Coaching Tools Process Skills Development



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Building Disaster-Resilient Places

Coaching Tools

Process Skills Development
By Rachel Welborn

Southern Rural Development Center

Mississippi State University
Shelley Murdock

Division of Cooperative Extension

University of California

This facilitator’s guide outlines the content, activities, and handouts that should be used to teach this section. Refer to this document for detailed guidance on how to deliver ReadyCommunity Pre-Training.



Process Skills Development
Overview:

Community development work can be tough! Even veteran educators will encounter, and probably struggle with, destructive walls of opinions, positions, and political turf. The goal of these activities is to provide educators with skills and tools for preventing and/or intervening in sticky situations.


Objectives:

  • Acquire a toolkit of resources, strategies, and processes to build support and teamwork among community members.

  • Understand the basic elements of conducting effective meetings.

  • Acquire strategies for problem-solving and managing challenging situations.

Time:


Three (3) hours to complete the Pre-Training Process Skills Development

Group Exercise Summary
The following activities are included:


  1. Icebreaker: “Characteristics of an Effective Community Educator” – A fun, interactive start to the process skills section. It also provides a “raggedy start” to the training thus minimizing disruptions from any latecomers.

  2. Jigsaw: “Five Components of Effective Meetings” – Participants, working in teams, will each read about a component of effective meetings and then teach their team members the concept. It is an effective way to include every participant in his or her own learning.

  3. Quick teach: “Measuring Meeting Success” – A quick summary of how group leaders can measure meeting success.

  4. Group decision-making: “Exploring the Decision-Making Continuum” – Working together as a whole, participants will learn about “groupthink” and other extremes that could sabotage group decision-making and then discover ways to prevent these extremes.

  5. Role play: “Six Thinking Hats” – A quick activity to illustrate how people think differently and how it may affect group work. Participants will role-play thinking styles other than their own which is both enlightening and fun.

  6. Quick Teach & Quick Pick: “What Works Best” – Following a quick teach on six options for decision-making, participants will choose the option(s) they think will best fit the situation. The group will then discuss their picks.

  7. From Conflict to Consensus: “Moving from Conflict to Consensus?” – Using role play, the group will learn key strategies to avoid unproductive conflict.

  8. Scenarios: “What Would You Do” – Working in small groups, participants will read a scenario and determine the best course of action to address the issue described. The group will then debrief.


Activity: Icebreaker
Characteristics of an Effective Community Educator”
Advance Preparation: Write directions on large piece of flip chart paper or a Power Point slide
Supplies Needed: Index cards, pens/pencils, flip chart paper, and markers
Total time:
15 minutes


Process Steps:

Supplies/ Materials

Ref. to CPG 101

Estimated Time

Step 1: Post icebreaker directions. As participants arrive, greet them, give them an index card, and ask them to write down three characteristics of an effective community educator. Let them know there are no right or wrong answers.


Index cards

Pens/pencils






5 min

Step 2: Instruct participants to introduce themselves to one another and compare their cards. Can they find another person with the same three characteristics? How about two characteristics?








5 min

Step 3: Ask participants to return to seats. Thank them for their hard work and welcome them to the training.

Debrief Activity: Ask if anyone found another participant with the same three characteristics? Same two? Ask them to share some of the characteristics they think are most important. Record these on flip chart paper and keep during training.




Flip chart

Markers






5 min

Activity: Jigsaw
Five Components of Effective Meetings”
Advance Preparation: Copy Jigsaw Handouts 1-5 on five different colors of paper. Collate them into sets.
Supplies Needed: Handouts; activity directions on flip chart paper or Power Point slide
Support Documents: Jigsaw Teach Order
Resources: Brenner, J. & Manton, L. (2004). Getting your team to the summit. University of California Cooperative Extension. Davis, CA.
References: Doyle, M. & Strauss, D. (1976). Making meetings work. Jove, New York.
Total time: 30 minutes


Process Steps:

Supplies/ Materials

Ref. to CPG 101

Estimated Time

Step 1: Introduce topic. Tell them why effective meetings are so critical to the success of this project. Note that 90% of the problems with meetings are process, not content, issues. Provide overview of activity.








2 min.

Step 2: Group participants into “home teams” of five. (Note: a fun way to group them is to have them line up in birthday – month & day - order without talking. Then walk down their line, grouping them into teams of five.) Give each team a set of Handouts 1-5. Each person selects one of the handouts. Ask them to remember who the others are on their home team.


Handouts – Collated set of jigsaw handouts




2 min.

Step 3: Ask participants to form study teams. Study teams are comprised of all those participants with the same handout (e.g. all those with Handout 3 are a study team, etc.). Instruct study team members to silently read their handout. Then instruct them to discuss it and decide what they should teach to their home team members.







10 min.

Step 4: Reform home teams. Each member then teaches the material to his or her other home team members. The material should be taught in sequential order, beginning with Handout 1. Ask them to limit their individual teaching to two minutes each (note: if desired, you can time each presentation and keep the group moving).








12 min.

Step 5: Debrief the activity: thank them for their hard work; ask if there are questions; provide extra copies of all handouts so each participant will have a set.

