Get the support you need to become a
connected, calm and confident Department Chair
Registration Information: Contact Debbie Okerlund
612-597-4459 / email@example.com
Being Department Chair does not have to be isolating. When you face tough challenges such as drops in funding, difficult meetings, conflict, balancing department needs with teaching and scholarship, the C3 Circle gives you peer support to help you with practical strategies, ideas and tools.
The C3 Circle is an executive coaching group for department chairs like you, who want support and coaching through your toughest challenges – and learn and practice coaching skills to use with faculty, colleagues and students.
My name is Debbie Okerlund. For the past five years, C3 CirclesTM for Department Chairs and Program Directors of local universities and colleges have provided a practical, efficient, supportive, confidential way to address challenges such as:
- Managing work load, time & energy
- Balancing department needs with teaching and scholarship
- Managing difficult faculty meetings, addressing colleague interactions or conflict
- Directing the budgeting process
- Navigating a department program review
- Decision-making processes, maintaining confidence in leadership skills
How does the C3 Circle help Department Chairs + Program Directors?
In the C3 Circle, Chairs and Directors share real situations with other Chairs and Directors. You receive feedback, ideas, insights, support and accountability from each other, facilitated by Executive Coach, Debbie Okerlund (learn more about me here) You will learn coaching skills, best practices and gain new tools for your work.
When you face tough challenges that go with being a Chair, you know you need and can depend on the insights, support and expertise of other Chairs who understand. The chance to talk through options and strategies, and the support and energy you’ll feel after leaving your C3 Circle is invaluable!
From my fifteen years of teaching and facilitating peer coaching circles, I know that when you connect with other like-minded people in a supportive structured group, your sense of connection, confidence and calm grow. Almost any challenge is surmountable.
Comments from previous Department Leaders:
- “This is one of the most powerful tools you get to add to your ongoing growth as a Chair and as an evolving Human in Academia”
- “Knowing that the challenges I face are not unique to me or related to any failings I may have as a department chair, but simply the nature of the work is priceless. This insight alone is worth every dime and minute spent on this coaching process. This definitely should be continued next year!”
- “C3 peer coaching gives you tools and strategies to help get clarity and often, a solution to your situation.”
- “C3 Circles led by Debbie are potent, transformative experiences. Having participated in these circles for two years, with colleagues who are also department chairs, I now carry around in my head the wise voices and helpful questions of my circle-mates, even when we aren’t together.”
- “The sessions are focused and results-oriented, and the atmosphere is professional and supportive.”
- “I’ve become a more confident, responsive and resilient Department Chair.”
- “This Circle gave me the space and capacity to think through an issue objectively and broadly, allowing me to reach a solution more quickly.”
- “This C3 experience is especially valuable for entering into unexpected situations within one’s chairing time. In addition, addressing institutional memory within a department needs fresh eyes. The interaction with the C3 colleagues allows a monthly reminder.”
- “Hearing someone lecture on coaching does not provide the same insights as observing and practicing over and over. The process was really valuable.”
- “The Circle has challenged me to examine my leadership style. It has made me more confident about my role as a leader and innovator. I am glad I got to reflect on my communication skills and got a clearer direction on how to find solutions.”
- “Even veteran leaders can benefit from the C3 Circle process.”
- “The C3 coaching circle is the ONLY systematic means of support department chairs have at my institution. If I didn’t have access to the C3 peer-coaching circle, I would have had to figure out how to be an effective chair on my own. With the peer coaching, I am able to bring real challenges I face to the group and come up with real solutions.”
Department Leader C3 Circle Logistics
- Groups of 4 to 7 Chairs convene once to twice monthly
- Circle meetings are held in a room at one of the participating colleges
- Each 90-minute Circle session is structured to include:
- Brief teaching related to specific learning focus (i.e. coaching skills, supervision, facilitation)
- Chairs receive coaching on current situations from other Chairs and Executive Coach Debbie, for clarity, perspective and insights, problem solving, taking action, accountability and support
- Circle members learn and practice coaching skills.
