Leadership

Coaching vs. Advising

by Johnny Hohenstein
Director of Chapter Operations

As of late, a few of our Phi Kappa Theta Fraternity chapter executive boards have been asking about best practices when finding an advisor. In any situation, being without a mentor can make an individual or group seem a little lost. The imagery of a ship without a captain comes to mind: what would a bunch of pirates do out to sea with no chief swashbuckler to set the course?

While our organization technically does utilize and endorse an advising model (sans swashbuckling...), we prefer to use the term "coaches" when referring to the individuals in these roles. We do this in order to encourage a more dynamic relationship that emphasizes the idea of creating a two-way street communication style. The more that both parties understand that success can come as a result of collaborating and listening, the more likely both parties will find success - and enjoy the journey along the way.

Last month Phi Kappa Theta hosted its second annual Servant Leadership Summit, during which ten new Performance Coaches began their training. These individuals – a combination of alumni and community volunteers – will act as an extension of the Executive Offices. Each has the ability to offer tailored support, guidance, and challenges to three collegiate chapters.

By adding this personal level of support to chapter leadership and operations, Phi Kappa Theta hopes to be able to challenge our members to be better leaders while supporting them through difficult conversations and decisions. Performance Coaches are gearing up to hit the ground running with their chapters in January of 2019.

These two things, difficult conversation and decision making, were large parts of the Servant Leadership Summit. We wanted to treat this Summit as the foundational beginnings to a new initiative; we hoped to get all of our coaches in the same room, have intentional conversations about the Fraternity and Chapter Operations, and have each individual leave with the same action item: guide but not decide.

This notion comes from Sanford’s Challenge and Support Theory. The long and short of it is the idea that challenging an individual too much may see them buckle under pressure, whereas overwhelming support results in minimal learning opportunities. Performance Coaches had several opportunities during the Servant Leadership Summit to discuss what that means and how to navigate tough coaching conversations.

Pirate analogies aside, here are some of the principles that we discussed with coaches. Our hope is that it can translate into your own situation, whatever shape or form that may take. Phi Kappa Theta wants to extend a challenge to you: can you identify a mentor or coach within your office, profession or community at large using these criteria?

  1. Coaches in your community should first and foremost be accessible. They should want to speak with and listen to members within your chapter. They should be good listeners. In fact, some of the best mentors speak less and listen more. Find someone that will listen to a chapter's questions, goals, insecurities, ideas, etc. so that they can get a good idea of the executive board's strengths, weaknesses and desires.

  2. Coaches used as sounding boards can be a great way for student leaders to “make mistakes” without making mistakes that have long-term consequences on the chapter.

  3. Coaches should be the type of people who like to encourage others, especially coaches that identify with the mission/vision of Phi Kappa Theta. They also should be the type of individual who can gently but firmly tell someone an idea is bad without destroying creativity.

  4. Coaches should have experience and wisdom (the two don’t necessarily always go together). That is, they should have learned from their own mistakes. Think of some alumni in your area who may have had leadership experience in your own chapter.

  5. Coaches also should be willing to be “coached" by their chapter. Any manager, mentor or advisor should be willing to learn from others no matter how young, seasoned, educated — or not — someone is. Coaching is a two-way street: they coach members, and members coach them on how they want to be coached.

Interested in becoming a Performance Coach? Contact us.

How Our Chapter Grew

News-RPIDMB18B.jpg

Dr. Brown formed a personalized program for our house. This program hit home with all the brothers, talking about individuals and their struggles and putting those things into perspective as a brotherhood.

Neil Patel
RPI, ‘20
Chapter President

On October 8th, 2018 the New York Sigma Chapter at RPI was extremely honored to hold its first brotherhood retreat with Dr. Michael Brown of DMB Coaching.

Over the course of the last year many brothers have gotten to meet Dr. Michael Brown at the Boysie Bollinger Leadership Academy and IMPACT18.

After each of those events, many non-attending brothers were excited by the ideas and impact Dr. Brown had on their fellow brothers. With all this excitement, it was only right to have Dr. Brown come visit the chapter.

