OSI hones coaching culture via DAF facilitator’s course

  • Published
  • By Wayne Amann
  • OSI Public Affairs

For years, the Office of Special Investigations has touted its workforce as its most valuable weapon system.

That well-earned accolade was enhanced recently, thanks to a demanding 16-week, 84-hour Department of the Air Force course, designed to establish an organizational culture that understands, values and uses coaching to amplify the development of Air and Space professionals supporting the DAF mission.

For the first time, OSI members successfully completed the newly created DAF Coaching Culture Facilitator's Course (CCFC). David McVay, Ken Sallinger, Col. Bridget Graham, and Special Agents Matt Bolduc and Nick Scott joined a select group of Department of Defense graduates March 31, 2022.

Since all the participants were from the various service branches assigned throughout the world, everyone attended CCFC virtually.

“I want you to let it settle in that you are the first of only 44 in the Air and Space Force, and the first of over 100 from the military services to be selected to accomplish this first Inter-service group,” wrote Sallinger, OSI’s Organizational Development (OD) director, in a congratulatory email to his fellow graduates. “I would say that’s noteworthy and historic.”       

Sallinger explained that while OSI’s OD has delivered specific coaching skills for many years through its Leadership Challenge Forum and Practical Problem-Solving forums, the CCFC will continue to build on those foundations for the future.

OSI grads appreciate the significance of their participation.

“I was honored to be part of this first group,” said Bolduc. “Coaching is a key aspect of the OD portfolio. I’m passionate about OD and this course fed directly into that passion. Soon I’ll complete my master’s degree in executive leadership. A lot of the core concepts taught in my program directly align with what OD is performing for OSI. This coaching training sharpened this much needed skillset.”

“I’ve been through coach training before but this course was much more thorough and in-depth and has helped me grow as a leader,” McVay said. “Much of the coach training out there is focused on the corporate environment, while this course was applicable to coaching in any organization. The skills apply to both military and civilian members. It was an honor to be selected and attend.”

The departments of the Army and Navy joined the DAF program concept to create an interservice course offering. The DAF CCFC will prepare cohorts of participant leaders to facilitate “Coaching Culture” training sessions for interservice military and civilian personnel. 

The CCFC framework is crafted upon the core competencies of: Foundation (Demonstrates Ethical Practices, Embodies a Coaching Mindset); Co-Creating the Relationship (Cultivates Trust and Safety, Maintains Presence); Communicating Effectively (Listens Actively, Evokes Awareness); Cultivating Learning and Growth (Facilitates Client Growth).

Through CCFC-specific training, this course prepares participating leaders to facilitate training sessions at their assigned commands, a fact OSI grads understand looking ahead.

“This is a way to communicate that many in the command and the Air Force may not be familiar with,” Scott said. “This type of communication promotes personal growth based off the desires of the individual. The success of others fuels me more than anything else, but they alone define and determine their success. This course helped me better understand how I can help to facilitate that growth.”

“Our Reserve members add unique perspectives when solving challenges in OSI and our touch on issues can be more informal," Graham said. “Being knowledgeable about the command, yet slightly removed from the day to day gives a special space for coaching. I've benefited in both my military and civilian roles in becoming a more focused audience and learning to respond in ways that are attentive to others' development.”  

Coaching is a voluntary and experiential development process which facilitates change and growth in both individuals and groups. Through structured dialogue, coaches assist their clients to see new perspectives and achieve greater clarity about their own thoughts, emotions and actions, and inspire them to achieve their personal, professional and mission execution potential.

“There are many efforts underway to establish a coaching culture, one of which is building an Air Force internal coaching cadre through an online Coaching Culture Facilitator Course,” said Russell J. Frasz, Air Force Director of Force Development, in an Air Force News Service release.

Many people know about sponsorship and mentoring, but they may not be as familiar with coaching.

To differentiate among the three, Frasz said, “a sponsor talks about you, a mentor talks to you, and a coach talks with you.”