Extra handouts




4 min.

Activity: Quick Teach
Measuring Meeting Success”
Advance Preparation: Make wall chart or Power Point slide of Measuring Meeting Success
Supplies Needed: (optional handout: Measuring Meeting Success)
References: Doyle, M. & Strauss, D. (1976). Making meetings work. Jove, New York.
Total time: 10 minutes


Process Steps:

Supplies/ Materials

Ref. to CPG 101

Estimated Time

Step 1: Explain to participants that the success of a meeting depends on three elements: 1) results, 2) relationships, and 3) process. Review the wall chart or Power Point slide, Measuring Meeting Success. Ask the participants if they have ever attended a meeting where one of the three elements was missing. How did it affect the group’s work? How did it affect the overall meeting success? What needed to happen at future meetings?


Optional: Handout – Measuring Meeting Success




10 min.

Activity: Group Decision-Making
Exploring the Decision-Making Continuum”

Advance Preparation: Post two signs (“strongly agree” and “strongly disagree”) on opposite sides of the room, allowing space between for all participants to stand on an imaginary continuum line between the two signs. Place a flip chart and markers near each sign.


Supplies Needed: Two signs (“strongly agree” and “strongly disagree”), flip charts, markers
Total time: 45 minutes


Process Steps:

Supplies/ Materials

Ref. to CPG 101

Estimated Time

Step 1: Explain to participants that you will explore together the continuum of decision-making in groups. Invite them all to stand somewhere between the two signs you have posted. Tell them that you will be reading a series of statements for them to consider. After each statement, have them stand along the continuum (agree/disagree) that best describes how they feel about the statement.








5 min.

Step 2: Read the following statements. Give people time to select a place along the continuum after each statement. Allow two or three people to explain why they chose their place following each statement before moving to the next statement.

  • Conflict is a natural condition of being alive.

  • Conflict is negative and should be avoided at all costs.

  • Conflict can make a situation or relationship better.

  • Busy groups often experience conflict.




Two signs





15 min.

Step 3: Based on where the group is standing on the last statement, divide the group in half, moving those closest to “strongly agree” to the flip chart on that end and those closest to “strongly disagree” to the flip chart on that end. Briefly discuss the two extremes that may happen in groups:

  1. Everyone voices agreement all the time

  2. Major disagreements surface every time a decision is to be made

Have each group brainstorm on the chart the pros and cons of each situation. How does this help the group? How does it hurt the group? Allow a few minutes for brainstorming, and then have each group report back. Debrief: Either situation is possible as we begin our work in communities. We will spend the next few minutes exploring some tools to help prevent either extreme from sabotaging the process.


Flip charts

Markers





15 min.

Step 4: As people settle into their seats, show the video clip from Candid Camera. Discuss: Why do you think this happened? (Allow for responses.) A concept called “groupthink” describes a situation in which competent, capable group members end up making poor decisions because of flawed group processes and strong conformity pressures.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fQI8pZJiMe0







5 min.

Step 5: Preventing Groupthink. A number of tools can be used to help guard against “groupthink.” One is to simply provide space for the “Devil’s advocate.” Ask:

  • Who might disagree with this approach/decision? Why might they disagree?

  • What are some potential challenges to this approach/decision?

Another technique is to allow for responses that are anonymous. One example is to ask participants to respond to a question by writing their answers on sticky notes. Gather the ideas from the participants, and then ask the group to sort the ideas and generate a list of possibilities to be discussed/considered. [The facilitator can actually demonstrate this method by posing a simple question to the group (i.e. What are some possible ways to help the community be better prepared for emergencies?)]



Sticky notes




10 min.

Activity: Role Play
Six Thinking Hats”
Advance Preparation: Copy the handout, Six Thinking Hats Summary.
Supplies Needed: Six hats in the following colors: black, white, red, blue, green, and yellow
References: de Bono, E. (1999). Six Thinking Hats. Little, Brown & Company. New York.
Total time: 15 minutes


Process Steps:

Supplies/ Materials

Ref. to CPG 101

Estimated Time

Step 1: Explain that people think differently. People tend to get stuck in familiar ways of seeing issues and comfortable ways of interpreting data. These differences affect a group’s ability to make decisions and effectively work together. Let participants know that we can take these differences and utilize them to strengthen the team as a whole. Educators can help groups get “unstuck” by inviting team members to put on different hats and brainstorm together.








2 min.

Step 2: Enlist six volunteers (hat people) to portray the hats. Provide all participants with a Six Thinking Hats Summary. Ask the six hat people to choose a hat that is NOT like them (or distribute hats randomly). Enlist those not wearing a hat as observers.


Handout – Six Thinking Hats Summary




2 min.

Step 3: Ask the hat people to brainstorm ideas (1-2 per hat) for involving the entire community in disaster planning, going in the color order on the summary. Ask those not wearing a hat to observe. If time allows, have hat people switch hats and brainstorm more.








7 min.

Step 4: Debrief. Ask observers: What did you see, hear, and notice? Ask hat people: Were some roles easier or harder to play? Was your hat a fit? Ask everyone: Can you see how another hat might be hard to understand or appreciate? Do you see the advantage of having diverse perspectives when making decisions?








