"Coaching The 140th WING"
a memoir ........... by Coach Doug Goffman
It all began back in January of 2017 when I met Cathy Kneuer, wife of Lt Col Jason "Dono" Kneuer. Jason, a graduate of the Air Force Academy, was facing an array of challenges from a less than favorable sortie performance assessment. Cathy passed on my business card to her husband, aware that he might be interested in some leadership coaching. We met that very next week at Starbucks and the rest is history. Dono would go on to become known as "the military coach" working and learning, side-by-side with his civilian coach. He will inherit the Command of the Maintenance Group in October of 2019.
"Congratulations Mitch on your leadership accomplishments. MXG will continue to be in good hands with Dono at the helm."
Coaching the 140th Maintenance Group
I spent the next year engaged in Cognitive Performance Coaching with some of the finest minds I have ever had the privilege of working with in my lifetime. This coaching initiative was completely pro-bono, a service to The United States of America and a tribute to a courageous group of soldiers. Maintenance Commander Col Mitch "BC" Neff, fighter pilot and newly appointed leader, welcomed the support. We collaborated on what proved to be a unique coach-in-residence project, offering one-on-one coaching, team coaching, and group workshops.
The one-on-one coaching sessions were the essence of the coaching residency, allowing each leader to connect concepts and principles to their performance. Each member of the L-Team met individually three times spread out over three months. Coach used the Cognitive Performance Coaching wheel to guide each session, working through the development of personal vision, identifying challenges and gaps in expertise, and creating a plan for enhancing performance. Lt Col Kneuer participated in a selection of these coaching sessions as an observer and a coach-trainee.
Learning Organization Presentation
Professor Steve Raymer, Air Force Academy
One of the foundational works that drives Cognitive Performance Coaching is Peter Senge's The Fifth Disclipline; The Art and Practice of the Learning Organization. While Dono and I were deep in planning this shift toward developing a learning orientation within the MXG, he invited his colleague Professor Steve Raymer to share in some research he was doing at the Air Force Academy. His theme was Learning Organization Theory, virtually the same genre that we had initiated back in January. We beamed during his entire workshop, knowing that we were all headed in a powerful direction, together.
August Conference: A Leadership Jigsaw
Building on one of Spencer Kagan's workshop designs, the team created a 4-themed session that afforded all forty plus participants the opportunity to engage in each of four topics: Change in Organizations: facilitated by Lt. Col Jamie Pieper, Organizational Culture facilitated by CMSgt Ed Hauschild, Leader Development facilitated by Lt Col Jason Dono Kneuer and Learning Organization Theory facilitated by Coach Doug Goffman. Commander Mitch Neff provided the workshop overview. Over the course of a four-hour workshop, the airmen of the 140th engaged in dialogue, study, conversation, culminating with a teach-back session.
Interactive Workshop: December 1, 2017
Leadership Potential and The Crucible
Prompted by a provocative article on Leader Potential, the MXG Leader team wrestled with the complex question and issues around... how to identify, nurture, and develop a strong the leadership pipeline? ...and... how to measure and identify talent in young airmen? This two-part workshop proceeded to challenge each leader to identify their crucible experiences and what skills and abilities emerged from those experiences. (from the work of Warren Bennis, noted author on leadership.)
Collaborative Workshop: April 6, 2018
Leadership is a Conversation:
This unique workshop session was designed by the MXG leadership team as a forum for conversation. Six team-leaders engaged an audience of 80 airmen by delivering a series of brief question-focused talks and then let the conversations unfold. Lt John Stephen served as scribe, taking copious notes of the proceedings and delivering a follow-up synopsis to all participants.
Facilitators and Topics were:
CMSgt Dennis Driver: Leader Development
SMSgt Brett Kitzman: Shared Vision
SMSgt Joe Wheeler: Accountability and Responsibility
SMSgt Mark Bond: Organization
SMSgt Melissa Deal: Building Trust
2nd Lt Steve Jordan: Change: Shift the Paradigm
CMSgt Tim Buckner: Personal Mastery
Coaching The 140th WING
One year in, Wing Commander Brian "Ike" Turner, invited this coach to expand his involvement to become Coach of the entire 140th Wing. What was a successful project with the Maintenance Group, now expanded to include the Operations Group, Civil Engineering Group, Mission Support Group, Finance Group, Logistics Resource Support Group; Medical Support Group; the 233rd Space Group; and finally, the newly formed Space Group at Peterson AFB.
As self proclaimed Coach-in-Residence for the 140th WING, I now had access to a world of leaders who cherished the opportunity to learn and grow. We organized more than 200 individual coaching sessions; in excess of 12 team workshops; and more than 20 group conferences.
Coaching Highlight: The WING Leadership Team
Once a month, Col Turner gave his L-Team to "the coach" for a 30-minute, rapid-fire, "What's New in Leadership" chat. With a formal agenda in hand, this Coach engaged this powerful group in myriad themes and topics. "It was such a privilege to stand before that team each month... an honor I will treasure for the rest of my days."
LRS Logistical Resource Support Group
Commander, Lt Col Susan Ruby
Lt Col Susan Ruby, as commander of LRS Group, immediately latched onto the coaching opportunity. She demonstrated a penchant for learning and was one of the first commanders with the latest Harvard Business Review on her conference table. Susan and I engaged in a series of one-on-one coaching off campus sessions and went on to plan various workshop for her team. One highlight included an off-site that she and her team organized using the jigsaw framework that MXG designed.