- Information shared in the Circles is confidential
- Only one person from a department in the same circle, to maximize environment to address challenges with management, supervision, budgeting
- Participants are given orientation and training to Circle format and peer coaching skills
C3 Circles are designed to:
- Connect you with others who do what you do. You have an alliance of peers that support you and give you real time feedback.
- Grow your Confidence to know what you are doing, by giving focused attention to your specific situation and challenges, and learning new skills and strategies you can use in your day to day relationships.
- Generate the sense of Calm that comes from support, insights from like-minded peers and knowing what your next steps are. Soothe your anxieties so you go into stressful situations knowing what you will do and what you need to respond to.
Registration Information: Contact Debbie Okerlund
612-597-4459 / firstname.lastname@example.org
Is the C3 Coaching Circle for me? Previous participants have brought these challenges to their Circle…
- My relationship and interactions with a colleague whose style is vastly different from mine sometimes keeps me up at night.
- My schedule is not my own. My worry about how to fit in scholarship with teaching, all the responsibilities of being a Chair and making time for my family is zapping my energy.
- I am working through a department program review and I have concerns that the others don’t really understand the urgency of the deadlines and what is needed.
- I am excited about the opportunity to hire a new staff person, but agreeing on the process and managing expectations is creating conflict in the department.
- I sometimes feel like I am “alone in my role.” I’d like to have colleagues outside of my department to process with from time to time.
- I wish someone who really knows what I go through could give me direct and timely feedback about my leadership.
- I have been at this for quite some time – I crave more balance in my work, more joy in my life and better alignment with my values.
- I am just starting out and want some guidance on tried and true strategies.
When are the Department Leader C3 Circle meetings?
Circles starting in the fall meet nine times during the academic year.
Circles starting in January meet six times.
Frequently Asked Questions/Comments
I am not sure I have the time. You are busy and you wear many hats. Department Chairs in the coaching circles say that when they take time to process challenges, recharge and reflect, it actually makes more time.
What makes the Circles work? Participants say that what makes the process work so incredibly well are the values of trust, confidentiality and a shared commitment to colleagues in similar roles supporting each others’ goals of problem solving, reflection, learning and renewal.
What about confidentiality? C3 Circle group members and I fully commit to and honor the understanding that all discussions engaged in and information provided will be kept strictly confidential.
Why would I need a facilitated group – can’t I get the same thing with my close friends together? Most of us put off connection, reflection and leadership development; Because it’s not urgent, we don’t make the time. Chairs in my circles say that committing to a group of like-minded colleagues means they get the focused attention they need to get the best return on time and energy.
C3 Circles are structured to be highly focused on circle members:
1. Sharing & getting coached on real life challenges and goals
2. Learning & practicing coaching skills, giving feedback, asking powerful questions
3. Helping each other learn from your experiences
4. Giving and getting support for learning and reaching your goals
What if I am not available to attend all the Circle meetings? 100% attendance by each Circle member is recommended as a top factor for the success of the Circle. If unexpected situations arise, participants will notify the Facilitator (Debbie) and Circle members, with at least 24-hours’ notice if not able to attend.
What is the cost? Contact Lead With Agility for information on new C3 Circles starting in September 2021: 612-597-4459
What you will get from the C3 Circle:
Connection, Calm and Confidence and…
- A supportive learning community where you can feel inspired by the courage and creativity of fellow Department Chairs
- Confidential format to talk through your specific challenges with an Executive Coach and peers
- Tools and strategies for best practices from others who do what you do
- Ideas, insights, advice and perspective that is personal and practical
- Opportunities to learn from others’ challenges as Department Chairs and how they deal with them
- Clarity about your strengths as a leader and how to leverage them
- Opportunity to learn and practice coaching skills to strengthen your relationships with faculty, students and colleagues
- Your energy and enthusiasm back!