Coaches in the Workplace, Part II

By: Glenda G. Lofton, Ph.D.

Oct 23, 2018

Last week, I talked about Coaches in the Workplace and how finding a mentor – a trusted counselor, guide, tutor or coach – affected my career as a veteran teacher. During my years in the classroom, I developed many teaching and learning activities to help students become creative thinkers and problem solvers.  In one of my first graduate courses at LSU, I was assigned a publication written by Dr. Torrance, then at the University of Minnesota.  I discovered that many of the ideas I’d put into practice had actually been created by him first.  I worked to apply both my ideas and his in my quest to help or “coach” students to become thinkers and producers, rather than recorders and reproducers. 

In my first seminar in the doctoral program at the University of Georgia, I was asked to choose a topic to research during the semester.  When I chose creative thinking, the professor said, “What a terrible topic!” However, one of my fellow students leaned over and said, “Do you know that Paul Torrance is right down the hall?”  I couldn’t believe it!  Immediately I made an appointment to talk to him. I can still picture the distinguished but serious looking gentleman sitting behind his desk.  I began to explain how much I loved his work and expressed my desire to learn more, but he just listened.  Feeling somewhat intimidated by his silence, I could think of nothing else to say and lapsed into silence.  He merely smiled and said, “Young lady, my files are at your disposal.”  He then took me to a large room adjoining his office that was filled with files and books.  For the next two years, he would become my teacher, my mentor, and my friend.  When I completed my dissertation on the topic of creative thinking, I asked him to present a session with me at a meeting of the International Reading Association. The session was highlighted as one of the key events of the conference, and in a meeting room with a seating capacity of 500, there was standing room only.  Later, I wrote Dr. Torrance a letter, thanking him for his support.  I knew that the 500+ people were there because of him. In a response that was so typical of this brilliant but humble man, he replied: “The audience may have come to hear me, but you and the young teacher from Macon (who had worked with me on my dissertation) were definitely the stars of the show, and this pleased me very much.”

As I said last week, if you don’t have someone who has taken you under their wing as Dr. Torrance did with me, find someone.  An effective coach is knowledgeable, someone who cares about you as well as the job, and is a leader who can impart wisdom in a way that connects with you.  As Tommy Lofton reminds us in the foundational beliefs of Lofton Staffing, “When we help others, we help ourselves.”

About Lofton: Founded in 1979, Lofton Services offers clients the best of all worlds. We provide the responsive, personal service and flexibility of a small local firm while having the technology, resources, and infrastructure to deliver the benefits of the biggest players in our industry. Lofton Staffing can deliver the right people, with the right skills, right when you need them. Contact us today.     

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We Believe...

Relationships are built…one on one.
Know your people - match interest and talents to the tasks.
Don’t manage by numbers. (They just show if we’re on track.) People do the work.
People should feel better when they leave than when they came – and in turn we feel better.
When we help others, we help ourselves.
Great expectations: fair pay, fair treatment, teach me.
Have fun…and be better.
Work at having fun (51% of the time.) If you don’t feel it, fake it. Having fun is not slacking off. Work is more natural than play.