In today’s post we’re sharing three things every coach must do – and one thing they shouldn’t – based on feedback from guests on our coach better podcast.
1: Be Visible
As coaches, we might have our own office space, but it’s critically important to be visible in the spaces where teachers spend their time: the classroom, the faculty lounge, the lunch room, hallways, etc. All of the teachers, we talked to talk about the challenge and the struggle of time, and actually having the ability to leave their classroom and go to a planning meeting with the coach. All of them talk about how valuable it is for them when a coach just shows up, even if you don’t have a planning meeting set. Even if you don’t have a specific task in mind, just showing up and meeting the teachers where they’re physically are at goes a long way to help ease their stress and struggles as a classroom teacher and to support them in their coaching needs.
2: Anticipate Teacher Needs
As a coach, when you don’t have your own classroom anymore, sometimes you kind of forget about the challenges of what it’s like to be a full-time classroom teacher. But if you can put yourself in the teacher’s shoes and anticipate their needs and know them really well so that you can support them exactly when they need it. That kind of just in time learning that we often talk about with technology, that’s a huge value to teachers by knowing your teachers, you can actually bridge the gap between the teacher’s goals and the skills that they currently have. And that’s what coaching is all about: helping them reach their goals.
3: Say Yes
The most important part of building a coaching culture in your school is prioritizing relationships. And sometimes that means helping teachers where they’re at and doing tasks that may be slightly outside of your job description. It might not be something that’s fun or interesting to you. It might be something you’ve done a hundred times before. It might be something you’ve done a hundred times before with this very same teacher, but saying yes is part of those small steps in building that coaching relationship with those teachers so that you can have a larger, more successful coaching culture at your school.
And….1 Thing Coaches Should Not Do!
Don’t make coaching more work.
Expecting teachers to have lots of time to come and plan with you what they’d like to do in their classroom, or expecting them to be able to respond to emails during the day, or even expecting teachers to be able to make consistent appointments over time is really challenging for teachers in the classroom. When you have those expectations of teachers, but you feel like they are putting up roadblocks, it might be that they want to work with you, but they just really struggled to find the time.
You can address this issue by making sure that coaching isn’t “more work”, by spending time where teachers are. This allows you to have those conversations even in an informal setting. This makes coaching feel natural and not something that takes a lot of extra time away from their current needs in their classroom.
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