The new year is usually portrayed as a hopeful time for new beginnings. If you have been meeting with a group since August, however, it's likely that you are no longer in the "honeymoon" stage of team development but nowhere close to the "mature" stage that we are all aiming for. If your group’s effectiveness is being strangled by unresolved conflict and burgeoning tensions, then take some time to review the article "Stages of Team Development: Lessons from the Struggles of Site-Based Management" by Nancy Mohr and Alan Dichter.
The authors describe the six common stages that groups often go through as they seek to form truly collaborative communities: the honeymoon stage, the conflict stage, the confusion-about-democracy stage, the messy stage, the scary stage, and the mature-group stage which is a true professional learning community. They also remind us, "None of this happens overnight. By being prepared for the problems that adult groups will encounter as they struggle with how to work together effectively to increase student learning, educators can mindfully evolve, stage by stage, into true learning communities."
The Continuum Dialogue is a provocative yet non-threatening way to get to know the people one works with: their perspectives, their beliefs, their opinions on hard issues, how they think about themselves and others, what they think about teaching and learning. It is also useful to see where people stand on difficult issues that need decisions and hear them out with respect and interest.
Dear Donna: Do you have to be a CFG coach to subscribe to this Coaching Facilitates Greatness newsletter? I have printed out copies of a few of the articles and interviews to share with my CFG members, and some of them would like to get the Coaching Facilitates Greatness newsletter directly in their inbox. - J.M.
Dear J.M.: Thanks for the warm feedback! The intended audience for this newsletter is CFG coaches in the Houston area, but anybody who is interested in strengthening their facilitative leadership skills or building a professional learning community may find value in the content, too. You and your friends are welcome to subscribe to this or any other publication of the Houston A+ Challenge by registering through this link: http://www.houstonaplus.org/mailinglist/
If you have questions for Dear Donna, send them to CFGCoach@houstonaplus.org. Donna Reid is a Houston-based National CFG Facilitator and a consultant with Houston A+ Challenge.