4 min.

Activity: Quick Teach & Quick Pick
What Works Best”
Advance Preparation: Copy handouts, Decision-Making Methods and Decision-Making Quick Picks
Supplies Needed: Handouts; pens/pencils
Total time: 20 minutes


Process Steps:

Supplies/ Materials

Ref. to CPG 101

Estimated Time

Step 1: Discuss the importance of having an intentional decision-making process in your community work. Distribute handout, Decision-Making Methods. Review handout content. Discuss options presented.

Handout – Decision-Making Methods, pens/pencils





5 min.

Step 2: Distribute the handout, Decision-Making Quick Picks. Ask each person to jot down his or her picks for the situations provided on the handout.

Handout –Decision-Making Quick Picks





5 min.

Step 3: Review the handout and discuss the options chosen. Solicit input from all participants.





5 min.

Activity: From Conflict to Consensus
Moving from Conflict to Consensus”

Advance Preparation: Prepare consensus cards (one set per person), make copies of the script (if using), make copies of the scenario to be considered.


Supplies Needed: consensus cards, flip chart, markers, role play scripts
Total time: 45 min.


Process Steps:

Supplies/ Materials

Ref. to CPG 101

Estimated Time

Step 1: The other extreme of group decision-making is unproductive conflict, in which groups get bogged down with their differences and seem unable to move forward. A number of tools are helpful in getting groups “unstuck.” During this session, we will explore two key strategies for helping groups get unstuck.








  1. min.

Step 2: Introduce the concepts “position” and “interest.”

  • A position is a pre-determined solution. “We should …”

  • An interest expresses the needs, beliefs, and values underneath positions. Interests describe why something is important.

Let’s look at a simple example. (Use the script “Where do we go for lunch?”) Have people determine positions and interests in the scenario. Use a flip chart to record responses.


Role play scripts, flip charts, markers




15 min.

Step 3: Moving toward consensus. Once interests have been established, check to ensure everyone is in agreement. “As long as we can make a decision that meets each of these interests, would everyone be ok?”

If not, add any other interests that surface until there is agreement with the list.

Brainstorm options (can use sticky notes here).

Ask for a volunteer to pose a solution statement based on the options.

Use consensus cards to gauge agreement.

You are looking to have at least “3s” for everyone. Ask the person(s) with the highest number (greatest disagreement) above a 3 to tell the group about their concerns. Listen for additional interests that may not have previously surfaced. Add/modify the interests list accordingly.

Once the concern is voiced, ask that person to pose an alternative solution that would solve the concern while still remaining within the interests already identified.

Recheck group agreement with cards.

Continue the process until all responses are at least 3. NOTE: Do not tell the group what number you are seeking because this may lend to “groupthink” in that people just give you the number they think you want.


Consensus cards

Sticky notes (optional)

Flip chart

Markers





20 min.

Step 4: Debrief – Discuss the following questions with the group:

  • Do you think your community planning team will lean more towards “groupthink” or “conflict”? Why?

  • What do you see as strengths from the tools practiced today?

  • What other tools/ideas do you have for guiding groups to effective decision-making?










5 min.


Activity: Scenarios
What Would You Do?”

Advance Preparation: Copy scenarios onto card stock. Cut into scenarios.


Supplies Needed: Scenario cards; timer; flip chart paper/pens
Total time: Approximately 25 minutes. Note: total time depends on the number of participants.


Process Steps:

Supplies/ Materials

Ref. to CPG 101

Estimated Time

Step 1: Explain that many situations will arise as they work with community members and that it helps to think in advance what they might do in challenging situations. Divide participants into teams of 3-4. (Note: use a fun method such as asking them to find three other participants with shoes most like theirs). Give each team a scenario. Ask teams to read the scenario and brainstorm strategies


Scenario on cards




5 min.

Step 2: Allow each team three minutes to report back on their strategies. Let them know they must stop talking when the timer rings.


Timer




15-18 min.

Step 3: Debrief: discuss what obstacles they think they may encounter when working in the community and which strategies they may employ. Write down the ones they think they may use.


Flip chart paper/pens






5 min.


Resources

Brenner, J. & Manton, L. (2004). Getting your team to the summit. University of California Cooperative Extension. Davis, CA.


Facilitation at a Glance. Ingrid Bens. http://www.goalqpc.com
http://www.theinnovationcenter.org
Group Think video clip, Candid Camera: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fQI8pZJiMe0

References
Doyle, M. & Strauss, D. (1976). Making meetings work. Jove, New York.
de Bono, E. (1999). Six Thinking Hats. Little, Brown & Company. New York.
Hedlund, L., Freedman, B. (1981). Interactive skills program: Helping through listening and influencing. http://crs.uvm.edu/gopher/nerl/personal/comm/e.html Cornell University Cooperative Extension.
Hustedde, R.J., Smutko, S., & Kapsa, J. (2001). Turning Lemons into Lemonade.

http://srdc.msstate.edu/trainings/educurricula/lemons/ Southern Rural Development Center.

ReadyCommunity Facilitator Pre-Training: Process Skills Development Page of


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