On the shoulders of giants – the leaders of the Coaching Sphere

On the shoulders of giants – the leaders of the Coaching Sphere

“Standing on the shoulders of giants” – Isaac Newton

After the long summer (or winter for readers from the Southern hemisphere), I would like to welcome you back to the Coaching Sphere’s blog. Last time I wanted to present you the idea behind the Sphere and my motivation for leading it (click me!). But no one can achieve great things alone. And today, I want to present you the people who make this Sphere work!

In almost alphabetical order from top left to bottom right: Eric Dustin Brown, Konrad Eibl, George Gavrilita, Ralph Glätsch, Klaus Lassacher, Cassidy Melczak, Eliana Rabinowitz, Chuanjie Seow, Riccardo Tessitori and Patrick Vorbroker and at the end myself as part of this great group of judges.

Eric Dustin Brown. USA

“My name is Eric, most call me EDB, and I am a Level 3 from Richmond, Virginia. I’ve been judging on and off since 2004, with a dive into the SCG and GP scene in 2010. I’ve been at level 3 for a little over a year. I have just taken over as the face of The Feedback Loop blog where our team’s goal is the weekly publication of new content about reviews, feedback, and accountability in the judge program. As I was coming up in the judge program a lot of us referred to it as a “Cult of Self-Improvement,” somewhere along the way it feels like we lost that. I want to be a part of this team to help change our culture so that people are more receptive to feedback and more willing to provide it (and write reviews!) to help themselves and those in their communities to get better.”

The Feedback Loop is a great source of all things feedback and a great recommendation. I particularly like (and can recommend) this article: (click me!)

Konrad Eibl, Germany

“Hey, I am Konrad (26) and in real life I work on my PhD in chemistry and also am a somewhat ambitious cook and food enthusiast. I work on the Random Situation Generator, lead the German L2 mentoring project and believe that sharing experience and knowledge is one of the most important ways to ensure that there will always be enough “new blood” in the program. My mentoring is focused on making people think for themselves, because that way people usually remember stuff.”

If you are interested in L2 mentoring Konrad is the person to speak to. He is working with mentors from Germany, but also sharing knowledge between multiple projects worldwide. The reason why L2 mentoring is part of the Coaching Sphere is that teaching judges communication and soft skills should start when they start preparing for their L2.

George Gavrilita, Italy

“In the past I’ve collaborated with the Review Expert group and with the Conference Sphere, where I learned about public speaking and body language. When not judging I’m focusing on improving the quality of my life, which means reading about sleeping patterns, nutrition, physical exercise, meditation and relaxation, willpower and habit formation: all things relevant to any judge.”

George and I worked very closely in the Conference Sphere where we were focusing not only on the content (what) of the presentations but quite a lot on the performance (how). No matter how great and important your message is, it doesn’t help if you can’t convey it. The same is true for everyday communication.

Ralph Glätsch, Germany

“I’m Ralph from Hamburg, Germany, I love the judge program for the opportunity to try out new things and learn a lot from all the nice people around. I am doing my master thesis in the branch of software development and learning in parallel how to become an agile coach. When I have time I try to improve the random-situation-generator. The tool is meant to help judges to get better with answering calls and dealing with new situations.” (link to the generator, click me!)

What is great about the Random Situation Generator is that it gives judges a great platform to practice communication skills in judge and Magic context. (I sometimes joke and say: “It gives us an excuse to learn and practice communication skills”)

Klaus Lassacher, Austria

“I am Klaus and currently living in Vienna, Austria, studying political science. Last year I passed my level 1 and level 2 test and since then I organised some local things for the judges, like the monthly regulars table or the Austrian judge conference last January. I got into judging to find challenges, new experience and new friends with it. Until now it all worked quite well. 🙂 So far for my judging, besides PPTQ´s I got some WMCQ´s, two new Natonals, two RPTQ´s and up to now three GP´s but I try to get more tournaments of every kind. It is a great thing to promote and teach soft and hard skills for judges. Everyone can use such skills and not only for judging alone. So I hope we will achieve the goals of this sphere!”

Klaus is my rock. He helps me (and rest of us) focus and get us moving when we are stuck. (He reminded me of my goal of publishing this article beginning September.) Thank you so much, Klaus!

