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    131st Bomb Wing implements new “Mentoring for Results” course

    131st Bomb Wing implements new “Mentoring for Results” course

    Photo By Master Sgt. Traci Howells | Col. Ken Eaves, commander of the 131st Bomb Wing at Whiteman Air Force Base, Mo.,...... read more read more



    Story by Master Sgt. Traci Howells 

    131st Bomb Wing

    JEFFERSON BARRCKS ANGB, Mo. – The Missouri Air National Guard’s131st Bomb Wing took another step toward building a strong foundation of professionally developed Airmen as 48 members attended the Wing’s new Mentoring for Results seminar here during August drill.

    The course was recently added to the growing list of opportunities now being provided to 131st Air National Guardsmen. It was developed specifically for the unit by the Center for Creative Leadership, in line with 131st BW commander Col. Ken Eaves’ vision of establishing professional development training throughout the wing.

    "Three years ago, we sat in the office figuring out where we needed to go as a unit," Eaves said. "We realized there were no programs in place that purposefully developed all the Airmen in our wing."

    One of the biggest issues identified, Eaves said, was the inability of Airmen to properly give and receive feedback. That led to him seeking out a course that would help teach mentoring skills. What started with a simple Google search eventually led to Eaves working with CCL’s strategic partner in government solutions, Tom Gaffney, in order to build a tailored program to meet the wing’s needs.

    The overall goal is two-part, Eaves explained. The course is designed to ensure all Airmen know how to give and receive feedback and, more broadly, create an environment in which members are always looking to mentor and be mentored. He added that the training teaches communication skills and how to engage with others in a more effective manner, which benefits them in all areas of their lives.

    "This is the initial action in a culture change," Eaves said. "Mentoring and feedback are essential elements in a successful organization. The goal is to make this a normal part of everyday business so we don't have to discuss the need for it...it's just who we are."

    In order to bring this training to the entire wing, 12 Airmen were chosen to attend a train-the-trainer course in Denver, Colorado. On the first day, they attended the 8-hour course and then learned to teach it over the next two days.

    Gaffney said the one-day course is taught in three parts. First, the instructors teach in a traditional way, instructing on various feedback models and learning tactics. Then, the participants take self-assessments to determine how they best communicate. Finally, the afternoon is spent performing scenario-based practice sessions.

    “Mentoring and coaching are competencies that many organizations are trying to develop,” Gaffney said. “When we work with their mentoring style, we are helping them become better mentors. They become more effective and additionally learn to get more out of the mentoring they receive.”

    Senior Master Sgts. Carla Hampton and Larry Morgan, both human resource advisors for the 131st BW, have been involved in the Mentoring for Results course from the idea to execution stage. Both agreed the courses have been positively received by the attendees and noted that many said they wished they would have had the training sooner.

    “It gives people a foundation of how to have critical conversations and tools to build upon supervisory relationships,” Hampton said.

    Morgan added that these skills are becoming even more necessary as the Air National Guard continues to operate as a Total Force.

    “Airmen are starting to understand there needs to be a culture change,” said Morgan. “We are developing more effective leaders.”

    CCL has leadership programs across the entire DoD but also works with civilian agencies, many of them Fortune 500 companies.

    “Most of the work we do for the military is modified,” Gaffney said. “It’s not that the military has particular challenges that are so much different than its civilian counterparts; the stakes are just much higher.”

    Gaffney said, ultimately, the course aims to strengthen the unit and make it better for future generations of Air Guardsmen.

    “It would be great if the military didn’t have to exist, but that’s not reality,” Gaffney said. “Therefore, me, CCL and Col. Eaves want to help make the unit as strong as it can possibly be.”

    More than 100 Airmen have received the training since its implementation. The 131st BW plans to train an additional 12 instructors per year to ensure the program continues into the future.

    "At the end of the day, if we have made any of our Airmen a better supervisor, we have made them more proficient at their job," Eaves said. "And, we've created a stronger force overall. It's one eight-hour day for a lifetime of change."

    More information on the Missouri Air National Guard’s 131st Bomb Wing can be found at http://www.131bw.ang.af.mil/. For more information on the Missouri National Guard, visit http://moguard.com/.



    Date Taken: 08.08.2017
    Date Posted: 09.13.2017 11:14
    Story ID: 248082

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