Coaching Circles

Never stop learning

What are coaching circles?

Coaching circles are organized groups of university faculty and staff who come together around a common topic.  Unlike a typical workshop, a learning circle is focused on support and real-world conversation about challenges university faculty/staff are facing.  In a coaching circle, the members actively guide the direction of the discussion and learning.

Why join a coaching circle?

There are a lot of great benefits! A network of supportive peers you can call upon for support, encouragement, and input (a “community of care,” as the Cardinal Principles describe). They offer a  focus on a specific topic for deeper exploration of how to address them effectively, and it provides time for listening, asking good questions, and reflecting that helps every member discover their own answers and celebrates the expertise that each person brings to the conversation.

"Open" and "Closed" coaching circles

Some of our coaching circles are considered “open”. These are designed so that you can join at any time for one or all the meetings. Other circles are considered “closed”. This means that once the original deadline is past to apply, there is an established cohort that will then participate in the coaching circle going forward.

"Open" Coaching Circles

Social Media Coaching Circle

This social circle is available to anyone who manages social media for their area. Coaching circles are organized groups of university faculty and staff who come together around a common topic, in this case innovative and effective social media practices. A coaching circle is focused on support and real-world conversation about best practices and trends in social media. The group will meet during the fourth week of each month in the spring semester. If you are interested in joining the coaching circle, join the Social Media Coaching Circle Team. Have any questions? You can reach out to Christopher Dye or Amanda James.

Next meeting: Thursday, January 28, 2021, 1:00 – 2:00 pm, via Microsoft Teams. Click here to join the meeting. TOPIC: Featuring special guest, Dr. Megan Poole, UofL Assistant Professor of English, to speak on “a rhetorical approach to social media writing” with discussion about how readers engage with content, how much time before they click away and user behavior in social media. 

Campus Event Planners Coaching Circle

Available to anyone who considering how to successfully hold their events in the university’s “new normal.” Join the Campus Event Planners Coaching Circle


"Closed" Coaching Circles

Coping in the Time of COVID-19 

(Currently accepting applications for cohorts) Developed and delivered by the Center for Family & Community Well-Being in the Kent School of Social Work, this all new resiliency skills-building learning opportunity will provide a brief history and lessons learned from past pandemics – with a particular emphasis on short and long-term mental health impacts. Participants will also discuss the unique experiences and stressors of COVID-19 for the workplace, as well as challenges with managing work life balance between work and personal life. Join this circle to connect with and gain the support of your UofL colleagues and friends. 

Five groups will be running in a staggered fashion in order to make this experience available to as many people as possible. There will be two groups for staff only, one group for faculty only; and two blended groups for both faculty and staff.  

  • Faculty only: January 26, 2021 at 9am (followed by 2/2, 2/9, 2/16) 

  • Staff only: January 27, 2021 at 1pm (followed by 2/3, 2/10, 2/17) 

  • Staff only: March 3, 2021 at 3pm (followed by 3/10, 3/17, 3/24)  

  • Faculty & Staff: March 2, 2021 at 9:30am (followed by 3/9, 3/16, 3/23) 

  • Faculty & Staff: January 28, 2021 at 9:30am (followed by 2/4, 2/11, 2/18) 

Community Building Supervision Circles

(Currently accepting applications until January 25) UofL's Employee Success Center is offering a new pilot supervision circle focused on compassionate leadership and supervision. This is a 10-hour commitment over six weeks starting in February. Because the intention is to create a circle of trust, we ask that those who register commit to attending all six weeks.    

This pilot circle is limited to 10 people. If we are unable to place you in the pilot, we will let you know and be sure to notify you when future opportunities arise. Please indicate your interest by filling out the form found at uofl.me/esc-supervision-circle by Monday, January 25.  

Description: 
Supervising people can be challenging in the best conditions, and we can all agree 2020 has not provided the best conditions. Current strategies for handling difficult conversations often leave staff feeling unsupported. Meanwhile, it can feel awkward or embarrassing to admit to peers or your boss that you’re at a loss for how to handle issues. Set within the framework of UofL’s Cardinal Principles, this discussion circle will review principles from trauma-informed supervision practices and restorative justice practices, and explore how these approaches can help guide supervisors, especially given the intensified challenges we have faced this year.  

Sessions will take place on Tuesdays, February 2, 9, 16, 23, March 2, and 9 starting at 12:30. Please note that the first and last sessions will be 2 hours; the others will be 1.5 hours.   

  • Tues., Feb. 2 12:30 - 2:30 PM  

  • Tues., Feb. 9   12:30 - 2:00 PM  

  • Tues., Feb. 16  12:30 - 2:00 PM  

  • Tues., Feb. 23  12:30 - 2:00 PM  

  • Tues., March 2 12:30 - 2:00 PM  

  • Tues., March 9 12:30 - 2:30 PM  

Circle Keepers:   

  • Blaz Bush, Director of LGBT Center on HSC Campus  

  • Lindsey Brown Ronay, Director of A&S Communication & Special Projects  

White Ally Coaching Circle 

(Currently not accepting new participants. Check back for future groups) Many of us are watching instances of racial violence and the resulting protests, and asking “What can I do?” HR’s Employee Development and Success Office is forming coaching circles for white faculty and staff who are considering how they can start or move further on their journey of identifying as an active supporter of racial justice.

Supervisor Coaching Circles 

(Currently not accepting new participants. Check back for future groups)  Explore leadership and supervision through supervisor coaching circles. Coaching circles are small, organized groups of university supervisors committed to learning together about effective supervision and leadership in monthly meetings. Unlike a typical workshop, coaching circles are focused on support and real-world conversation about challenges supervisors are facing. In a coaching circle, the members actively guide the direction of the discussion and learning. Why join a supervisor coaching circle? The benefits include:

  • A network of supportive peers you can call upon for support, encouragement, and input (a community of care as the Cardinal Principles describe). 
  • A focus on real supervisory concerns you are facing and deeper exploration of how to address them effectively.
  • A coaching model that includes listening, asking good questions, and reflecting that helps every member discover their own answers and celebrates the expertise that each person brings to the conversation.

(We will strategically work to place individuals in groups with supervisors outside of their unit/department.)

Dare to Lead Book Club

(Currently not accepting new participants. Check back for future groups)  Explore leadership and supervision through facilitated book discussion groups. We are teaming up this semester with the UL Alumni Association to read the best-selling book Dare to Lead. Author Brene Brown describes Dare to Lead as “The ultimate playbook for developing brave leaders and courageous cultures. Daring leadership is a collection of four skill sets that are 100% teachable. It’s learning and practice that requires brave work, tough conversations, and showing up with our whole hearts.”

Each participant will be responsible for acquiring the Dare to Lead book and complete the assigned reading prior to the session.

As part of the Alumni Association’s book club, employees can sign up to participate in the online community that includes discussions and resource sharing. Sign up here to join or learn more.
Employees who participate in the book club can also join an in-person discussion group to talk about the book and how it applies to their role at the University of Louisville. We will host four monthly conversations per group (concurrently with supervisor coaching circles) based on the four skill sets discussed in the book. In fact, those who sign up for one of the in-person discussion groups will be eligible to win a gift basket of items from the Alumni Association!

All discussion groups will be facilitated by a convener and will aim to be informal, interactive, and informative. Space is limited so sign up now for the time that works best for you. You must commit to attending all four meetings to be accepted into a group. At the end of the four sessions, participants can decide to continue or conclude.