Welcome back to another episode of Coach.Better! In this episode of our #coachstudies series, we share a scenario with an archetypal educator and discuss how we would approach a coaching relationship with them. This episode’s archetype is a “supportive, but not really so supportive school leader.” We can all relate to the frustration of having great conversations with our school leaders, but those not translating into action. We brainstormed 8 strategies we can use with our school leaders to turn talk into action! We also discussed four stakeholder groups that coaches can collaborate with to help make things happen!
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The not-so supportive administrator
We can all relate to the frustration of having great conversations with our school leaders, but those not translating into action. We brainstormed 8 strategies we can use with our school leaders to turn talk into action! We also discussed four stakeholder groups that coaches can collaborate with to help make things happen!
Possible Conversation Strategies
1. Prepare a plan (for example, an annual PD plan). Maybe start with a framework for a plan, to open a dialogue and help them feel some ownership over the plan. Can the plan also meet one of the needs/goals of this school leader? Explain the “why”, how does this connect with the administrator’s goals. Make sure this is something the school leader can make their own, so it doesn’t leave with you when you move on. Don’t let your ego get in the way, allow the idea to be owned by others.
2. Make your actions visible. Take a photo of something great that a teacher is doing, share in social settings like at the lunch table. Notice the good things that are happening and then talk about them. It can be through social media but also face to face. It’s nice when people notice the work that you’re doing and making a big deal of it. These can also be data points that you bring back to your administrator, to ask them how we can build on this success.
3. Try a pilot of a new initiative. Work with those who are interested and then be keen to show the results to the school leader and share how we can scale it up. Come with some ideas of how you’re going to measure the success of the pilot. Some initial thoughts about what you’re expecting to see, and then have the school leader help you refine how you’re going to collect and share that information. What data do we need to see in order to make a decision? Ultimately, they are probably the ones that will make the decision.
4. Show how it solves a problem they have. How can we help school leaders see how this idea connects with an existing goal / solves a problem? Connecting the “why” back to school goals and making those really explicit and clear to school leaders. Sometimes we can see what the connections are, but we don’t always make that clear to others. We need to be careful with our language so we can make that really explicit for the school leaders. Take a “balcony view” so we can demonstrate how the initiative fits in with the other school goals. Potentially highlight parent interest (or potential complaints) on this topic as well. Getting the whole school community on board.
5. In some cases it’s an issue of timing, for example, all staff meetings are scheduled until the end of the year. If this is the case, ask to get some dates on the calendar for the next year. “It’s slow to grow.” Sometimes you just have to wait and take your time.
6. If your leader isn’t getting on board, maybe you need to get on board with their initiatives. “Check yourself before you wreck yourself”
7. Making your administrator look good. Supporting them in their presentation skills, for example. It helps them trust you and understand the value of the work you’re doing. It helps them see first hand why those skills are valuable for others in the school community as well.
8. Get students involved, as well as other teachers, so the school leader can see that others are as passionate about this topic too.
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!
Registration for our next global cohort opens once a year – check the website for details!