Applying a Coaching Mentoring Model to Shift Organizational Constructs

Concurrent Session 3

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Brief Abstract

Organizational entities are hindered by individual members' feelings of dissatisfaction, isolation, anxiety, and stress. This becomes problematic in virtual environments where individuals work inter/intra-continental with others. Applying a Coaching Mentoring framework as an approach to dissolve isolation and promote reflective thinking practices among adult learners regardless of time, space, or distance is key.


Mrs. Linda Algozzini, Faculty Director of Core Learning at American Public University, is a veteran educator who is passionate about redesigning the teaching and learning process for all learners. The mantra What you think about, you bring about is her guiding principle. Linda has had the privilege of fusing a breadth of methodologies to support understanding how one’s thoughts and actions can shape results throughout her career.  Linda’s ability to create and design effective practices has positively impacted a myriad of learning settings: Special Education inclusion to meet the No Child Left Behind federal initiative, Professional development curriculum training for educators, school improvement plans, Partial Hospital/educational programming for mentally ill or maladjusted youth and teens, and Applying a Group Coaching and Mentoring framework for higher education. The Group Coaching and Mentoring framework designed and implemented by Linda has won the Online Learning Consortium’s Effective Practice award. She will accept the honor at the 2017 OLC Innovate conference in New Orleans on April 6, 2017. Linda’s ability to effect change to improve the lives of others brings her the greatest joy. Linda authored and implemented a direct coaching, mentoring, and mentoring to teams process model design and facilitates the process in partnership with the American Public University System Center for Teaching and Learning initiative along with Dr. Grady Batchelor. Linda is a veteran educator serving in both administrative and instructional capacities within public education, and online higher education arenas.

Extended Abstract

Established in 1991, American Public University System is a fully online institution serving diverse populations including military, civilians, and corporate professionals. Academic programs are focused on preparing adult learners to be leaders and innovators in a global society.

College 100, Foundations of Online Learning, is the institution's gateway course for new students. The asynchronous course is within the Core Learning department, which serves to provide first-year or transfer, adult learners with the necessary skills to be successful online learners and critical thinkers in the digital information age.

This gateway course has had several iterations over the years, but in 2014 the course curriculum was experiencing multiple and regular revisions in an effort to maintain relevance in a changing world. Faculty were apprised of the department’s frequent curriculum changes and new initiatives via virtual quarterly meetings. These meetings functioned as top-down communication with little required from instructors other than they attend the meetings, manage the regular flow of information and be responsive to changes required in content and teaching practices.

Over time, inconsistencies in instructional delivery became evident and faculty satisfaction began declining. Working in isolation and job satisfaction was waning. Growing concerns centered on how to meet the needs of today’s adult learner, specifically those labeled Millennial’s, while moving faculty to shift instruction to more metacognitive-based methodologies. There was a need to resolve isolation, dissatisfaction, and support the development of all adult learners in becoming independent critical thinkers who could work in a global arena while functioning within collaborative teams. Thus, a Coaching Mentoring model framework was developed and applied. The framework centered on 4 category lenses to leverage organizational collective learning, inspire renewed teaching excellence by incorporating metacognitive processes, and self-regulation as it relates to motivation, cognition, and metacognition within collaborative teams using the Community of Practice model.

By definition, Communities of practice are groups of people who share a concern or a passion for something they do and learn how to do it better as they interact regularly” (Wenger-Trayner & Wenger-Traynor, 2015, para. 5). A community of practice, or CoP, has three distinct characteristics: the domain, community, and practice. The participants have a shared interest and competence in a topic or field of study. The participants have a shared community where they discuss, perform activities together, share information and resources, and provide assistance. “They build relationships that enable them to learn from each other; they care about their standing with each other” (Wenger-Trayner & Wenger-Traynor, 2015, para 8).

Applying a Coaching Mentoring model to an entire department within a higher education institution provided a micro level dimension within a macro level organization. In other words, a drilled down method of reaching an organizational structure within a macro-level organizational design. A business model canvas was applied using Osterwelder’s (2010) template design.  The business canvas allowed management to review the Coaching Mentoring model framework from an organization perspective recognizing key components of the framework that align to business thinking such as key partners, activities, value propositions, customer relationships, customer segments, cost structures and revenue streams. This added dimension allowed management to recognize that the Coaching Mentoring model framework could be adapted and utilized within any organization, entity, or educational institution.

The Coaching Mentoring model served as a method to shift paradigms in an organization who served all of its consumers through virtual environments. The Coaching Mentoring model was an expansive project that consisted of multiple layers and components that began with a Director coaching Mentor Leads, who in turn led their collaborative team of faculty through the processes of Community of Practice, Metacognition, and Self-Regulation. This coaching-to-group model had a pervasive filtering effect that shifted the thinking and practices of a micro organizational structure while impacting the adult learners that served as their consumer base.  Virtual engagement occurred in both asynchronous and synchronous sessions spanning inter/intra-continental space and time through the use of cloud-based organizational tool structures (Algozzini, Batchelor, Bessolo, Gabay & Voyles, 2016).

This presentation is for administrators, department chairs, individual instructors or corporate entities wanting the richness of an on-ground professional community while functioning in the online or global arena, with the resulting vitality that naturally spills over to adult learners regardless of representation.   Participants will observe how the isolation and dissatisfaction of individuals can be replaced with energized conversation and growth.  Attendees will find inspiration on ways to institute an intentional and systematic Community of Practice on a large or small scale level depending on the needs within their organization’s structure.


Algozzini, L., Batchelor, G., Bessolo, K. , Gabay, V. & Voyles, S. (2016, September). Moving teams forward: 10, 000 Ft. view. Unpublished internal document, American Public  University System

Gabay, V. (2016, September, 24). Community of practice segment [video file]. Retrieved from

Osterwalder, A. & Pignuer, Y. (2010). Business model generation: A handbook for visionaries, game changers, and challengers (1st ed.). Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley and Sons.

Wenger-Trayner, E. & Wenger-Trayner, B. (2015) Introduction to communities of practice.