Tag Archive for: courage


FREE WEBINAR March 29th: 4 Reasons Why “Everybody Needs a Coach”

Big Beacon presents a FREE WEBINAR

Business leaders, Eric Schmidt and Bill Gates say that “everybody needs a coach”, and the C-suite, (CEOs, CFOs, CTOs, etc.) increasingly hire leadership coaches to help them navigate difficult business problems. This practice is now spreading to other leaders, educational leaders, faculty members, and even students. This short, interactive webinar gives 4 ways coaching can help you in your work.

You will come away learning:

1. Coaching is not what you think: It is not advice giving by a smarty pants know-it-all.

2. Coaching is remarkably cost-effective and webinar attendees can attend free monthly group coaching sessions.

3. Coaching is a form of humble inquiry in which the coach asks powerful questions and the client reflects deeply on possibilities, values, goals, and desirable results.

4. Learn the four ways coaching can help you in your work.Learn the 4 common mistakes of educational change efforts and how to overcome them.

Big Beacon is a 501c3, non-profit organization dedicated to the transformation of education. This webinar is free with no cost or obligation. but with plenty of opportunities for successful educational change.

Sign Up Now

Big Beacon Radio Ep. 9: Documentary to Transform Higher Ed

BB Radio HeaderEp. 9 -The Making of a Documentary to Transform Higher Education: LET ME DO IT

Transforming higher education from a culture of expertise and obedience to one that balances expertise and support is critical to unleashing courageous learners to the possibilities in the world and their lives. But the shift required is large, and transforming the master narrative of education is as important as any changes to content, curriculum, and pedagogy. In this episode, host Dave Goldberg interviews the executive producer, Eddy Evans, and director, Ryan Varga, of a new documentary designed to shake up the staid world of engineering education. The documentary, LET ME DO IT, is designed to “become the rallying cry of a growing band of educators who want engineering education to return to its ‘show me, don’t tell me’ roots” and it will premiere in Toronto on Thursday, October 8, 2015. Join Eddy, Ryan, and Dave for this lively conversation about the making of this important documentary and the role of story reframing in higher education transformation more generally.

Listen on VoiceAmerica or download on iTunes podcasts.

Learn more about Big Beacon Radio, here.

Big Beacon Radio Ep. 8: Leadership Coaching in Higher Ed

BB Radio HeaderEp. 8 – The Leadership Coaching Revolution in Higher Education

The use of leadership coaches has exploded in corporations and other organizations. Eric Schmidt and Bill Gates say “everyone needs a coach,” and increasingly in the C-suite, almost everyone has one. And the reasons for this growth are becoming clearer. When individuals are coached, they become more effective with improvements in task & relationship orientation; and coaching is a good investment returning $5-$7 for every $1 spent. In this episode, Big Beacon Radio host (and coach) Dave Goldberg explores the growing usage of coaches in education with three other coaches. Dave is joined by Bev Jones, Kelly Lewis, and Daryl Nardick for a lively discussion to explore what coaching is (and isn’t), when it can be helpful for faculty and higher ed leaders, and the ways in which the ideas and practices of coaching can help transform higher education. Join Bev, Kelly, Daryl, and Dave for this important conversation on the future of coaching in the transformation of higher education.

Listen on VoiceAmerica or download on iTunes podcasts.

Learn more about Big Beacon Radio, here.

5 Steps for Transforming Education

Universities, created as an assembly of experts in 1088, are as outdated as buggy whips.  The cost and rewards of a college education are increasingly under attack. To sustain great universities requires cultural transformation consisting of 5 Steps:

Big Boys Don’t Cry

The 21st century transformation of education is profoundly emotional, but why is “emotion” such an uncomfortable subject?:

The idea that we might acknowledge emotion directly in education runs up agains a taboo for men (in many cultures).  From an early age, men are urged to suppress their unhappiness, sadness, or other negative emotion that leads to the emotional display of crying.  Sometimes this is done with understanding and concern, but oftentimes boys are shamed if they do cry, and the shame continues until they stop.

Read more, here.

Jazz & 21st Century Learning

David Goldberg shares how learning jazz guitar has shown him new ways to best empower students to learn:

Whereas many music sites and teachers treat their students as largely unmotivated and incompetent, Jimmy trusts that students who come to his site are motivated and competent to take on substantial challenges on their own.

Find out more, here.

Self Judgment & Its Discontents

“What a jerk!”
“I’m an idiot”
“Yes, but…”
“That’s not the correct way!”
“It ought to be like this.”
“How could I be so stupid?”

We tell these things to ourselves and others on an all too regular basis, to the point where it affects our productivity at work and in everyday life. How can we make our self-talk healthier? David Goldberg leads us to question the source of our discontent:

What is the judgment about? Whom is the judgment about? To what extent is judgment of others mixed with judgment of self. What is the balance between positive and negative judgment? To what extent does the judgment serve the client? To what extent does the judgment lead to useful action? To unproductive action? A key in bringing it to light is to not judge the judging, but to be curious about it, wonder about its purpose, consider its sources, and the degree to which it serves the client. 

Read here for more ways to handle critical self-talk.


The Joy of Vulnerability: Public, Personal & Otherwise

After finishing up a post over at Big Beacon on Educating Wholehearted Engineers & Educators (here), I was reflecting about the notion of vulnerability and the ways in which we are vulnerable both publicly and privately.  To summarize, the blogpost was a riff on Brene Brown’s Power of Vulnerability video (here) and the ways in which our willingness to be vulnerable–to be open & honest in the face of uncertain response–is a key to educational reform.   Here, I’d like to make a distinction between public vulnerability and private or personal vulnerability.