Over the past year the chapter struggled with passivity and ideals, Dr. Brown formed a personalized program for our house. This program hit home with all the brothers, talking about individuals and their struggles and putting those things into perspective as a brotherhood.

The key moment for us was when Dr. Brown had us write down something we are currently struggling with personally. After reading each of those anonymous struggles, many were taken back about how the Fraternity serves as that support system that each of us as individuals need.

Using the strategies taught by Dr. Brown, the Chapter formulated their personal values which allowed us to establish our first recruitment guidelines. These guidelines specifically show who were are as a chapter and why we do the things we do.

The executive board had a meeting with Dr. Brown the following morning. Despite leading a discussion from 10AM to 6PM and hanging out with the brothers from 6PM to 10PM, Dr. Brown was still lively.

He allowed us to ask questions about what we struggle with and how to implement what we talked about as a chapter.

Overall, our Chapter went into the retreat knowing about what it means to be good leaders and an even better brotherhood but being able to still be critical about these things allowed us to be even more efficient in these areas.

Also, being able to talk about tasks we struggle with made everyone more cognizant of where we look to improve!

Neil Patel
RPI, ‘20
Chapter President

ONR-RC CoS Selection - CAPT (and Brother) Michael Van Poots

News-VanPoots18A.jpg

Phi Kappa Theta Fraternity Trustee, Michael Van Poots (Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, ‘95) has been elected to be the next Chief of Staff for Office of Naval Research (ONR) Reserve Component & the next Commanding Officer of the ONR Headquarters Reserve Unit in Washington D.C.

Van Poots has nearly 25 years of Navy experience including 7 board selected command tours, a tour as the ONR-RC Assistant Chief of Staff, Communication & Policy and has served in numerous ONR-RC project/mission leadership roles. He brings to his new position a strong passion for innovation and an un-ending level of positive energy. He has a BS in Engineering Physics, a Masters in Business Administration and a PhD in Applied Management and Decision Sciences.

The CoS serves as an advisor to ONR-RC Leadership on the workforce, runs the ONR-RC staff, and is the steward of our workforce's innovation culture.

Please join us in congratulating CAPT Van Poots in his new leadership role!


About Brother Van Poots:

Captain Michael R. Van Poots hails from Sparta, New Jersey and is a 1995 graduate of the Naval Reserve Officer Training Course earning a BS degree in Engineering Physics from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Troy NY. Following nuclear power and basic submarine training, he reported to USS BALTIMORE (SSN 704) while preparing for deactivation at Norfolk Naval Shipyard. Prior to completion of final operations, Captain Van Poots made several missions from Norfolk VA, serving as Electrical Assistant. He qualified as Diving Officer and Engineering Officer of the Watch, earning the Joint Meritorious Unit Award.In October 1997 Captain Van Poots reported to USS MONTPELIER (SSN 765) in Norfolk VA serving as Reactor Controls Assistant, Chemical and Radiological Controls Assistant, Diving Officer,Quality Assurance Officer, and Damage Control Assistant. He qualified in Submarine Warfare and as a Prospective Nuclear Engineer Officer, earning the Battle “E” Award, Navy Expeditionary Medal, Navy Sea Service Medal, and Navy Arctic Service Medal.In August 2000, Captain Van Poots transferred to the Navy Reserve. He served three years in various department head roles with NR COMSUBRON SIX Detachment 504 in Reading, PA. In October 2003, he reported to NR COMSUBGRU TEN FORCE PROTECTION Detachment 2, serving as the Administrative and Training department head and Officer In Charge of force protection details in Port Canaveral FL. In October 2004 he assumed command of NR RECRUITSUPUNIT Detachment 428 in Amityville, New York. In December 2006 he assumed command of NR NSF NSA NAPLES Detachment C in Capodichino Italy, earning the Navy Meritorious Unit Commendation. In December 2008 he assumed command of NR NSF SUGAR GROVE in Sugar Grove, WV. In 2009 he was recalled to active duty as Inspector General JTF-GTMO in Guantanamo Bay Cuba earning the Joint Meritorious Unit Award (2). In December 2010, he served as Operations Department head NR USFF MOC GRBO in Greensboro NC. In December 2012, he assumed command of NR USW OPERATIONS Detachment N in Charlotte, NC. In December 2014, he assumed command of NR NRL S&T 104 in Washington DC. In December 2016, he assumed command of NR NRL S&T 105 in Norfolk,VA. In December 2018, he assumed command of NR HQ NRL S&T 100 in Washington DC and is the Chief of Staff for the Office of Naval Research Reserve Component.His personal awards include Defense Meritorious Service Medal, Meritorious Service Medal (2), Navy Commendation Medal (3), Navy Achievement Medal (5), National Defense Medal (2),Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal,Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Military Outstanding Volunteer Service Medal (3), Armed Forces Reserve Medal, Navy Recruiting Service Award (4), Expert Rifle Marksmanship Medal, Expert Pistol Marksmanship Medal, Commander Submarine Group Two and Commander Navy Region North East Letters of Commendation. He received instruction at the U.S. Navy Anti terrorism Warfare Development Center, is a graduate of the Joint Professional Military Education program at the Naval War College, U.S.Army Inspector General School, and is designated a US Naval Academy Blue and Gold Officer.In his civilian career Captain Van Poots is the Technical Services Manager for Miller Coors at the Shenandoah VA Brewery. He earned a Masters of Business Administration degree from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Troy NY. He earned a PhD in Applied Management and Decision Sciences from Walden University. Captain Van Poots is married to Holly Anne (Hurt) Van Poots of Roanoke, Virginia.They have two sons and reside in Harrisonburg, Virginia.

