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 for Success

The Task: Individual reflection on leadership

When I sat down to complete this post, I honestly struggled a lot. I was focused on how I am a leader as a coach and felt the imposter syndrome set in something fierce. I had grown into a leader within my teacher role over the last 8 years but felt like once I moved into my role as a coach, I was back to square one. If you asked about how I was a leader in my teacher role, I could rattle off my answers to these questions in no time. Thankfully in my chats with Kim, I just had to look at what I was doing as a new coach from another perspective and see how what I felt were leadership strengths in my teaching role presented in a different way as a coach.

What are your leadership strengths and areas of growth?

I think that my leadership strengths are connecting with others, being in tune with the emotional state of the room, and thinking outside of the box. I like to tackle challenges creatively and set the bar at an attainably high level within the classroom. How I can connect with teachers and build trust with them helps to motivate them to join in creative problem-solving and taking risks, especially with technology. During my graduate program, I spent a great deal of time working with administrators, learning about processes and decision-making within their roles. And I feel like having that experience helped put more perspective on my own work. Trusting in the process of curriculum planning, working with programs that I may not entirely agree with but are the selected program, and respectfully advocating for teacher needs; as well as student needs was also a big takeaway from that work.

My areas of growth are for one, not letting the imposter syndrome set in, and second being a “fixer” – while I want to remove obstacles for teachers the growth needs to come from them with my guidance, I can’t solve all their problems for them. It means so much more if they are empowered and build the capacity within themselves.

What type of leadership feels most comfortable for you?

The leadership style that feels most comfortable for me is transformational leadership. Transformational leadership takes the best qualities from all the other types of leadership and uses them to motivate staff and students towards goals. They are always looking to the future and communicate that to the staff. Transformational leaders set high expectations. They encourage others and provide support and inspiration.

How do you demonstrate leadership (formal or informal) in your school setting?

Thinking about this question in terms of when I was in the classroom myself, I feel like I could rattle off a whole slew of answers. As a coach, I feel like this year I am still finding my way in the position, and how I can make it my own. Reading through the articles I could rattle off ways that I lead as a teacher but had to pause to think about how I brought these skills into my coaching role and how I showed these skills as a coach.

I definitely demonstrate leadership in terms of working through negativity towards programs the district has in place. It is easy to go down a negative path complaining about a program. I also portray leadership through my understanding of our reading and writing workshop programs and creating PD that helps teachers understand the philosophy and seeing the benefits of the program for their students. This was an area of my classroom I was passionate about and wanted to spark the same fire with others to reap the benefits of. I also encourage others to take risks with technology and that, yes, while using technology with our youngest learners can be frustrating and time-consuming, all the efforts put into teaching our students how to utilize the technology is so worthwhile.

What areas would you like to grow in your own leadership?

The biggest area of growth in my own leadership would be my confidence. I know I have the skills, I just have to keep a high belief in myself so I don’t let imposter syndrome downplay my strengths or abilities to lead within my role.

Read more from The Coach participants as they share their learning from the certificate & mentorship program…

Tina: What Challenges Do Coaches Face?

Becca: Dealing with Challenges

Kate: Working with Adults

Karli: In Practice: Post-Observation Conversation

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!