine your environment through the lens provided by Frederick Herzberg.

Based on his workplace research, Herzberg introduced the Hygiene-Motivation—or Two-Factor–Model of Workplace Motivation in his 1959 book The Motivation to Work. Herzberg identified two sets of factors that could lead either to dissatisfaction or to satisfaction at work. The following table contains lists of the two sets.

Lead to dissatisfaction
when removed
Lead to satisfaction
when added
Organization policies·SupervisionInterpersonal relationships with boss/supervisor and with colleagues

Work conditions


Achievement·RecognitionWork itself




Figure based upon that of NetMBA:  Business Knowledge Center.

Hygiene factors don’t motivate employees.  For example, employees don’t generally accept jobs based on the variety of coffees offered in the break rooms or the cleanliness of the restrooms.  However, hygiene factors must be viewed as at least acceptable by employees, or dissatisfaction will set in. Keeping both sets of lists in mind and adjusting items as necessary is required to create a healthy workplace in which employees can thrive. The goal is to achieve both high hygiene and high satisfaction.

To increase employee motivation, Herzberg recommends techniques such as job enrichment and job rotation. Both of these techniques touch upon multiple motivational factors.

Because the model was introduced so long ago, much of what Herzberg discovered is now taken for granted. Most of us have heard formally or informally that salary doesn’t truly motivate employees. Unfortunately, it is the detailed distinction of dissatisfiers vs. satisfiers that has often been forgotten in favor of newer models. Much like the ADDIE instructional design model, the Two-Factor Model itself does not—for some critics–provide enough detailed guidance on how to achieve the proper balance of factors in the workplace. That’s what the newer models are for.

What workplace experiences have you had that address either ‘hygiene’ or ‘motivation’ factors? Were the initiatives successful?

Brenner, V. C., Carmack, C. W. & M. Weinsten (1971). An Empirical Test of the Motivation-Hygiene Theory. Journal of Accounting Research 9(2): 359-366.
Herzberg, F., Mausner, B., & Snyderman, B. (1959). The Motivation to Work (2nd ed.). New York: John Wiley.
Herzberg, F. (January–February 1968). “One More Time: How Do You Motivate Employees?”. Harvard Business Review 46 (1): pp. 53–62.
Schultz, D. & Schultz, S. E (2010). Psychology and Work Today: An Introduction to Industrial and Organizational Psychology (10th ed.). New York City: Prentice Hall. pp. 38–39.
Posted in Careers, Human Performance Improvement, Organizational Development | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 17 Comments

Use Storytelling to Increase Your Participants’ Retention Ratios

By Guest Author Diana DiMeo,  2014  Graduate, M.A. Training & Development

By Guest Author Diana DiMeo,
2014 Graduate, M.A. Training & Development

When was the last time you remembered exactly where the numerical tables were located in your textbook? If you are like me, you may struggle to recall previously learned data. That’s because our brains do not easily recall data–especially in terms of the constant onslaught of information we’re bombarded with. Yet, if I asked you to recall the gripping story of the talented trainer who taught trapped victims of the Oklahoma bombing how to escape before the next bomb hit, you would likely remember many details. That’s because learners remember stories more than factual data. This is good news for learning professionals because adding stories to our training sessions is an easy way to increase our participants’ retention rates.

A good engaging story makes training sessions exciting. Stories grab participants’ attention quickly. However, the entertainment value of a story is less important than managing learners’ working memories. Stories give participants’ brains an opportunity to attach new information to their prior knowledge; and this attachment facilitates long-term memory storage. In his book, “The Art of Changing the Brain,” Zull (2002) indicated that learning is deeper and more effective when we engage all parts of the brain. Stories are a useful vehicle for brain-based learning.

How can we best use stories in learning environments? Every story should begin with a common point of reference so participants can relate it to their prior knowledge. To tell a good story is to make it memorable and easily accessible for recall. Tension must mount as the story is told or it should contain an emotional component. Think of building a crescendo to the climax of your story or adding an emotional personal hook. Relevant stories about incidents that actually happened to you are a great place to start. Ellis (2014) states, “experiments show that character-driven stories with emotional content result in a better understanding of the key points a trainer or facilitator is trying to make and enable better recall of these points weeks later. In other words, effective storytelling can lead to a higher transfer of learning and changes in behavior and performance.” So the next time you need to ensure retention and job transfer of your training material make sure you tell a good story.