140th Civil Engineering Commander
Lt Col William M. Smith
Our first chat came at Panera and we spent hours deeply engaged in conversation about leadership and learning. Bill was clearly an academic with a passion for the intellectual exchange. I had already been meeting, one-on-one with SMSgt Megan Legacy, emergency management specialist and one of the most inspirational coaching participants from the WING. Megan came to each chat with intentionality and absolutely thrived on the coaching relationship. With Lt Col Smith's support, we organized one of the most vibrant workshops, in part due to the active participation of this Commander.
Finance Group: Commander Lt Col Randy Kehn
The Finance Group, lead by Commander Randy Kehn and SMSgt John Zosh signed on for both coaching and team-workshops, looking for opportunities for their talented team to learn and advance. It was during one of the Finance workshops that we had a visit from The Director of the Air National Guard, Lt Gen L Scott Rice.
Joint Force Headquarters
Col Chrissie Fitzgerald
One of the regular monthly attendees of Col Turner's Leadership team was Col Chrissie Fitzgerald, Commander of the Joint Force Headquarters located in Denver, Colorado. Chrissie and I engaged in one-on-one coaching first and then began a collaborative effort to organize just the right workshop for her talented team of young leaders.
State Command Chief, CMSgt Jim Hoefs
Chiefs play a huge role in the COANG and Jim leads that campaign. We met more than we could count on one hand in one-on-one coaching. Chief Hoefs was such a diligent participant in the coaching process, determined to advance his knowledge with each encounter. We organized a fabulous workshop with his team at State Command Headquarters, a group energized by this spirited leader.
Commander Michael J Bruno,
233rd Space Group, Greeley, CO
Col Michael J. Bruno was consistently an avid participant on Col Turner's L-Team sessions. He was one of those special leaders who was always so very eager to have a look at the learning agenda and participated freely in those leader-conversations. His positivism always ignited the event. We planned and orchestrated a workshop at his site in Greely, Co. His team was responsive, academically focused, and eager to engage.
It was at this session that I came to know CMSgt Phillip J Wagner, also of the 233rd, who would later introduce this coach to the new Space Control Initiative at Peterson Air Force Base in Colorado, Springs. It was obvious early on that Phil Wagner, like Jason Dono Kneuer, was destined to become a coach and a colleague. Phil and I split the distance between Greeley and Denver, holding regular meetings at Barnes and Noble, a perfect site for the academic pursuit of the coaching exchange.
The Future Business Leaders of America hold state and local conferences for high school students who have an interest in business and leadership. Being immersed in the 140th coaching connection, I invited Dono and then Phil, to participate as co-presenters in a stimulating series of workshops on coaching. Kudos, coaches, for sharing the stage with me in a "2-mic" presentation.
The Director of the Air National Guard
During one of the team workshops, we were honored to receive a visit from Lt Gen Leon Catfish Rice, Director of the Air National Guard at the Pentagon. He seized the opportunity to share a few eloquent words with the audience and honored me with his personal coin (a tradition that was new to me and an overwhelming honor). Col Turner took the opportunity to present me with his personal coin, as well. I now have a collection, each of which shares special meaning and value.
Keynote Address: Leadership Conference at Andrews AFB
The following week I received an invitation to deliver a keynote address for the DANG, as Lt Gen Rice is known. The leadership conference came off in June of 2018 and was held at The ANG Readiness Center at Andrews AFB. I was able to share my passion for Leading and Learning with a team of leaders who are serving at the highest level in our Nation's capital, with the mission of protecting our freedom.
WING Commander Col Turner was a visionary leader. One of his innovations included the creation of the CSS Enterprise, a human resources organization responsible for fulfilling a vast array of processes and protocols. One of the COANG leaders who took full advantage of one-on-one coaching was Lt Col Hope Schrader. With support from SMSgt Matt Mensch and SMSgt Megan Metzger, we tailored a workshop that took place in April of 2019 for a talented team of Airmen.
Promotion: Honorary Chief Master Sergeant
One final honor bestowed upon this coach occurred in February of 2019. I was given my stripes, proclaimed honorary Chief Master Sergeant, in a moving ceremony, hosted by Col Turner and colleagues. photos provided by the very talented COANG photographer John P Roher, SMSgt USAF
Colorado National Guard Conference
In April of 2019 I was invited by Chief Master Sergeant Lisa Perry to provide a keynote address to an audience of Army and Air National Guard Leaders. Chief Perry was one of the key COANG leaders supporting both one-on-one coaching and the organization of workshops for her team, the Mission Support Group. The theme for the Colorado National Guard focused on Innovations in Leadership represented by more than 50 book titles, featuring some of the best authors on the Leadership scene. Cognitive Performance Coaching is about becoming as smart as you can be and these resources are the key. I was able to share the original theory entitled, Cognitive Assimilation; a strategy for using and retaining key principals of leadership.
Please click on the books on the contact page of Cognitive Performance Coaching to see a three page list of the latest and greatest books.
The slideshow link features more pictures from this esteemed conference and other prestigious coaching events.
photos compliments of a talented young photographer, Allie Bess