Participant Spotlight

Natasha Ziegler

What was your biggest takeaway from each course?

One of the most direct and obvious takeaways from both courses is the appreciative advising model. I was very impressed by how the stages can be utilized in working with students, but also developing and supporting staff that I supervise. Both courses provide modes such as SOAR and the Appreciative Advising stages that are transferable allow a person to reflect on aspects of their work relationships, projects, programs and self-reflection at a deep level.

What advice would you have for someone who is interested in these courses but not sure which one is right for them?

I served as a part-time Advisor while in graduate school, but you do not need to be an Advisor to take away something from these experiences. Many of the tools and concepts are transferable to any job that involves working in groups, supporting and developing others at any level. I would recommend the Appreciative Administrator course for current leaders and supervisors, but also aspiring leaders who are seeking ways to develop themselves so that they may move forward in their career.

I would recommend the Appreciative Advising course for professionals who are seeking a way to improve their ability to influence and connect with students. This course taught me many tools that I could utilize to challenge my students and they in return appreciated the opportunity to reflect and support I provided. For those seeking to take both courses, participating in the Appreciative Advising course first was beneficial, as I had the opportunity to dive deep into the Appreciative Advising model and understand each stage at its core. The Appreciative Administrator course taught me new ways to utilize the model in other areas of my profession.

What has changed for you as a result of taking these courses? How has this directly benefited you?

When I took the Appreciative Advising course, it was reassuring that what I was doing was a good practice, as I come from a Counseling background and had been utilizing some of the techniques already. However, the course was able to build upon those skills and teach me new techniques and strategies for progressing through Coaching Sessions. While working with my co-workers, we connected through the excitement of implementing the new techniques and strategies to our Skills workshops and Coaching meetings. I have since incorporated the Appreciative Advising model, along with Solutions Focused therapy and the practice of Unconditional Positive regard, into the Professional Coaching training.

The Appreciative Administrator course allowed me to reflect with my supervisor about the different ways we could incorporate what I was learning into the policies, procedures, and methods we were utilizing to run the department. My supervisor and I connected a great deal on how hopes and dreams for our own leadership styles can evolve. I had a great deal of self-reflection and felt a sense of pride in connections I had made with some of my staff, but disappointment in the inability to progress through the appreciative stages with other staff. I had a great deal of reflection on how it took me years to develop my ability to support and connect with students, thus as a new supervisor, these two were something I needed to develop over time.

How has your experience in both the advising and administration courses changed your approach to your everyday work?

Overall, I learned that I need to spend a great deal of time disarming and dreaming with the people I work with - both students and staff. Disarming is never-ending and ever-changing, constantly looking at my office from someone else's point of view and reflecting on how I present myself to allow for openness and connection. Through the dreaming stage and practices, I am constantly trying to find out about the goals, dreams and skills my staff and students want to reach. While some of the students and staff are open to dreaming with me, others have a harder time opening up. Thus, I continue to practice new skills and ways of communicating to develop in these two areas. Focusing especially on the dream stage has allowed me to understand why many of my staff and students make the choices they do, based on the results they wish to obtain through each choice they make.

What made you want to pursue the Appreciative Administration course after taking the Appreciative Advising course?

As a graduate student, I attended one of Jennifer Bloom’s NACADA presentations in Orlando, Florida around 2010/2011. When I was provided the opportunity by one of my supervisors to participate in the Appreciative Advising training through FAU I was very excited to learn more about how it had changed over the years that had passed. I was also asked to participate in the program so that I could developing a training program for the Academic Coaching staff to include many of the practices.

I am always seeking opportunities to develop myself and learn new things, so when both opportunities presented themselves I was very excited. It was another supervisor who suggested the Appreciative Administration training and assisted me in finding funding to participate in the program. With having a background in counseling, a love for advising and life coaching the Appreciative Advising and Administrators models align perfectly with my beliefs and styles of helping others. Each opportunity I have to learn more about this topic and reflect with others familiar with the practices it a learning experience all on its own.

I have looked into some of the Appreciative Coaching articles, I have a copy of the Appreciative College Instruction book and continue to keep my eyes open for more publications by Jennifer Bloom. Helping support people and coach them in their pursuit of a successful life is something I enjoy doing and programs such as this allow me to develop myself in a way that will allow me to efficiently help others.

Natasha Ziegler Biography

Ms. Ziegler is the Assistant Director of Academic Success in the Center for Academic Achievement office at Florida Gulf Coast University (FGCU) in Fort Myers, Florida. In this role, she coordinates Supplemental Instruction, Academic Success Coaching, and the Step Ahead program at FGCU. She earned her Bachelor of Arts in Communication and Master of Arts in School Counseling from FGCU and is currently pursuing her Ed.D. in Higher Education Leadership at FGCU. Ms. Ziegler served as an Academic Success Coach for six years while working within the Center for Academic Achievement, and previously functioned as a part-time advising assistant within the First Year Advising Office at FGCU while attending graduate school. She has taught multiple undergraduate course sections of Step Ahead Success, Effective Learning, and University Transition since 2014, and most recently assisted in the creation of a graduate-level Helping Skills course for higher education professionals studying at FGCU. She holds a level 2 certification as a Learning Center Professional through the National College Learning Center Association. She is a recipient of FGCU’s Team Faculty Service Excellence Award for 2017 and the National Board for Certified Counselors, Inc. (NBCC) Foundation Award Scholarship. She is presently participating in training to become a Board-Certified Coach. She has a great deal of experience working with first year and academically at-risk undergraduate college students. She strives to continue updating the programs she oversees to provide support to college students in their progression toward graduation as well as training future higher education professionals.