Questions: Do you use stories when you are conducting instructor lead training or designing courses? What are some examples of the effective stories you have used or heard in learning settings? How can you add an emotional hook to your stories to make them more memorable?

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Linking Leadership Education in Higher Education to TRDV and HPI: A Conversation that Introduces Theory and Raises Practical Questions

Hello Roosevelt’s TRDV/HPI(T) students and alums.

Daniel Collier is a graduate of Roosevelt University’s Human Performance Improvement program. He is currently working as a Research and Teaching Assistant for the University of Illinois’ College of Agriculture, Consumer and Environmental Sciences within the Agriculture Education Program.   Daniel conducts research that explores students’ beliefs on leadership and investigates outcomes associated to leadership education experiences. Daniel also helps facilitate leadership education courses and workshops at UIUC

Daniel Collier is a graduate of Roosevelt University’s Human Performance Improvement program. He is currently working as a Research and Teaching Assistant for the University of Illinois’ College of Agriculture, Consumer and Environmental Sciences within the Agriculture Education Program. Daniel conducts research that explores students’ beliefs on leadership and investigates outcomes associated to leadership education experiences. Daniel also helps facilitate leadership education courses and workshops at UIUC

Today, I write to you about Leadership, a topic that is rather messy and often misunderstood. Specifically, I am writing this blog post from a leadership education in higher education perspective. Leadership education is a field that is expanding and gaining in influence across higher education (inside the US and beyond). In fact, leadership education is becoming so popular that there are now entire leadership centers, leadership minors, graduate degrees, and leadership education journals. The field has also experienced growth within higher education national conferences (AERA and ASHE) and has carved space in prominent human resources and business oriented associations, such as the International Leadership Association and journals like the Journal of Leadership and Organizational Studies. In short, leadership education in higher education is expected to continue to expand.

Now, you may be asking yourself, “How is this important to me in my TRDV or HPI positions?” I propose that TRDV and HPI professionals are the individuals who should most clearly understand the general frameworks, concepts and skills that dominate leadership education, because we are generally the professionals who introduce new college graduates to our respective organizations, coach team leaders, work on projects aimed at retaining quality human capital and assist in identifying high performing individuals. Additionally, by introducing the TRDV/HPI concepts to leadership education scholars and practitioners can bridge gaps and come to understand how these concepts transfer into post-college professional experiences. Plainly speaking, I believe there is opportunity there for you to develop a niche skill-set in higher education leadership.

The Myth of the Born Leader

Recently, Astin & Astin indicated that in order to evolve with contemporary challenges, higher education must move people from beliefs that leaders are born great people who have authority and title via position toward a belief system where leadership is a values-based, relationship focused and centered on change; not defined only through position (be it birth or title). The leadership paradigms were developed by Rost where hierarchically, title based leadership is identified as industrial, and the relationship based paradigm as post-industrial. In response, contemporary leadership education programs in higher education overwhelmingly operate within post-industrial frameworks.

Within the post-industrial model, leaders are expected to adapt to group needs, encourage contribution through team processes, and develop environments of shared responsibility. Essentially, post-industrial leadership conceptualizations are designed to break down myths that only special people lead and that the agenda set forth by “leaders” is the only agenda that matters. In order to transition students from preconceived and socio-culturally reinforced industrial leadership beliefs toward internalization of post-industrial beliefs, leadership educators must help students acquire soft-skills associated to team-based processes, these skills include but are not limited to: (1) critical thinking and problem solving, (2) development of interpersonal communication, and (3) the ability to influence others to work toward a common goal. Many of these skills are highly desired by employers in their new college hires.

