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Peer Review

Defining Success Micro-Module

by Thomas Leonard


Overall Numeric Rating:

3.25 stars
Content Quality: 3 stars
Effectiveness: 2.25 stars
Ease of Use: 4 stars
Reviewed: Jun 25, 2009 by Business Editorial Board
Overview: The material takes the form of a 3 Step Training coaching guide from This 26-page coach guide provides detailed guidance on preparing for and facilitating a coaching session on Defining Success. The guide describes the target audience for the micro-module (e.g., individuals who need assistance with setting and prioritizing life goals), offers advice on how to transition session attendees to client status, and describes the process for guiding session participants as they search for an answer to the question: How do I define success for myself? A briefer client guide containing a quiz and worksheet also is included.'s home page describes Coachville as the original global community for Coaches with over 25,000 members in over 70 Countries. Important note: The material is licensed and requires the purchase of a $19 teaching license.
Type of Material: Workshop & training material (a coaching guide)
Recommended Uses: This life-skills workshop has been developed for non-academic purposes. However, a university instructor might elect to conduct the workshop as an orientation for adult students who are returning to College or even for freshman students in a more traditional college setting. In both cases, the objective would be to provide incoming students with a goal-oriented focus. Presenting or critiquing the workshop might also be useful exercises for courses in which the topic of coaching (e.g., executive coaching) is covered.
Technical Requirements: The web site is easily accessed with any Internet browser. The guide is downloadable as a PDF file for which Adobe Acrobat Reader is required. The site contains two links (RealAudio and MP3) to a 45-minute audio recording of an actual Defining Success TeleClass. However, both audio links appear to be malfunctioning.
Identify Major Learning Goals: Learners will develop three personal definitions of success. Learners will develop an understanding of how articulating their personal definitions of success can also help them to realign their life, goals, priorities, relationships. Also can assist life-coaches with clients.
Target Student Population: The material is intended for all audiences. Depending upon an instructor's teaching objectives, the material could be used at either undergraduate or graduate levels. The coach guide offers the following specific guidance with respect to the target audience. The defining success MicroModule is useful with anyone at any age. And, it is particularly useful with individuals who: 1. Keep changing their goals or are easily distracted. 2. May know their values but don't know how to orient around their values. 3. Aren't sure what their real priorities are in life. 4. Have goals but those goals aren't being accomplished. 5. Need some help with defining who they are.
Prerequisite Knowledge or Skills: No prerequisite knowledge or skills are required to surf and read the guide.

Evaluation and Observation

Content Quality

Rating: 3 stars
Strengths: The material likely provides an uplifting or enlightening experience for participants who wish to reflect on their personal definition of success and on how this definition may impact their achievement of life goals. The material also serves as an illustration of coaching, albeit a simple one. Materials are concisely written.
Concerns: There is a lack of scholarship evident on the site. The workshop and guide represent an experience that is not clearly connected to a concept or subject matter discipline. Instructors who present the workshop to students would have to develop this link. For example, an instructor in an Organization Development course might wish to present the workshop as an example of coaching that students could both experience and critique. However, it is a better example of life coaching vs. executive coaching.

Potential Effectiveness as a Teaching Tool

Rating: 2.25 stars
Strengths: Short and self-contained.
Concerns: The material's purpose in an academic setting would seem somewhat limited. If an instructor wishes to provide students with an opportunity to articulate and reflect upon their personal definitions of success, then the workshop would serve the purpose for which it is intended. If an instructor wishes to use the workshop to illustrate a concept in the area of management & business, then the usefulness of the workshop appears less clear. Presumably the materials could serve as an illustration of coaching still, instructors would need to design a debriefing guide that highlights key takeaway from this particular style or example of coaching. Needs more conceptual grounding.

Ease of Use for Both Students and Faculty

Rating: 4 stars
Strengths: Well developed, clearly organized. Good use of multimedia and activities.
Concerns: The guide uses a multi-color, multi-section format but overall, it is of average visual appeal (mostly consisting of black Times New Roman font). The audio file for the example coaching session (which students would actually be able to hear) does not appear to be available or functioning (though a transcript is available). Somewhat oversimplified.

Other Issues and Comments: The material is a commercially available coach guide that is, to some degree, aimed at assisting coaches in attracting and retaining clients. While the workshop is associated with worthy goals, it does not really serve as a particularly sophisticated example of coaching. It has not been designed as a classroom-based experience--and depending upon an instructor's objectives, it may not serve a clear learning purpose in a college classroom.