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RESEARCH POSTER PRESENTATION DESIGN © Adults who choose to enter a doctoral degree program in the United States generally progress well during content courses. Physical classroom and online students form support groups, meet due dates for class activities, and submit assignments. Once finished with the content course phase of a doctoral program, students enter the independent dissertation research and writing stage. Classmate support disappears, much time and money has now been spent in school, and determining how to write a 150 to 250 page doctoral dissertation becomes a serious undertaking. Motivation decreases while frustration increases. The Solutions Focus SIMPLE Model is based on work conducted by de Shazer and Berg (1995) at the Brief Family Therapy Center-Wisconsin, with additional features adopted from Bateson, Erickson, and Wittgenstein (Jackson & McKergow, 2007). SF coaching processes, applicable with individuals and organizations, share major elements with Positive Psychology, Motivational Interviewing, and Appreciative Inquiry. For this Solutions Focus (SF) research project, online and classroom doctoral students engaged in individualized coaching to help regain a level of excitement and inspiration that would support timely completion of their dissertations and doctoral programs. The OSKAR (Outcome, Scaling, Know-How/Resources, Affirm/Action, & Review) Solutions-Focused coaching framework was used to guide conversations. Abstract A Solutions-Focused coaching guide, based on the SIMPLE Model and on the OSKAR Coaching framework (Jackson & McKergow, 2007), was developed for and implemented with online- and classroom-based doctoral students to improve motivation. Project 1 – Fall, 2012 An 8-week online DBA dissertation research course 8 Doctor of Business Administration Program students A one hour telephone conference at the start of class A follow up Discussion Question at the end of class Project 2 – Winter, 2012 A 5-day PhD program introductory residency 14 Higher Education Administration & Nursing PhD Program students A reflective Journal entry completed each day Project 3 – Winter, 2012 A 3-day DM dissertation research residency 11 Doctor of Management Program students A reflective Journal entry completed each day Project 4 – Spring 2013 A 5-day PhD program introductory residency 8 Industrial-Organizational PhD Program students A reflective Journal entry completed each day Projects Focus on solutions instead of problems Students generally want to talk about issues. To focus on solutions, not problems, coaching began by asking what goal was expected from being a part of the doctoral program. Inbetween, not inside The Future Perfect Question followed this brief goal discussion to generate personal reflection about graduation. A scale of 1-10 was presented to ask where students thought they currently were in meeting Proposal or Program completion. Make use of what’s there The scale was immediately followed with a question about strengths they thought could be used to complete the journey. Possibilities Students were then asked to state possible small steps that could taken to help complete research and writing tasks Language Students’ words were reflected back to them, with affirmations, throughout the session, keeping language simple and asking the phrase ‘what else’ to encourage additional thoughts and clarification. Every case is different The flexible every-case-is-different approach fosters potential change for each student. Conversations were individually tailored for each student. The Coaching Process - Doctoral Students Conclusions As a result of this SF project, attention to small steps resulted in follow up student comments that indicated substantial improvement in time management and more timely completion of document sections. Several students identified new and helpful activities to use that had not been previously identified. Quote: “The small steps helped me realize that if I take things one small step at a time, I will eventually get to the end and receive my PhD!” Although a form was used to guide discussion, conversations were personalized for students so each could discuss what was personally important. An increase in enthusiasm and motivation, along with a better sense of accomplishment and a desire to move more quickly forward, was observed through reflective comments as students progressed through the classes. Quote: “Thank you for helping me work out my dissertation angst!” Example Question: What number from (high) reflects your enthusiasm for where you are currently at with your research/writing? Average Scale Scores: InitialFinalPercent Increase Project % Project % Project % Project % “The future perfect activity was very enlightening!” “I feel 100% better about the whole process returning home! Hope I’ll make you proud one day!” “This learning experience was one of the most important events in my “education career” to help me understand the process, understand myself, and develop real connections with my peers. I am excited, but I remain very aware of the importance of each step and its timeliness.” “I am so much clearer on what I need to do & how to do it. This class was a breath of fresh air!” References Biswas-Diener, R., Kashdan, T.B., & Minhas, G. (2011). A dynamic approach to psychological strength development and intervention. Journal of Positive Psychology, Vol 6(2), de Shazer, S. & Berg, I. K. (1995). The brief therapy tradition. In J. Weakland and W. Ray (Eds.) Propagations: Thirty years of influence from the mental research institutes. Haworth Press. Jackson, P. Z. & McKergow, M. (2007). The solutions focus: Making coaching & change SIMPLE. London: Nicholas Brealey International. Macdonald, A. J. (2011). Solution-focused therapy: Theory, research and practice (2 nd ed). London: SAGE Publications. McKergow, M., & Korman, H. (2009). Inbetween – neither inside or outside: The radical simplicity of solution-focused brief therapy. Journal of Systemic Therapies, 28(2), Contacts Kathleen Barclay, PhD, PHR, SFBPGary Barclay, MA, CWC StratVisions & LifeStyle Wellness PartnersLifeStyle Wellness Partners Kathleen Barclay, PhD & Gary Barclay, MA sfwork-UK Walden University Solutions Focus: A Positive Approach to Coaching and Change
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