Even though the post-industrial paradigm is dominant in higher education leadership education programs, outcomes of leadership education are mixed. Moving students to a post-industrial leadership belief system is difficult due to pre-existing industrial beliefs, socio-cultural reinforcement of industrial leadership and the self-belief many students hold that they are born to lead. This struggle had led leadership educators to question methods and has been influential in developing the Leadership Identity Development Model [LID]. LID gives leadership educators a framework to gauge how students may move from industrial leadership identities to a predominantly post-industrial leadership identity. Within LID there is one rather important process that leadership educators are placing increasing focus on, The Key Transition. Within this potential purgatory, students are adopting post-industrial conceptualizations as they also hold industrial beliefs, thus resulting in internal struggles and contradictions as students “play” with new leadership identities.

The Key Transition is important for TRDV/HPI professionals to understand because without proper mentorship, support and experience, students may never emerge from this process and by the time they seek employment, they may still be “playing” with their identities. I believe that many students are often stuck within this transition as they are hired for their first professional positions and that the contradictions students hold regarding leadership beliefs could explain why Millennials seek other professional opportunities so quickly after gaining employment. Employees may now believe they should be part of a flatter structure, allowing for their immediate inclusion of their ideas and access to employees with organizational power; however, these students may also believe they are unique leaders who should control agendas and assume the benefits of hierarchically based power, which sometimes leads to unethical behavior. As new employees may be stuck within this zone, TRDV/HPI professionals have the potential to develop processes to ensure new employees appropriately navigate their internal dissonance and internalize post-industrial leadership concepts.

Mentoring and Self-reflection

Arguably, the way to emerge from The Key Transition is through mentoring processes that encourage self-reflection. Organizations must develop mentorship programs that explicitly cultivate the beliefs and skills associated with the post-industrial model. Integrated within mentorship programs should be opportunities that encourage new employees to: (1) critically examine what effective leadership entails, (2) reflect on how new employees should act in their current and aspired future roles when making complex leadership decisions, and (3) critically examine recent self-action. Through this type of mentoring, I believe that new employees could more easily emerge from the transition, resulting in the type of employee organizations claim to want.

As I wrap up, I encourage you to click on some of the hyperlinks provided. Please, explore what is happening on campuses from a leadership education perspective and take a deeper look at the models provided. After you have more deeply explored, I would encourage you to again ask yourself, “How is this important to me in my TRDV or HPI positions?”

Finally, I believe that while leadership education in higher education develops the beliefs and skills claimed to be desirable, I also believe that leadership educators are unsure whether these beliefs and skills actually help or hinder organizations from the TRDV/ HPI perspectives. As someone who straddles both worlds, this is a notion that I consistently consider. However, there is not much published research on whether leadership education in higher education develops quality organizational talent and if it does, where this occurs in the career phase. Since leadership education within higher education is not expected to retract, this is a question that may affect your future ability to hire and promote the right talent. With that, I would encourage you to participate and seek answers to these questions.

If you would like to further converse, please contact me. I wish you all an excellent 2015 and great luck recruiting, training and retaining your new employees.

Daniel A. Collier, MAHPI
PhD Student, Education Organization and Leadership
The University of Illinois – Urbana Champaign

Posted in academic studies, andragogy, Careers, Coaching, Guest Student Post, Human Performance Improvement, Learning Theory, Mentoring, Training | Tagged , , , , , | 3 Comments

8 Ways to Accelerate Trust in the Online Classroom

Guest Author Jenn Patrick is a 2014 Graduate of the of the Master of Arts in Training & Development Program.

Guest Author Jenn Patrick is a 2014 Graduate of the of the Master of Arts in Training & Development Program.

By Guest Author: Jenn Patrick

Recently, an interviewer asked how I build trust within my workgroup. While answering, I had one of those realizations that tend to surface at the apex of interview mania, copious research and over caffeination: I need to create trust with my students! But how do you develop trust in the often accelerated and asynchronous classroom?

With workplace trust being a popular ongoing issue, I suspected I was not the first person to ask about instructor trust in the online environment. I was correct; many researchers have written articles in the last several years regarding trust in the virtual world.

But I wanted some simple and practical behaviors that would cultivate a relationship of trust when time is short. With some online courses lasting as few as 5 weeks, trust creation must be much swifter than the old adage, “trust takes time.” And so I turned to Stephen M. Covey’s work The Speed of Trust to use as a springboard.

