Online collaboration, Introverts and Solitude

I’ve been reading with personal interest, ‘Quiet. The power of introverts in a world that can’t stop talking’.  Based on research and stories, Susan Cain explores the differences between introverts and extroverts and how society misunderstands and undervalues the introvert.

She has found that “introverts prefer to work independently, and solitude can be a catalyst to innovation”.

In a chapter called ‘When collaboration kills creativity’ she explores the rise of ‘groupthink’ where workplaces are organised in a way that elevates teamwork above all else. This is based on the concept of synergy and an assumption that innovation is fundamentally social.

She cites research and examples that illustrate that face to face brainstorming is less effective than working alone when seeking creativity and ideas. The exception to this however is online brainstorming where the larger the group, the better it performs. She believes that “participating in an online working group is a form of solitude all its own”.

She reports that between a third and a half of the population are introverts and suggests that in our culture, (US based) being quiet and introverted is not the way to be. This is despite the fact that many introverted leaders tend to get better results.

Her calls for action include:

“Stop the madness for constant group work”. Introverts need quiet, privacy, autonomy and freedom to work on their own too.

She urges introverts to look inside their own suitcases (see video clip) and open them up (occasionally) for others to see because the world needs introverts and the things that they carry.

Some thoughts and questions that are being processed in my suitcase:

  • How influenced are we in online communities by those who talk the most? Cain suggests that the best talkers don’t necessarily have the best ideas.
  • How many so called ‘lurkers’ in communities are introverts and are reflecting before contributing or just reflecting?
  • Participation in the online environment offers the opportunity for solitude too, which Cain says is a “crucial ingredient often to creativity”
  • What implications does this work have in relation to performance improvement, leadership, workplace collaboration and learning & development?

The book and video clip (thanks to Donald Clark for his tweet) are definitely worth looking at.

Practical ways to use social media to support coaching

Following my research, a number of people have asked me to share some practical examples of ways that coaches are currently using social media to support coaching. Here are some examples:

  • Encourage the coachee to expand their learning network via twitter or groups to explore and gather ideas and new perspectives on relevant issues
  • Encourage the coachee to seek out and follow ‘experts’ who could offer a new perspective to an issue and have dealt with similar issues or situations that the coachee is facing
  • Set up a closed community to support team or group coaching
  • Signpost coachees to online resources, tools and techniques via your blog, twitter or groups
  • Introduce linkedin to clients to support them in building a professional network
  • Use You Tube clips to support coaching sessions
  • Introduce private wikis in team or group coaching to share knowledge creation
  • Encourage the coachee to use a private wiki or blog to record reflections and learning

Do you have practical examples to share?

Sharing my research findings: Social media to support coaching

Here’s a link to the methodology and findings from some recent research that I completed as part of my MA in performance coaching and mentoring. It has been a fascinating journey and I’ve learnt so much along the way.

Social_media_coaching_research_lynnwernham

The purpose of this research was to investigate the extent to which social media tools and materials are currently being used by internal or external coaches to support face to face coaching in an organisational context. Some recommendations include:

  • Both literature in related fields and the findings from this research suggest that there is scope and significant benefits to using social media tools and materials to support both individual and group coaching in organisations.
  • Online communities can be used to support coaching by enabling the coachee to network and collaborate with others. Social media can also offer additional perspectives to the coachee which can provide new ideas and spark new thinking.

However there are a number of disadvantages and barriers that can prevent its use or suggest that it is inappropriate to use:

  • Client confidentiality and security need to be addressed and assured. If social media potentially compromises this confidentiality then social media should not be used to support coaching.To avoid confusion, the way in which social media was to be used to support coaching would be need to be agreed as part of the coaching contracting process.
  • Both coach and coachee need both knowledge and appropriate technology skills regarding social media use in order that it can be used to support coaching.
  • The barriers of organisational security concerns and blocks would need to be addressed and removed if social media was to become more widely used to support coaching in this context. This may require significant culture change

Towards Maturity Benchmark 2011/12 Preliminary Findings

Here’s a link to the Towards Maturity Benchmark 2011/12 Preliminary findings.

Some highlights that jumped out for me:

72% of organisations believe that learning technologies will help them respond faster to changing business conditions. For example: by increasing the sharing of good practice and to support organisational change.

In house social networks are not rising as fast as expected, however 41% are using 3rd party social networks in L&D. (up from 11% in 2010) However this growth may be due to experimentation.

The top barrier to adoption of learning technologies is the skills, knowledge and confidence to adopt new ways of learning.

Social media and coaching research update

Thanks to everyone who has completed a questionnaire.

This is open until May 14th so please feel free to contribute your views on how you think social media can (or not) support face to face coaching

Full information on this can be found in the post below  and here’s a link that will take you to the questionnaire

Click here

My next step will be analysis.

An Invitation to participate in social media and coaching research

I’m currently completing my dissertation for an MA in performance coaching and mentoring at Staffordshire University

The purpose of my research is to investigate the extent to which social media tools and materials are currently being used to support face to face coaching, within the context of private, public or voluntary organisations.

The research objectives are to:

1. Identify whether social media tools and materials are being used by coaches to support face to face coaching

2. Explore which social media tools and materials are being used by coaches and how they are being used to support face to face coaching

3. Investigate perceived outcomes, benefits and disadvantages of using social media tools and materials to support face to face coaching

4. Investigate the barriers to using social media tools and materials to support face to face coaching

5. Formulate recommendations for ways in which social media tools and materials could be used to support face to face coaching

I would like to invite you to participate in this research by completing a short questionnaire. This should only take between 10-20 minutes to complete. You will not be identifiable in any resulting reports, articles or publications, unless you expressly wish to be

More Information about this research and what’s involved can be viewed here

I hope that the resulting written work (which I will share) will highlight ways in which social media tools are/could be used by internal and external coaches to support face to face coaching in an organisational setting.

In addition I hope that information shared about perceived benefits, barriers and disadvantages will be useful in raising potential issues and informing and enhancing future coaching practice.

If you have any questions please feel free to contact me

Thank you

Social media and coaching: My research objectives

Here are my research objectives for my MA dissertation:

The purpose of this research is to investigate the extent to which social media tools and materials are currently being used by internal or external coaches to support face to face coaching in an organisational context. The organisation may be public, private or voluntary.

Specifically within the context of the organisation, the objectives of this research are to:

1. Identify whether social media tools and materials are being used by coaches to support face to face coaching

2. Explore which social media tools and materials are being used by coaches and how they are being used to support face to face coaching

3. Investigate perceived outcomes, benefits and disadvantages of using social media tools and materials to support face to face coaching

4. Investigate the barriers to using social media tools and materials to support face to face coaching

5. Formulate recommendations for ways in which social media tools and materials could be used to support face to face coaching