Although I remain committed to the development of branch campuses, for the past two years I also worked steadily to design an “encore career” for myself. In that time, I’ve worked as a consultant, become a certified professional coach, accepted several opportunities to facilitate planning meetings, and established a second blog, “Creating the Future,” at www.drcharlesbird.com/creatingthefuture. I’ve expanded my consulting role to include distance learning strategies, under the broader umbrella of programs for adult learners.
Now, I am pleased to share that I created a company, Encore Dreams, LLC. You can see more information on the company and its services at www.encoredreams.com. That site is a single page, but it also links to my personal web site, www.drcharlesbird.com, and to “Creating the Future.”
Through Encore Dreams, I offer transition coaching to individuals, as well as a Life Transitions Workshop. Both provide support to people as they study and reflect on the talents and experiences that contribute to their sense of well being, and then use that information to discover their personal dreams for the “second stage of life.”
My work as a coach is compatible with my interest in supporting branch campus leaders. Transition coaching, specifically, is of value for individuals as they begin a new position. It has value for experienced administrators who would like to move up, either at their present institution or elsewhere, and it certainly can be of value for administrators who are approaching retirement and considering options for the future.
Creating Encore Dreams, LLC, doesn’t end my work as a consultant and executive coach, but I do hope it helps me make a point about everyone’s potential to design life solutions that are strengths-focused and action-oriented. I will continue to work with branch campuses, but also to provide support to a broader audience, as well.
I want to emphasize that the relationship between a coach and client is important, so this is not meant to be a commercial just for my work. I benefited from coaching, as I approached my own transition, and there are many qualified coaches out there. A lot of coaching is done over the telephone, so distance from someone with whom you’d like to work should not be a barrier.
Finally, I want to mention that the concept behind Encore Dreams is relevant to the fact that many colleges and universities recognize the importance of attracting much higher enrollment from adult learners. I’m perplexed by the difficulty institutions have in understanding this audience and developing effective strategies for recruitment and retention. When I look at web sites, only a handful of institutions have created targeted programs that actually are distinctive and focused on what adults want and need.
I already consult on the development of branch campuses and programs for adult learners, but consistent with the Encore Dreams idea, I hope to connect with leaders who understand that a program targeting people in transition—whether to an encore career or not—can set their institution apart and provide a competitive advantage.
(If you are interested in seeing examples of college programs that directly serve people seeking encore careers, check out www.encore.org/colleges. It is a site maintained by Civic Ventures, providing a wealth of good information.)
If Encore Dreams, LLC can be of service to you or to your organization, please get in touch, either through firstname.lastname@example.org, or directly, by writing to me at Charlie@drcharlesbird.com or at email@example.com.