As coaches, we’re always walking a fine line between uncovering a teacher’s experience and knowledge and sharing our own advice and strategies. We talked about the challenges of managing these deeper conversations with our chronically time-poor colleagues, and how we can tailor our work as coaches to the needs of each teacher we work with. For coaches looking to find master a deep reflective coaching conversation – with all it’s pauses and opportunities for reflection, this episode is for you!

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Show Notes

Always curious about how to go about Inspiring growth rather than giving advice or directions? (Susan Grigsby)

The balance between listening and explaining is that magic area that everyone in a coaching role is striving for. Being aware and empathetic with the person that you’re speaking with. When you have a really strong relationship with a person, you’re much quicker to pick up on what they aren’t saying, rather than what they are saying. This helps you know when you can allow them to puzzle it out, rather than directly offer suggestions. How you go about cultivating the relationship is what makes each coach special. The work that we do is with people, it’s about people, the products are people.

Who doesn’t want someone to genuinely listen and genuinely ask questions about what you’re thinking about?

The invitational qualities of a Cognitive Coaching question is what makes them special. How do you find your own voice within that invitational concept of questioning. “But if you did know, what do you think it might be?” I’m listening and I’m pushing back so I can listen some more.

It’s about knowing how far to push, and when to pull back.

It’s about finding the right question, so you can prompt more thinking, so you can ask more questions, so that ultimately there is an opportunity to find the next thought.

The empty space is the room to grow. How are you providing the empty space so people can have the mental space to grow.

Teachers are chronically time poor. As coaches, we need to be aware of that, we may have time for this slow boil of the conversation, but the teacher we’re coaching may not. If it’s something that’s so time specific, then it’s not a slow boil question.

Sometimes teachers and coaches need time to process.

Sometimes we have to let the listening take place over a longer period of time.

How do we allow the teacher we’re coaching to identify what the goals are for the conversation? What are you hoping to get out of this conversation today? What can I do right now, or in the future, to help clarify your thinking around this? This can also help clarify the ways that you can support this teacher.

Shifting the mindset about the importance of clarifying the purpose of this meeting.

My role as a coach is to help you grow as a professional. Ultimately my goal is that you feel confident and comfortable to do things on your own.

We need to have clarity about what the teacher needs, and sometimes that means asking directly. It’s ok to clarify expectations and purposes. Show the respect of asking: what can I do to help you.

It’s going to be different for every coach and every teacher that you work with.

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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!

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