Trying New Things and Making a Difference

A Look at How One Small Decision Can Impact the Lives of Thousands

by Jared Grieve
Kansas State University, '19

News-Blog18D.jpg

"My advice is to take chances in your life, no matter how little, because you have no idea where you might end up."

Jared Grieve
Kansas State University, '19
2018 Phi Kappa Theta Executive Office Intern

I have lived in Kansas my entire life, so if you told me I would have a chance to live in a big city over 600 miles away, I would have just laughed and called you a liar. This past summer I had the best opportunity to do just that.

This is my story, from a small town in Kansas to making an impact around the country.

Growing up, I was what some people might call your average Midwest kid. I played football, basketball, baseball and golf. Although, I was never the star athlete or the smartest kid on the block, I knew that some day I would have an opportunity to make a positive impact on the world around me.

After graduating from high school in 2015, I decided to attend college and pursue a mechanical engineering degree. During my senior year of high school, I decided to start looking at colleges to attend. Because I have never lived out of Kansas, and probably because I was too scared to leave, I decide to narrow my search to only schools in Kansas.

Growing up, I thought the University of Kansas would be where I would end up. But the minute I walked onto the campus of Kansas State University I knew that this was the place where I wanted to live.

Bill Snyder, Hall of Fame coach, and current coach of the K-State football team said, “We came to Kansas State because of the people, stayed because of the people and returned because of the people, and that remains unchanged.” I can’t say how true this was for me.

News-Blog18C.jpg

“Family” is a word used all the time at K-State and to tell the truth, I really had no idea what it meant to K-State until I arrived on campus. Manhattan, Kansas, is truly one of the best towns in the Midwest, consistently ranked as one of the “Best College Towns in America” and I am so happy to have called this place home the past few years. The people are truly the ones that make the difference. And the people here have really helped me learn what being a servant leader is all about.

During the spring of my senior year all I could think about was how excited to move into my dorm and start college. But then I saw a letter about Greek Life at K-State. I have never considered myself to be someone who would join a fraternity, but I was interested in the idea.

Throughout that spring I attended many different recruitment events at many different fraternities. While I did receive bids from other chapters, I knew there was something different about Phi Kappa Theta.

When I joined the Kansas Iota Chapter, there were about 40 members. During my first year, I loved most of my experiences, but good things don’t always come easy. Throughout my first year, I could tell that the chapter was having some issues. There were groups forming in the house and many different visions of what a Phi Kap should be.

After the end of my freshman year a change had to be made. Unfortunately, that was a membership review, which took our chapter down to seven members.

