Tuesday, May 8, 2012

The Enjoyment of Consulting and Coaching

When I take tests or inventories, designed to identify individual strengths, a top strength always is that I am a “learner.” I do love learning new things, and perhaps as a result, I have very broad interests and (sometimes) a short attention span for the routine. My good fortune to work in academia allowed me to follow lots of different paths and to choose a “road less traveled,” when it suited me.

In that context, I feel especially blessed to pursue an encore career, as a consultant, coach, and speaker. Getting to meet people from around the country, and occasionally from other parts of the world, is terrific. I enjoy visiting new places and learning the unique history of various institutions. After more than 36 years of association with branch campuses and, more broadly, programs for adult learners, I’ve had remarkable experiences and opportunities to learn.

I suppose it is natural that a learner would enjoy sharing what he’s learned, and in the sense that I am still a teacher, the opportunity to consult and coach is satisfying. I am happy to share my thoughts, when asked, to critique current practices and future plans, and to provide examples of effective approaches to new challenges. However, as I’ve moved further into coaching and a strengths-based perspective, I’ve also found even greater pleasure in serving as a “thought partner” to individuals, as they consider opportunities and options.

I mention all of this for a couple of reasons. First, I’d be pleased to have more opportunities to coach, consult, or serve as a speaker for conferences and the like. It is fun, for me, and supports my desire to continue learning and sharing. Second, and more importantly, I want to encourage others to be excited about possibilities in their own lives.

We live in an extraordinary time. As a member of the Baby Boomer generation, it is exciting to think about the possibilities open to us, in the “second half of life.” For younger people, it is intriguing to consider options to work together, to create a future that is based more on abundance than on scarcity, and to reinvent what it means to work.

I was talking with an old friend and trying to explain why I am so pleased to be in the encore stage. I miss being part of a team, but on the whole, I feel as if I am back to being a professor, which was a great experience for me. My “learner” has come back to the fore, pulling along my strengths in areas like strategy and connectedness.

So, just a brief commercial: I am always interested in opportunities to work with individuals and with campuses, when they are looking to the future and considering possibilities. We can learn together and do some good.

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