PSD70 Learning Coach Program

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Shifting Gears, Ruts, and Getting Unstuck

Yes, it is winter in Alberta and daily we receive students and staff into the school with some tale of the challenges of winter driving: shifting gears to rock a vehicle back and forth  to get out of the snow ruts or snow banks.  This leads me to continue with some thinking  about shifting something else … my perspective.

With the many communication partners I have in my life: teachers, educational assistants, administrators, siblings, stubborn children (no idea where they get that from ), and ageing senior parents, I need to frequently let go of my own views and my perceived ‘obvious’ solutions to ‘their problems’, and open myself up to the possibility of another perspective or equally valid solution and/or  point of view.  That pause and reflection (with mouth firmly closed), helps get me unstuck. It gives me the flow of movement to shift my thinking up or down, to be a functional vehicle of change, for the people around me.

I know that it is not always easy for me or some of the partners in my interactions to not get stuck in a ‘rut’ or rigid path of perspectives (again the stubborn genetics issue); but I am always thrilled when one or both of us are able to see where the other person is coming from – even for a brief period of time – acknowledge the differences, look for the commonalities and move forward not spinning our tires – making the ruts deeper and harder to move out of. 

As a learning coach, I need to remember the cognitive coaching training …listen intently , probe and ask good questions , allow time to process and reflect, not always being the problem solver (with my own pre-conceived shovel and sandbag in tow) to push and/or pull the other person out of their present situation …. rut or not.

Winter may be upon us, the roads may get icy or snowy … but heck, I hear it will be +4 degrees by the weekend!  Maybe I can put my shovel and sand bag away for a day and just let winter be winter… ruts and all.

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  • Patricia Wierstra says:

    Sheila – I had a good laugh as I read this only because I relate on so many levels! It really takes me back to the Cognitive Coaching as well and I find that I post the “place-mat” in view often to remind myself to have those listening skills. I also go back to the book Mindset and try to constantly be cognizant of my mindset ~ thanks for the affirmation that it is not just me enjoying these roads and ruts.

    November 25, 2013 at 2:54 pm
  • dlander says:

    I love your metaphorical writing, Sheila! I, too, have been stuck a time or two…
    What a great reminder that we all need to work hard to see others’ points of view, and to enter conversations to ‘seek first to understand, then to be understood.’

    November 20, 2013 at 7:54 pm

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