Swift Trust in Online Learning

Below are some suggested strategies any instructor can use to quickly build trust in the online classroom. They, in themselves, are not revelatory. Some are techniques you may already use because they are just good pedagogical practice; some are from the research; some are just extrapolations from what I read. I do, however, think they all contribute to building an environment of trust in the short time you have with your students.

  1. Keep Your Commitments – Do what you say you are going to do and within the time frame that you specify. This is usually one of the quickest ways to build trust. In fact, Sheridan and Kelly (2010) identified that keeping commitments was one of the top ten most important teacher behaviors according to online students. So that means that you really do need to check your email as often as you indicate in your syllabus!
  2. Clarify Expectations – Provide as much detail as possible so students can manage their time accordingly. Sheridan and Kelly (2010) found that half of the most important indicators of instructor presence were related to clarity of course requirements. Be specific about your expectations so they can meet them. Include rubrics and exemplars whenever possible so they can see exactly how to achieve success. Open all of the modules at the beginning of the course so they can look or work ahead. Document page numbers, not just chapters, so they can easily plan how much time they will need to read.
  3. Communicate Early, Frequently, Enthusiastically and Qualitatively – Be the first person to post in the forum and follow up regularly. Be positive and excited about the students and the topics. Present substantive responses and detailed experiences to engage students and confirm your dedication. Be the communication role model. Much of the research suggests that trust in virtual teams depends on the frequency and quality of communication (Clark, Clark, & Crossley, 2010; Jarvenpaa & Leidner, 1999).
  4. Share Personal Stories and Experiences – Discuss your hobbies, activities, and your work background. Jarvenpaa and Leidner found that building this rapport in the beginning “appeared to foster trust” (1999). Aragon suggests that sharing your work history helps to build credibility and legitimacy, as well as letting students know that you have traveled the path they may want to pursue (2003).
  5. Provide Honest and Timely Feedback – Be honest in your assessment of the student’s performance. It takes more effort to provide constructive feedback than to award all of the points just for submission. And it takes diligence to grade the work immediately after the due date. But nothing erodes student trust faster than when they feel you aren’t putting in the same effort and care that they are.  Students prefer timely feedback so they know how to improve their next assignment before it’s due (Sheridan & Kelly, 2010).
  6. Be Diligent – Make your very best effort to do things correctly the first time. Proofread your communications. Verify the integrity of the documents that you post. Double check the students’ work and ensure you are correctly assigning points to the right students. Try to minimize the number of errors that students see. Note that I said minimize, because errors are inevitable.
  7. Right Wrongs – Admit when you are wrong and resolve it. Don’t let your ego get in the way and don’t spend time justifying why it happened. If it is a situation where you can make restitution in some way, do that as well. For example, if you accidentally provide an incomplete article for the students, give them extra time to read it once you remedy the problem.
  8. Demonstrate Respect and Show Loyalty – Speak of both individuals and groups respectfully and loyally. Don’t talk negatively with students about other instructors. Don’t speak negatively with one student about another. If one student presents a concern about another, acknowledge the concern and let them know it will be addressed, but don’t discuss it beyond the facts. Give credit where it is due by acknowledging the contributions others make.

Obviously this is not an exhaustive list, but it does include some important highlights.

What other ways can we help build trust with our students in our online classrooms?


Aragon, S. (November 03, 2003). Creating Social Presence in Online Environments. New Directions for Adult and Continuing Education, 2003, 100, 57-68.

Clark, W. R., Clark, L. A., & Crossley, K. (2010). Developing multidimensional trust without touch in virtual teams. Marketing Management Journal, 20(1), 177-193.

Covey, S. M. (2006). The speed of trust: The one thing that changes everything. New York: Simon and Schuster.

Jarvenpaa, S. L., & Leidner, D. E. (December 01, 1999). Communication and Trust in Global Virtual Teams. Organization Science, 10, 6, 791-815.

Sheridan, K., & Kelly, M. A. (2010). The indicators of instructor presence that are important to students in online courses. MERLOT Journal of Online Learning and Teaching, 6(4), 767-779.


Posted in assumptions, Coaching, E-Learning, Guest Student Post, Learning at Roosevelt, Learning Theory, Mentoring, online learning, Technology, Training, virtual classroom | Tagged , , , , , , , | 14 Comments