The coaches coach. That’s sort of how I think of Cinnie Noble. I’ve gotten to know Cinnie a bit over the last couple of years, through social media, and via reading her excellent book, Conflict Management Coaching: The CINERGY Model.
The other day I actually had my first opportunity to chat with Cinnie, via Skype.
I wanted to know more about her work as a Conflict Coach, and specifically her approach with the LinkedIn group, Conflict Coaching Guild, of which she is the owner. I have been impressed how she interacts with group members, including myself, and given her coaching expertise, I thought she would have some great insights to share with the rest of us around online community management.
Here’s a synopsis of our conversation, at least as far as Cinnie’s observations and insights re: LinkedIn and the Conflict Coaching Guild go
Genesis behind the (Conflict Coaching) Guild
- The Guild grew out of Cinnie’s observation of how important it is to connect with like-minded people, around the world, and also her love for communities of practice, and group think
- And, of course, the term guild has historical roots, in medieval times when craftspeople met for mutual aid
Goals for the Guild
- Tap in to people’s individual and collective wisdom, especially given coaches come from different, diverse backgrounds
- Find and talk about things that might be common to wide range of (group) members
- Treat as a discussion group, as an opportunity for thought leaders to engage others. instead of just as advertising medium
- Coaches, mediators, ombudsmen, human resource personnel, union reps, lots of Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) types!
- The context draws people in; e.g., sometimes we get people who say I don’t do any of those things, yet I’m around conflict all the time(sounds familiar LOL)
- The Guild (see image below) was started in late 2008, and now has 1700+ members
Managing the Guild
- Cinnie’s approach is very personal
- She is so thrilled that people wanted to share/talk about their ideas leads to reciprocity from Cinnie; e.g., appreciation, following up, reaching out
- The Guild has become a place that people feel they can share, be welcome in, and safely engage in authentic conversations
- The members want to keep the group intimate; hence it is as a closed group, where people share important events, issues in their lives Cinnie sees this a gift
Impact of the Guild
- Stories are heard
- Rarely a week goes by without someone indicating they’d like to post a topic on such ‘n such, and would it be ok?
- Often feels like a spectator, observing others
- Somehow people raise a topic, and connections are made, to move things forward
- Some people are so surprised at amount of comments left on their topic
- As one participant said, this is only social media site where I can talk, have a voice
- Hosting a group is a big responsibility and requires much effort to do it well, keep on top of things, not to mention the challenges of virtual facilitation
- The importance of maintaining a social media space where people can safely verbalize (big theme, no!) what’s important to them
- The Guild takes people to a more focused and personal level, offsetting some of the more free-for-all types of social networks
- Many people view conflict coaching as one and the same with mediation, and mediators consider what they do in caucuses and pre-mediation meetings as coaching these are forms of coaching; further education is required to differentiate mediation coaching from the alliance that comes with a sustained coach/client relationship
- Being so involved with the group also provides an opportunity for self-reflection
I’ve met some good, and some not so good (e.g., absent landlords so to speak), LinkedIn community managers; people facilitating (or not) group discussion. Cinnie is a wonderful example of someone doing online community management the right way.
What’s your experience with community managers on Linkedin, or other social network for that matter? Leave a comment.