Cassidy Melczak, USA

“I’m Cassidy from Denver. I’ve been judging since I moved to Denver in 2010 and doing GP’s pretty regularly since 2012. Sometime along the way, I got caught up in Channel Fireball’s VIP program and have been doing that more or less since it started. I started the Judge Buddy program a while back after being inspired by what I saw in my first GP in Mexico City. I wanted to give judges who are new to the GP scene a primer in common GP procedures and practices as well as giving them the start of a social foothold into the judge program since I am by nature actually super introverted and don’t make friends easily. Lately, my focus has been customer service and why most people are bad at it. And more specifically helping people be less bad at it. I’m a writer by nature and do a lot of nerdy things such as minis and tabletop RPG’s and do a good bit of outreach for a lot of different communities (I’m spending the weekend teaching kids Magic at a cool retreat).”

The Judge Buddy program is so great because it is designed to help those who are lost and confused at their first GP. Do you remember your first? I will never forget my first (GP Dortmund 2006). Back then judge briefings were on Friday and I felt so out of place surrounded by so many new people. But luckily there I met Paul who helped me understand things around me better and introduced me to others. It was a random situation of the buddy judge, but it made all the difference.

Eliana Rabinowitz, USA

“Hi! I’m Eliana, a L2 from Pasadena, CA. I am a frequent GP judge, and I’m also an extremely active member of the Judge Buddies project. I think it is extremely important that judges have the support and resources they need to improve and succeed, so I’m excited to be part of a sphere that will be creating and promoting those resources. Not everyone is as lucky as I have been as far as having great mentors, and I think we need more resources that anyone can take advantage of.”

Eliana, besides being an active member of the Judge Buddy program, was a member of the leadership team of the Education Sphere (which was broken down into Coaching and Learning Spheres). It was important to have the continuation of leadership and build on previous successes of the Education Sphere.

Chuanjie Seow, Singapur

“I actually learnt about this sphere from Ivan’s introduction about this very sphere and it resonated very deep within me. I am an L2 from Singapore and had the very special chance to have my education in different countries during different periods of my life. I wanted to join because I realised there is not much of an Asian touch in this group (Riccardo counts as half? 😛 ) I am also currently leading a mini sphere of L2 candidate mentoring in my region (currently only encompassing a fraction of the countries in my SEA region), which actually is part of the sphere Konrad Eibl is leading! I have also begun to bring the GP best practices which I have observed being used in GPs to the events I judge in such as the Buddy System, which Cassidy is heading!
As for Feedback, this is where Asians have great difficulty in. I realised there is actually a great divide between Asians and those from EU/USA when it comes to feedback. I also found that Asians generally have more problems in writing reviews simply because they are afraid to put through their “un-exceptional” feedback in case the recipient feels insulted. Minus the very veteran GP Judges, Asian judges are very adverse to give quality feedback their TL needs during the debrief and briefings unless it is done on a 1 to 1 basis which I noticed Hans has done when he is a judge manager.”

Chuanjie said it all. Communication and soft skills have a strong cultural influence and he is here to teach us all about nuances present in Asia. (And as our latest member, welcome on board!)

Riccardo Tessitori, Italy

“I’m Riccardo from sunny Italy, and I dedicated some time and articles to “feedback” (a single word that has a world behind it) in the last year, which is one of the reasons why I have been added to this group. I travel often to European and Asian GPs, and very rarely to North America. Though I am a fan of logistic aspects, I have a growing interested in what is called the “soft skills”, and I’m here to learn from you and to offer a little help :)”

Riccardo and I have spent quite some time discussing the topic of feedback in the Judge Program, at GPs, between L3s… The result of these discussions is some of the philosophies (click me!) that resulted in the creation of this Sphere. What Riccardo hasn’t mentioned is that he is heading the “L3 mentoring” project which helps L3 to develop in areas which they believe could improve

Patrick Vorbroker, USA

“My name is Patrick, I’ve been a level three for almost two years and an Organized Play representative with StarCityGames.com for three and a half years. I really enjoy encouraging judges to think more about the why of what they’re doing, not just the actions but also the reasoning behind those actions. In this way, they can use what they know to adapt when new situations arise, rather than being a deer in the headlights. I also have the somewhat unique perspective of being both a judge and TO, and I hope to contribute to a lot of the conversations we have here with the perspective of both in mind.”

Patrick and I met each other at a GP discussing the cultural difference between judging in the USA and Europe. What fascinated me was how detailed and opened his answered were to my (possibly strange) questions. Sometimes when discussing the cultural differences, going too deep on a certain subject is inappropriate, but Patrick was patiently explaining me everything.

So that is it. These are the people who are really running the show. I am extremely fortunate to have them lend me their ears and minds. But we are not a closed group. We are open for new people passionate about the subject. If you are one of them, please let me know.

Thank you for reading!

Until next time, stay well, stay tuned.

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