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.

Watch Darby’s Video

Read Darby’s Reflection

What goals did you set for yourself at the beginning of the program?

My original goal was to be able to articulate what coaching is. Providing sound definitions that were more than superficial was important in being able to actively engage in conversations about the value of coaching. Having an understanding of definitions of coaching and how this would differ from my previous experiences with consulting and collaborating was important and my goal for entering this program.

How did each milestone support you in reaching your goal?

Each step helped me further clarify what my role might be if I were to assist the creation of a shared definition of coaching for my high school and my department. By creating an FAQ and also developing question stems, I was able to begin to devise ways that I would enter into conversation with faculty who had not heard of instructional coaching and would have an introduction to these concepts through me. I used the milestones as an opportunity to consider what fears and concerns those new to Instructional coaching might have and how I might support the creation of a common framework of understanding.

What has been your biggest area of growth in the program?

Being able to develop a sound understanding of instructional coaching that I can begin to share with faculty as I practice my skills in an informal setting. I do not have a formal position, but I will be part of supporting the development of a culture of coaching in the upper school.

Where do you still have room to grow?

I would love to continue to practice the process of the instructional coaching cycle and the flow of questions that can assist in this process. Likewise, I would like to fine tune my ability to draw upon data as a support mechanism in asking clarifying questions and allowing for more effective reflection on teaching.

What would you do differently next time? What did you learn?

I would not be as hesitant to jump into the practice of instructional coaching. I realize I didn’t need to be perfectly prepared or equipped with every tool in my toolbox before I began to dabble in coaching conversations.

How did the Coach support you in your learning journey?

My coach was a behind-the-scenes cheerleader providing ideas and guidance throughout the process as someone who is completely new to the process and not currently an instructional coach. I felt that this wasn’t such a leap into a new field but a skillset where I could reflect upon many of the skills that I have already developed as an educator.

What next for your professional learning?

I’d like to find ways that I can integrate my refined skills in cognitive coaching and find the intersection with instructional coaching so that I can continue to work with faculty in a supportive manner. I would also like to apply instructional coaching to the implementation of DEI initiatives at our school. I feel more equipped for authentic conversations because of this program.

Level Up Your Coaching with The Coach!

If you are ready to dive deep into your coaching practice, to help you #coachbetter and build a thriving coaching culture in your school, 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.

Coaches of all levels are welcome: you’ll start the program with a self-assessment to determine exactly what the next steps are for you!