Our chapter decided that everything we do should always live out our mission that “Phi Kappa Theta activity develops men to be effective leaders who passionately serve society, Fraternity and God.”

To make an impact on the lives of our members, this is what had to be done. That November, I was elected to the position of Chapter President.

During the second semester of my sophomore year I started to really look at what my future had to hold for me, and really, I did not like what I saw. I knew that I could be a decent engineer, but something was missing.

Through arguing with myself, I decided to change my major to Organizational Management. I knew this was a great decision from the first day. With this new major I could really see how I could make an impact on the people around me.

That summer I had the privilege to represent our chapter at the Phi Kappa Theta Biennial Convention in Washington D.C.. During the convention I learned about the open positions on the Undergraduate Advisory Committee (UGAC).

When I heard about this, I knew that this was going to be where I can start to make a major impact. After being elected to represent the Midwest Province, I was also elected as Chairman of the UGAC. With this, I also serve as a member of the Phi Kappa Theta Board of Trustees.

Through this position, I have been able to travel to the chapters in my Province assisting with things from recruitment to governance models. With this, I started to really make a positive impact on those around me.

This most recent summer was my chance to live out of Kansas for the first time. I was offered an internship with the Executive Office of Phi Kappa Theta, which meant I would be moving to Indianapolis. To say I was excited would be an understatement, but going from a population of 5,000 to 900,000 is just a little intimidating.

Facilitating at the University of South Dakota.

After getting settled, I was ready to get started. I worked on many different aspects of the Fraternity, some of which I had no idea were even a part of the operations of a not-for-profit organization. Most of my work was focused on member engagement and chapter operations, spending a lot of my time developing resources for our collegiate leadership.

With resources that we already had, I compiled and developed a day-long recruitment workshop. Not only was I able to develop the workshop, I traveled to the University of South Dakota to be the facilitator of the new program. I received great feedback from the chapter and I could tell when I left that I have made a positive impact on their chapter and possibly hundreds of members to come.

Another project that I got to work on was the planning and logistics of this summer’s national conference, IMPACT18 in Orlando, FL. The work of Dr. Michael Brown, his team of coaches, the national staff and all alumni involved made this experience an unforgettable one.

The theme of the conference was “Live Beyond Yourself” which is our fraternal commitment to servant leadership and our passion to “Give, Expecting Nothing Thereof,” Luke 6:35.

2018 Phi Kappa Theta Executive Office Staff.

This conference was extremely beneficial to everyone who attended, especially myself since servant leadership is such a major part of my life.

As I return to school I take back more skills and inspiration to make an even bigger impact on the world, investing in that which will outlive myself. I also take time to reflect on how all of this would not be possible if when I was in high school I just threw out the letter about Greek life.

My advice is to take chances in your life, no matter how little, because you have no idea where you might end up. My one small decision to even consider Greek life has made a life changing experience on my life. With this, I have left an impact on thousands of people around the country.

I have to say, I am truly blessed to have been given these great opportunities to make a difference in the lives of many. Probably the most important people who have really shaped who I am today are my parents. They are my biggest role models in my life teaching how to be loving, generous, humble and are the main reason I am able to do the things I am doing today.

I will end with a few things Dr. Brown explained that will happen if you live your life as a servant leader. Your impact will outlive you, your final days on this earth will be without regrets and your example will be emulated by others who follow.

Visit myfraternitylife.org for more information on the #myFraternity initiative raising awareness of fraternities that build better men.


About Jared:

JGrieve18A.jpg

Jared Grieve is an undergraduate student at Kansas State University. Brother Grieve is also the Chapter President for Phi Kappa Theta’s Kansas Iota Chapter at Kansas State.

He grew up in Paola, Kansas, and graduated from Paola High School in 2015. Brother Grieve is currently a senior at Kansas State University, studying business management.

He serves as Chairman of the Undergraduate Advisory Council for Phi Kappa Theta Fraternity, representing the Midwestern Province, which includes chapters in Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, Iowa and South Dakota. Through this position, he also serves on Phi Kappa Theta’s Board of Trustees.