Bits and Bytes: Using Technology to Train Academic Librarians as Coaches

cls logo

ALA Annual Conference 2005 Chicago

ACRL College Libraries Section’s Annual Conference Program
Co-sponsored by:
ACRL’s Professional Development Committee
ACRL Personnel Administrators & Staff Development Discussion Group
LAMA’s Human Resources Section

Bits and Bytes: Using Technology to Train Academic Librarians as Coaches
Sunday, June 26, 2005, 10:30 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.

Panel Moderator
Carolyn A. Sheehy
Clare and Lucy Oesterle Director of Library Services, North Central College


Kathryn J. Deiss
Director, Strategic Learning, Metropolitan Library System

Kathryn J. Deiss is Director of Strategic Learning at the Metropolitan Library System, a multi-type consortium of libraries in Chicago and its south suburbs. She designs and provides training, facilitation, executive coaching, and consulting services for libraries, national associations, consortia, and museums. She headed the system’s Teach*Model*Coach Program faculty. Previously, she held positions at the Association of Research Libraries, Northwestern University, Winnetka Public Library, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and Albany Public Library. She has written and presented extensively on the subjects of leadership, planning, organizational learning, and organizational culture.

Teach*Model*Coach Program
In 2003-2004, the Chicago Multitype Library System’s IMLS-funded Teach*Model*Coach program used intensive in-person training to provide experienced librarians with coaching skills and then paired them with individuals with five years or less of experience. While the several intensive in-person events provided deep learning, it became clear that learning needed to be sustained in between these events. Using AIM chat functionality helped provide coaches with new content and on-the-spot problem-solving during the intervening months. In numerous cases, using this technology, facilitators found themselves offering content they had not expected to provide due to specific problems being raised and a need for assistance at the point or moment of need.

Sonia Bodi
Professor of Bibliography, Director of the Brandel Library, North Park University

Sonia Bodi is Professor of Bibliography and Director of the Brandel Library at North Park University in Chicago, Illinois. She has been at North Park since 1981, beginning as head reference and instruction librarian, chairing the Division of the Humanities faculty from 1988-1999, and becoming the library director in 1996. She served as a coach in the Teach*Model*Coach Program. Her research interests have been in user instruction and information literacy, and she has presented conference papers and published articles on topics related to instruction. Her most recent article, co-authored with another North Park librarian, is on collection management entitled, “The Library of Babel: Collection Management in a Post-Modern World” published in the March 2005 issue of the Journal of Academic Librarianship.

Teach*Model*Coach Program
Before actually meeting as a group, coaches-in-training were encouraged to join the electronic Teach*Model*Coach Forum. This Forum invited participants to post their name and library, and any comments and questions about T*M*C. By introducing the coaches to each other, an electronic community of coaches was created. Thus, the coaches were not strangers when they met for their initial two days of training. During the ensuing year, technology offered opportunities for the coaches to join chat sessions with other coaches to share their challenges and concerns about key principles and techniques, such as listening rather than giving advice, guiding learners in setting realistic goals, giving feedback, and respecting confidentiality. Through this technology, the coaches provided for each other the skills and techniques that they were learning to provide for their learners.

Melanie Hawks
Staff Development Officer, University of Utah, ARL/OLMS Adjunct Faculty

Melanie Hawks is Program Officer for Training and Leadership Development for the Association of Research Libraries Office of Leadership and Management Services (OLMS). Prior to accepting this position in 2000, she was an adjunct trainer for ARL and co-created the online Coaching for Performance course. She served as Staff Development Officer for the University of Utah’s Marriott Library from 1996-2000. Currently, she facilitates both in-person and online courses for library professionals throughout North America. Other online courses she has developed include Motivation, Performance, and Commitment and Power and Influencing Skills. She has designed or significantly revised all the major OLMS in-person training offerings, including Library Management Skills Institutes I & II, Leading Change, and Facilitation Skills Institute. Her current professional interests included emotional intelligence and appreciative inquiry.

Coaching for Performance
In 1999, the Association of Research Libraries developed Coaching for Performance as the second course in its Online Lyceum program. Several key assumptions influenced the choice of both content and delivery methods: 1) effective coaching requires a combination of attitude, knowledge, and skill; 2) the online environment affords an opportunity for structured skill development not always available during in-person learning experiences; 3) the relationship between course participant/facilitator will shape learning significantly. After six years of offering the course, these assumptions appear to mostly hold true. Librarians and library staff have taught the developers much about how people respond to both the coaching role and online learning technologies.

Julianne Hinz
Assistant Director for Public Services, University of Utah

Julianne Hinz has been the Assistant Director for Public Services in the Marriott Library, University of Utah, since 1990. Prior to that, she was the Marriott Library Head of Government Documents for 12 years. She is very interested in organizational development and leadership topics and devoted part of her sabbatical in 2002-03 to work in these areas. She has taken several ARL Office of Leadership and Management Services (OLMS) Online Lyceum courses, including Coaching for Performance. She has developed and offered training on various library issues including service improvement, performance evaluation, orienting new employees, assessment, intellectual freedom, and the ARL Institute for Associate University Librarians. She is an adjunct faculty member in the ARL OLMS program and strives to apply effective coaching techniques in her leadership and supervisory work.

Coaching for Performance
Most supervisors would probably agree that two of their most important responsibilities are inspiring and recognizing the very best work from their people and dealing with performance problems. Coaching applies to both situations. The ARL Coaching for Performance course covers fundamental principles, behaviors and attitudes of effective coaching. This course helps a supervisor focus on their own coaching techniques and also improves their ability to guide others in developing their coaching skills or “coaching on coaching.” Learning needs to be ongoing. The ARL Online Lyceum course triggers a supervisor’s ongoing learning about coaching and inspires them to work with others to help them learn to be effective coaches.

cls homepage

cls logo small
Last Update: 25 October 2010
Comments or questions? Contact the Web Editor