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Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Back in the Saddle

I will spare you a long story re: my silence and simply say it is good to be back. It is also good to have my camera gear back from the Canon Service Center. So, in celebration and for your edification I give you a collection of pics taken a couple days ago to document the visitors to our bird feeder here in Xenia.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Book Review: The Coach Model

By Keith Webb

“Coaching is not about certificates, it’s about being helpful to others” Keith Webb

Recently, Bob Tiede introduced me to The Coach Model by Keith Webb. Keith is a Professional Certified Coach, consultant, and speaker who specializes in leadership development. I found his book easy to read and very practical. I have already applied some of his techniques in conversations with family members, friends, and new acquaintances. In all honesty I find his approach refreshing and fun, though I do struggle with being patient and letting the conversation evolve at its own pace. Here are some highlights from the book.

Available at Amazon
Coaching is an ongoing intentional conversation that empowers a person or group to fully live out God’s calling. Coaches empower people to think more deeply, discover their own path and experience empowerment to realize that path. Written as an equation Listen+ ask + allow = empower

A good coach and leader begins with this question in mind, “How can I, as a leader who is responsible for others, not teach or remind?” Remember, 1) it is not my responsibility to change others; the Holy Spirit can and will do it on his own–maybe with me but often without me, and 2) it is not my responsibility to correct everything that I think is out of sync with Scripture, company policy, or best practices.

Keith offers “The Coach Model” below to help coaches structure coaching times:

C–connect: connect with the person to build rapport and trust; follow-up on action steps and indulge in some good old-fashioned small talk. Demonstrate, and have a genuine interest in the person you coach.

If this is not the first meeting, this phase is also a good opportunity to follow up on the previous meeting.

Possible questions:
What progress did you make in your action steps?
What? So what? Now what?
What? Designed to raise the coachees awareness of thoughts, emotions, and behaviors
So what? Reinforce learning by extending it into other areas of life. How can you extend the learning? Where else could you apply what you’ve learned? How do you want to do things differently in the future?

O–outcome: outcome is the intended result the coachee would like to achieve.

In this phase of the conversation the coach helps the coachee to reflect more deeply, and draw out how God is guiding. It’s critical to find out what the coachee considers to be the most valuable topic for each coaching conversation.

Example questions:
What would make today’s conversation meaningful for you?
Exploring: What would achieving this do for you?
Clarifying: What would success look like to you?
Focusing: That’s a big topic what would you like to focus on today?
Confirm the outcome: Are we making the progress you hope for in our

A–awareness: awareness is a reflective dialogue intended to produce discoveries, insights, and increased perspective for the coachee.

“You cannot teach a man anything. You can only help him discover it within himself.”–Galileo Galilei

Discoveries are a fundamental part of the coaching experience, and are the ultimate goal of the awareness step. Coachees make discoveries about themselves, their situation, their potential, their actions, their in action, their assumptions, their values. The thrill of discovery produces new thoughts emotions perspectives and determination.

Coaches stimulate or even provoke reflection.
“The most effective way to influence both individual and institutional behavior is to ask questions.”–Lyle Schaller

Open questions are the single sure practice that invites critical thinking and effective learning.”–Jane Vella affirms that adults learn best through dialogue and questions that promote dialogue.

The purposes of a man’s heart are deep waters, but a man of understanding draws the amount. Proverbs 20:5

Forward questions
What would excellent resolution of this look like?
What are possible next steps for the team?
Who might be able to help?
How do you prefer to learn new things?

To expand horizons and possibilities, ask questions from different perspectives: relational, financial, motivational, organizational, spiritual, etc.

Feedback: raise awareness by not giving feedback, draw out their own feedback.
What did you do well?
What could you improve?
How would you do differently next time?

C–course: Put feet to insights and discoveries by helping the coachee create action steps.

Coaches help people create action steps using the conversational skills of active listening and powerful questions. Coaching helps coaches to create action steps that will move them forward toward their goal. Remember, the best action steps are: simple, goal oriented, doable

H–highlights: Highlights focus on reviewing the parts of the conversation that the coachee found most meaningful. This reinforces the coachee’s insights and important points and strengthens his learning. Again, questions are the most powerful way to uncover the highlights. Ask the coachee what he/she felt were the highlights.

Highlights questions:
What do you want to remember from today’s conversation?
What was most useful to you from our conversation?
What are your takeaways from this conversation?

To truly grow an organization, leaders and teams must reach organizational objectives and develop the capacity of the people in the organization. An effective supervisor seeks to accomplish the 2 goals simultaneously, reaching organizational objectives while developing employees. The COACH model offers all leaders and coaches a great framework for achieving those goals. 

