We want to give you a peek inside our Coach Certificate & Mentorship Program. Coaches taking part in this academic-year-long journey have graciously given us permission to post some of their learning and reflections from the private coursework they are undertaking during this program. Where possible, we have shared the course and the action task to give context for the guest post.
The Topic: Foundations of Success
The Task: Share an (informal) evaluation of your coaching program
What’s working well? What’s in place?
After looking through the various videos and resources provided in The Coach I feel like we have a lot of positive things in place. This is year 3 of our Coaching program, and like a lot of the resources mentioned, we built the program after having the people. We spent a good amount of time last year intentionally rebranding the program and clarifying things like our purpose and definition. At the beginning of this year we went around to all the schools to present the coaching program and the changes that were made based on the teachers feedback from the previous year, and our own learning as coaches. We shared our vision statement, purpose, and clearly defined the coaching program. In addition, we developed more of a system for ways we can support teachers and simplified the process for signing up for a coach. Much of this work was focused on removing some of the barriers that teachers are facing in regards to coaching. One new thing that we are doing this year that is working really well is having a theme for each month with a menu of ways teachers can get coaching on a variety of topics. We also include resources and one-pagers that we feel would benefit the teachers. To reach a larger audience, we attend the high school faculty meetings to present one thing from the menu and ways to follow up with us. The interactive menu and attending faculty meetings has allowed us to get quality materials and effective strategies in the hands of all teachers. It also keeps coaching at the top of everyone’s mind and reminds them we are here for them. We often see an increase in bookings after the menu goes out or after we present.
What’s not working? Where is there room to grow?
There is always room to grow! In looking at the article “Four Essential Conditions for Instructional Coaching,” condition 1 and 2 really resonated with me. Condition 1 is about school culture. Some of our schools have more of a coaching culture than others and it’s easy to see how school leadership affects this. We also have pockets of teachers that are in the place where they don’t see how they have the power to change issues. The article shares that it will take a strong leader to change this and this is one place where we have room to grow. This can be done at the admin level and also at the teacher level.
Condition two, structures for collaboration, is another area where we have room to grow. Teachers already feel stretched thin, and giving up anymore time is something that is hard for them to do. As coaches, we have worked to free up time during PD days for some of the important coaching we feel needs to happen. We also try to provide building subs to cover rooms when available for coaching to happen. More consistent and regular time is still needed and is still something we strive to get in place. Last year, we had half days every other Wednesday, which was amazing for coaching. We would love to have something like that again. Upon reflecting on this article, we are going to focus our next month’s theme on teams of teachers inviting a coach in to work on one of the strategies that we have already shared with them this year. This is another strategy that will allow us to support larger groups of teachers
Find YOUR Unique Voice as a Coach!
We know that coaching conversations are an art. Finding just the right questions, just the right tone, and just the right phrases for YOU as an instructional coach, that work just right with your coachees, is a special skill. When we hear highly experienced coaches having a coaching conversation, their conversational choices seem so natural and easy. That’s because they have found their voice as a coach! Are you ready to find yours?
Join Kim for a free workshop, available right now, to learn the concrete strategies that I use with my private mentoring clients and inside The Coach Certificate and Mentorship program! Bonus: it’s pre-recorded, so you don’t have to wait to watch – and you can pause & replay whenever you need it! Are you ready to feel just as natural and confident in your coaching conversations as your coaching idols? Check out the Finding Your Voice as an Instructional Coach workshop at http://edurolearning.com/voice to get started!
How do you think you got to where you are now?
I know that we got to where we are now by having leadership value coaching and provide us with our own professional development whenever possible. On top of being a part of this microcredential, we have been sent to trainings, are part of a local coaching network, and have access to resources we find valuable. Not only has this helped our growth, but we are able to talk with teachers about how we are continually learning as well. When I shared what coaching is at the beginning of the year, and how it is for everyone, I shared that I had a coach and the impact it was having on me.
Using a needs assessment in the middle and at the end of the year has also helped us get to where we are. We make decisions based on teacher feedback and show that we value their input. It has helped us tailor much of what we do to their current needs.
How can you make a positive impact on your coaching program?
We have a team with 3 new coaches this year. One thing that I am excited to do is facilitate some trainings for all of us to help us have a common vision. We have a few things planned. One is participating in a real time feedback PD together, which we can then turn around and do for principals. We are also all reading a book together with a larger vision of how we can bring what we learn from the book study to the principals and the teachers.
The ebook, Coaching For Change, found in the article on building a successful coaching program could also be useful to gain insight on our coaching program. I like the idea of doing the self-assessment and the stakeholder assessment as a way for us to get a clear picture of how teachers feel about the program. Our mid-year and end-of-year needs assessment has been critical to the changes we’ve already made. This is something we will continue to do yearly so that our coaching program continues to meet the needs of our teachers, principals, and other stakeholders.
Is it time to reflect on your coaching program?
As you read through those questions about defining your role as a coach, where do you think your program is thriving, and where might it be struggling? If now is the time for you to think how you can begin the process to ensure coaching is successful in your school environment, you might like our brand new free download: Coaching Program Evaluation!
You’ll walk through all of the steps in the THRIVE model to determine where your current program needs attention – and where you’re already strong. You’ll have a clear understanding of the gaps that you need to address in your program. You can even dig deeper into the evaluation process with our upcoming LIVE webinar: 3 Steps to Create a Thriving Coaching Culture All Coaches Need to Know!
Read more from The Coach participants as they share their learning from the certificate & mentorship program…
Cary’s post: What Challenges do Coaches Face?
Andre’s post: Making It Work
Abby’s post: How Do Coaches Work? Learning from Coaching Styles
Debra’s post: The Coach Approach
Level Up Your Coaching with The Coach!
If you are ready to develop your coaching practice over the next academic year, and explore topics like the coaching balance, building and sustaining coaching relationships, and enhancing professional learning, please join us for our next cohort of The Coach! Wherever you are in building a coaching culture in your school, The Coach will give you the strategies, skills and tools you need to make coaching a success and will empower you to confidently apply instructional coaching strategies in any situation – from building a coaching program, to having coaching conversations, to being a leader in your school community. We facilitate only one cohort each academic year so we can offer individualized support for each participant. Registration for our next global cohort opens on the 21st February and closes on the 14th of March.