February 28, 2008

Can you think?

I admit that I have wished for a book on you so I can quickly learn what makes you tick and what ticks you off. But I never expected checklists for every part of my life. That's why I prefer facilitators over trainers and coaches over editors.

Yet, many people want a blueprint outlining what to do when. The why is not important. The possibility of unlimited choices is frightening.

Is it that some people grew up with flash cards and everything needs to be broken into small pieces with only one correct answer?

Or do they think they can always ask the teacher what will be on the test?

The national Girl Scouts are in the midst of a major shift in programming. That has to result in a focus change for those folks once known as trainers. I have only a few details on the process of converting those involved volunteers into facilitators.

I like the language change. Training implies checklists, one way of doing things, controlled situations. Facilitating implies giving you tools and skills that may guide you through situations. But the responsibility for carrying out the plans, the program, the dreams remains with you.

It is similar to why a person "lucky" enough to be called an editor needs to spend more time coaching then editor. It takes more time to coach - a lesson I learned at Poynter Institute and from Don Fry and Peter Roy Clark. But a coaching style helps a writer learn what to do in multiple situations.

Editing or fixing as story is a one-time improvement. But coaching a writer by asking questions, by having conversations, by exploring a few possibilities can reap long-term benefits for the editor, writer and reader.

When I share knowledge,, I am hoping they are thinking.

A journalist or blogger who participates in a discussion on why a news organization asks organizations to post a summary of a news article or blog item and link back to the original should now offer the same courtesy to another news organization or blogger, right?
How do you teach someone to apply concepts without spelling out what to do constantly. Hoe do you teach one to make their own checklist?


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