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Logic and Theology: Grad School Speech

On my Facebook page a few weeks ago I asked people why they do, or do not believe in the existence of God. As part of my graduate studies I needed to deliver two speeches. I chose to do one that would illustrate a primary reason for my faith.

Here is the transcript for my 3 minute speech given during my Master's Degree studies. For your amusement I have included the class critique of the speech (it gets cut off) so the video is about 6 minutes long. I do want to say that Dr. Mike Hazel is a fantastic teacher and researcher. I miss him and the other GU faculty.

Video: Logic and Theology
Transcript: Logic and Theology

Jefferson and Adams. Lewis and Clark, Antony & Cleopatra, peanut butter & chocolate, Narcissus and well, Narcissus. Over the eons there have been many great pairings. Pairings of people, things or ideas. I have found that the discipline of logic can be a great pairing with theology – the study of the nature of God.

C.S. Lewis, a professor at Cambridge University had this to say about Jesus Christ. “I am trying to prevent anyone from the foolish statement, ‘I am ready to accept Jesus as a great moral teacher.” By applying logic to the life of Jesus he developed the idea of the “trilemma” a choice between 3 mutually exclusive choices.

You may recall that Jesus was killed because he claimed to be God. This was blasphemy of the most heinous sort to the Jewish rulers and this was the reason they used to get Jesus killed.

When someone makes a claim to be God there are really only 3 choices. The claim is true, or the claim is false. If the claim is false the person was either lying, or crazy. So the three choices are God, crazy or liar.

Dr. Henry Cloud, a psychologist in So.Cal. tells the story of a missionary woman who had been out on the mission field for too long. She was elderly and hospitalized for mental illness. One day, she walked out into the hall, let her robe fall off, and standing there naked proclaimed, “I am Mary, Mother of God.” Clearly, that was not the case and she was in fact, delusional.

When Jesus says that He is God he did not display any type of delusional behavior and his other statements have been recognized through the ages as profound. In fact, Jesus’ teachings are respected by religions outside of Christianity! I don’t know many people who would claim to knowingly follow a delusional person. And if he did I doubt he would convince many others to follow.

Of course Jesus spoke a lot about love and being truthful. In fact, he even said that everything he said was true. Juxtapose that with the claim to be God and things become problematic. To claim to be God, to tell others to be truthful and say that everything you say is truth is strong stuff. If he was not God and knew He was not God then he was a first rate liar, he let himself be killed for a lie by not denying that he was God, and he hypocritically told others to be truthful, while He was lying. That is not what great moral teachers are made of. Great moral teachers are men and women of integrity, not bold-faced liars.

That leaves us with option three; Jesus was God just as he claimed. If that is the case, then everything he said was true and needs to be included in His teaching, not just the stuff we like. And if that is true the option of “Jesus was a good moral teacher” is also off the table.

I am not going to tell you what to do with this information; I am merely suggesting that logic and theology make a great pair. Logic can help bring theological ideas into focus without compromising the intellect, or the spirit of faith.

What about you? I would enjoy hearing your reasons for your belief, whether you believe there is a God or believe there is not a God.

Thanks for stopping by.


Saturday, November 24, 2012

A Deafening Silence

It has been a long silence on this blog.

I am not happy about that.

The noise in my head is deafening. Finding my voice has been a challenge and continues to be a challenge: more noise stuck in my head.


Now to attempt to calm the din and find my voice.

My journey for the past year has seen me complete a master's degree in commuication and leadership. I graduated on Mother's Day Weekend. I enjoyed a beautiful weekend with my wife as we took in the sights and sounds of Gonzaga Commencement. It was a wonderful weekend.

Traveling home on Mother's Day I called my mom from the airport and wished her a happy Mother's Day. My dad was sleeping so I didn't speak with him.

Exactly one week later I spoke to him as he died at my side in Hartford Hospital. I spoke to him but he had not spoken in almost a week.

Then this fall my wife and I celebrated our 25th anniversary! We took a long awaited trip to Alaska. Probably the best vacation of my life. Driving around Alaska with my wife, enjoying the flora, fauna, friends and food was wonderful. With that trip I realized a life-long dream of visiting all 50 states.


the din...

it is incessant.

So I think it is time to continue this journey and the destination for this leg is my voice. Time to face my fears and speak. Ironic for someone who teaches public speaking.