Public Vulnerability

One thing I’ve noticed in my work with faculty and students as well as in my coaching practice is the ways in which public steps of vulnerability appear to be relatively easy to take.  A key to such ease is given by Don Migel Ruiz in his book The Four Agreements.  The second agreement is key in situations like this and it states, “Don’t Take Anything Personally.”  This agreement is useful in a number of ways, but the sense that it is helpful in being publicly vulnerable is captured by Ruiz in the following passage:

If you keep this agreement, you can travel around the world with your heart completely open and no one can hurt you. You can say, “I love you,” without fear of being ridiculed or rejected. You can ask for what you need. You can say yes, or you can say no — whatever you choose — without guilt or self-judgment. You can choose to follow your heart always. Then you can be in the middle of hell and still experience inner peace and happiness. You can stay in your state of bliss, and hell will not affect you at all.

Ruiz, Don Miguel (2010-01-18). The Four Agreements (Toltec Wisdom Book) (Kindle Locations 622-625). Amber-Allen Publishing. Kindle Edition.

In this way, we can stand up, make public declarations straight from the heart, and be relatively free from fears of anonymous others and what they might think.

Personal Vulnerability

In personal relationships, a shift in language and growing willingness to be vulnerable with others also has an effect.  In the forming of new relationships, it seems as though vulnerability attracts those willing to be vulnerable.  Clients report that when they are willing to be more open that they attract those who are themselves willing to be vulnerable and this is, to them, a blessing undisguised.

Of course, existing relationships can pose additional complications, however, because a shift in language and vulnerability  can be discomfiting to old friends and loved ones.  Your willingness to “open up” is no guarantee that those close to you will be able to do so.  Moreover, this vulnerability gap can be quite irritating.  Your gremlin says “Don’t these people know how hard it is for me to be open like this?  Why can’t they just dig it; why can’t they reciprocate and dare to be vulnerable themselves.”   Our tendency to reciprocate is a fairly deep biologically based response (here), but this is not the whole or even most of this story. 

Attachment and the Personal

Our difficulty with newfound personal vulnerability with existing friends and loved ones stems, I think, from our personal connection with the person, and “not taking anything personally” with someone with whom we have a connection is harder than with someone we don’t know very well.  Both are difficult, but our attachment to the friend is the greater.  Clearly the choices we face with the friend are the same as those we face with an anonymous public.  We can be authentic and vulnerable–risking the vulnerability gab with the person–or we can vulnerability match with the person–be vulnerable unto them as they are able to be unto us.  

Personal Integrity & the Relationship 

The integrally aligned solution would suggest two thing: (1) being vulnerable yourself to the extent necessary to be authentic in context with the friend and (2) concern for the relationship as you make your way on your vulnerability journey.  Let’s look at each one of these.

As one moves from fear of openness to wholeheartedness and vulnerability, authenticity requires alignment between interior and exterior to the extent necessary in the context of the relationship.  This is not carte blanche to dump all the crazy new thoughts you are thinking or what we might call gratuitous vulnerability.  It suggests an intelligent approach to sharing and being vulnerable to those close to you in a manner they can accept and adjust to. This suggests concern for the other person and the relationship and not assuming the person understands the changes you are going through without communication. It also requires you to communicate your new, increased willingness to be vulnerable in ways the person can understand.  

Over time, this new way of being in the world becomes your new normal, and living wholeheartedly with greater joy and less fear the payoff for the risk you took by opening up.  In this sense, a willingness to be vulnerable is an investment in the universe, which returns to you and the others around you in surprising and sometimes beautiful ways. 

This blog post has been featured on the Huffington Post here.

5 Smooches of MOOCs

I just posted a piece (here) about massive open online courses or MOOCs on www.bigbeacon.org.  The piece is entitled MOOCs, Moola, and Love: 5 Smooches of MOOCs, and in it I consider why students are signing up in droves for these courses and how these ideas connect to the emotional/cultural emphasis of the Big Beacon and ThreeJoy.  I identified the central question as follows:

Why are hundreds of thousands or millions of students signing up for “bad” old boring lectures taught to thousands or tens of thousands simultaneously when the future of education supposedly lies elsewhere?

The 5 answers to the questions I call MOOC smooches.  In short, students love MOOCs because they love (1) good lectures, (2) high status lecturers, (3) choice, (4) novelty, and (5) community.  The article connects these things to the pillars of the Big Beacon: joy, trust, courage, openness, and connection.

Read the full post here.

Getting to the Heart of the Educational Matter

In my work with iFoundry (www.ifoundry.illinois.edu), Olin (www.olin.edu), and now ThreeJoy (www.threejoy.com) and the Big Beacon (www.bigbeacon.org), I’ve progressively moved from thinking about education as starting from the head to increasingly feeling and believing that it starts from the heart.

Educational theorists and devotees start to get at this when they talk about the various X learnings (where X is an element of {active, experiential, project-based, challenge-based, problem-based, etc}), and experiences and projects and problems and challenges elicit emotions and discussion of human motivation more so than the usual pedagogical approaches, but the various X learnings are particular practices or techniques and invoking one or more of them doesn’t really get to the core of what it is that we are trying to achieve or the fundamental processes that might achieve it.

A recent Huffington Post article (here) takes a different tack by identifying trust, courage, connection, and joy as the pillars to successful educational transformation.  If I were to focus on one of these as primary, I would suggest that educational transformation is about moving from educating a student who shuts up, listens, and obeys to one who has the courage to take initiative, even in the face of resistance (see this article here).

These four largely cultural and emotional variables are rarely discussed, but once these distinctions are made and introduced, it is hard to stop reflecting on them and how we can enhance their presence in educational settings undergoing change.