More soon.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

A Reason to Pause

I recently started following David Platt on Twitter. In fact, it was just today that I started to follow him. He mentioned in a recent tweet that this video was quite powerful. Given the trust and respect I have for Mr. Platt I thought it would make an interesting study break during lunch while I am working on my master's thesis.

well, it certainly is an interesting video, though it doesn't go that well with lunch. I hope you will watch it. I found it educational and compelling. I will not say whether or not I liked it or agreed with it, as I would prefer to dialog with you about below in the comments. Be advised, the video is 33 minutes long and has very graphic images.

After watching the video please let me know:

1. Did you like the video and why?

2. On what points do you agree or disagree?

3. What did you learn?

As for me, the video made me sad for many reasons but I really liked the dialogue and seeing how many people were willing to engage in dialogue and to engage their minds.

Thanks for stopping by and please say "hi"!

Just another Mike

Sunday, May 8, 2011


I recently spent a week in Guatemala City , Guatemala. This was a business trip to the capital city of Guatemala to teach story writing and presentation skills to a group of 24 students and young adults.

This is one of 4 videos I have made about my trip. You can see the others on my YouTube Channel

I found the city to be both beautiful and tragic. There is a rich history of Spanish and Mayan culture. there is also a very strong delineation between the classes. Some sections of town reminded me of a set from some post-apocalyptic movie. The streets were dark and teeming with cars and people shuffling around. The smell of smoke in the air burned my eyes and my heart. It saddened me that people live this way. Of course, this scene is repeated in every country around the world, even the US.

 I heard stories of surviving murder attempts and death threats. I saw people scrimping and working to provide for themselves and their families. It was truly humbling and remarkable: remarkable that people can treat their brothers and sisters so cruelly. Remarkable that people are so resilient and resourceful. The spirit of perseverance is indeed remarkable.

I must say that I found my hosts incredibly warm and generous. I truly love them. Especially humbling was working with three Mayan men. these men came in from the country side to attend our training. Between the three of them they oversee nearly 1000 home churches among the Mayan. Another student was traveling at least 3 hours each day in order to attend the training.

So, why work so hard to get to our training? Is it because our training is THAT good? Well, it's good, but I think the real reason is because of the spirit of hope they possess. In a country that boasts one of the highest murder rates in the world and is fraught with corruption, they have hope. That hope is rooted not in a political party or process. Nor is it in their own skills. Their hope is in God, more specifically Jesus Christ. The words of the apostle Paul ring in my ears, "If Christ is not raised, our hope is in vain and we are to be pitied above all others" (Paraphrase 1 Cor. 15:13-19). I continue to be amazed at man's ability to be cruel and find it unconscionable that anyone could think we are capable of living in peace. The mountain of evidence to the contrary is convincing; we prefer war to peace.

How do you see it? Do you have hope? If so, in what do you place your hope? I really would love to know.

Thanks for stopping by.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Really, why keep lying to America?

This quote below is a stunning example of the way politicians lie and obfuscate the truth. This is yet another example of the Democrat party and the Obama administration lying to the American people about what happened in the financial meltdown. 

"Freddie and Fannie ewre not instumental in the decable in the financial crisis," [Geithner] told Fox News. " there's no denying it: we gave motgages in america to people who hadterrible credit histories, who had no down-payment, that didn't have a good. solid work history, that really shouldn't have been given a mortgage. Fannie and Freddie competed for some of those mortgages. They were part of the problem, yes, but the private sector was five times as irresponsible as they were."

Read more: Geithner tells bold faced lie to American people

Here is the truth…

Yes, Fannie and Freddie made bad loans, but to then point the finger at the banking industry and make the childish claim – “But they were way worse!” (Sic.) is only half the truth.

Do you know why banks were making bad loans?

The Clinton administration through Janet Reno’s Justice Department threatened banks and lenders with prosecution if they did not expand President Carter’s initiative of providing loans to people who really can’t afford them.

The banks had no choice but to make the bad loans, knowing that collapse was inevitable.

In the meantime, Chris Dodd and Barney Frank were making out like bandits in the ensuing real estate boom, knowing it was all a fraudulent house of cards. To make matters worse, when George Bush and Sen. McCain actually tried to ward off the impending disaster by entering legislation to stop the practice of sub-prime loans the measures were defeated by, wait for it...the Democrats! Convenient for them that the collapse happened on Bush’s watch so they could blame him and the republicans, when in reality it was a crash of their own making going back as far as Jimmy Carter.

For more on this see US Financial Meltdown Backstory

Once again, the law of unintended consequences puts us on the path of destruction paved with good intentions. (Though that assumes the Dems didn’t want to crash our economy as a means to secure more federal power.)

I am no huge fan of Bush, and am disgusted with the Republicans, and yes, the banks played a role, even if they were coerced, but come on people; the Democrats need to be held accountable for their complicity in this mess and rampant lying.