I believe everyone can be a coach. School improvement is a collaborative effort and all members of a school community benefit by understanding the role of coaching and coaching strategies as part of professional practice. When I’ve facilitated workshops on coaching with educators, I’ve often asked participants how they already see themselves as coaches. Surprisingly, a number do not particularly see themselves as coaches because their job titles or descriptions do not include the words “coach” or “coaching”.
The key to addressing this perception of themselves is having educators focusing on defining ‘coaching’ and its different aspects and then reflecting on their own roles, responsibilities, mindsets, and actions that would be considered aspects of ‘coaching’ to broaden their view of coaching. It’s easy to get limited with what we think is “coaching” or who we see as “coaches” in an educational setting instead of looking at all the ways that we do “coach” others.
I often share a quote from Elena Aguilar’s work in The Art of Coaching to start this conversation. “The art of coaching is doing, thinking, and being: doing a set of actions, holding a set of beliefs, and being in a way that results in those actions leading to change.“ In her book, Aguliar also shares a quote from author Tim Gallwey that reflects this sentiment. He states, “Coaching is the art of creating an environment, through conversation and a way of being, that facilitates the process by which a person can move toward desired goals in a fulfilling manner.” Both of these descriptions of the ‘art of coaching’ focus on what we are doing to support others in working towards their goals and making changes.
1: Reflect on how you support others through conversations and positive intentions.
Look at coaching through a broader lens based on goals and change. If you need a place to start, how do you do this with students?
Secondly, we can look at a “coaching mindset” which is a reflection of our beliefs and “way of being” that impacts our actions with others. One of my favorite articles on coaching mindsets is “Cultivate coachability with these 5 mindsets” by Julie Winkle Giulioni. Giulioni states that these mindsets “…are required to enhance one’s ability to help others realize their potential, perform optimally and engage in continuous learning.” They include our mindsets about relationships, listening, growth, accountability, and support which all impact how we interact with others in a coaching manner.
2: Reflect on your mindsets about these different aspects involved in coaching.
Look at coaching through a lense of the impact of mindsets on your actions. What mindsets are already part of your “way of being” and where would you like to improve?
Finally, to give educators an idea of some different roles of coaches, I often share Joellen Killion’s Ten Roles and Responsibilities of Coaches. Given the variety of roles and responsibilities individual coaches have in their school’s context, this list provides a starting point for a discussion. The list includes: resource provider, data coach, instructional specialist, curriculum specialist, classroom supporter, learning facilitator, mentor, school leader, catalyst for change, and learner. I ask educators “What roles are part of your current job responsibilities?” “How are you an instructional specialist? A learning facilitator? A mentor?”
As educators realize they are already ‘doing’ some of the roles of a coach, even within their classrooms and teams, they can start to see themselves as one.
3: Ask yourself, “How am I a coach even if it is not in my official job title/description?”
In this sense, educators can look at how they already have experience in a variety of aspects of coaching roles. From there they might see where they want to grow as a coach with more strategies and purpose.
I will continue to believe that everyone can be a coach…and is probably already coaching others without even realizing it!
In their book, Taking the Lead: New roles for teachers and school-based coaches, Joellen Killion and Cindy Harrison point out that “Coaching occurs in multiple forms.” including with school based instructional coaches, in peer to peer interactions, and with supervisors and administrators who engage in coaching practices. I would also add that coaching can also occur with students, parents, and community members. Killion and Harrison conclude that “In whatever format it occurs, coaching enhances, refines, strengthens, and expands professional practice, and the more that it is available to professionals, the more it is likely to produce positive results in educator performance and student learning.“
My hope is that these are a few ways you can start to reflect, recognize, and celebrate how you are already a coach. From there I encourage you to explore ways to develop and strengthen the coaching mindsets, skills, and strategies you have already had.
Please share your questions, comments, ideas and resource recommendations regarding coaching in the comments below or via Twitter @edurolearning and #coachbetter.
Watch the 5 Min Friday
And for some opportunities to grow as a coach, no matter your current role, check out Eduro Learning’s The Coach microcredential and professional learning options at edurolearning.com (more below).
The Art of Coaching by Elena Aguilar
“Cultivate coachability with these 5 mindsets” by Julie Winkle Giulioni (Smart Brief)
Ten Roles and Responsibilities of Coaches and Teacher-Leaders
For an overview…
Coaches’ Multiple Roles Support Teaching And Learning by Joellen Killion and Cindy Harrison (from Learning Forward’s Tools for Learning series)
For a deeper dive…
Coaching Matters (2nd ed) by Joellen Killion, Chris Bryan, and Heather CliftonTaking the Lead: New roles for teachers and school-based coaches (2nd ed) by Joellen Killion and Cindy Harrison
Level Up Your Coaching with The Coach Microcredential
Even with the title of coach, sometimes it’s hard to truly see yourself as a coach. If this is the year that you’re ready to build your confidence (and get rid of that pesky imposter syndrome), please join us for our next cohort of The Coach Microcredential.
If you’re interested in The Coach, Tara Frost, ES Classroom Teacher in Dubai shares why she would recommend you take The Coach:
I really like how the program can be tailored to fit your needs. And I really see that the biggest priority on, Eduro Learning’s end is to maximize what we get out of the course. So if it’s not necessarily relevant at this time where you are well, then let’s change it so that, so that it can work for you. It’s a wonderful program. If I were to give any piece of advice or message to future cohort members, it is to take the course. If you are on the fence, please take it.Tara Frost, ES Classroom Teacher
If you are thinking now is the time to invest in a coach for you, please join us for The Coach Microcredential! Registration opens only once a year, and we would love to have you in our next cohort. Of course, these kind of mentoring conversations are included in The Coach, that personal connection and guidance is built into the Academy and Premium cohorts.
After a very unusual year, now is the time to invest in yourself, to build up your professional learning network of educators around the world and connect with a community that inspires you! Plus, you’ll have a mentor who is an outside sounding board who will help you get outside of the group think or tunnel vision you might be stuck in, in your school context.
Since the program is sustained over an entire academic year, you are growing with your coach over that time, helping deepen your learning throughout the course of the program. The regular meetings with your mentor will help you reflect on the coaching challenges and opportunities that you find yourself presented with.
Of course The Coach is totally customized learning. We have standard content that we share with everyone, but then each time you meet with your mentor, every conversation is tailored exactly to your needs, including regular check-ins that will help provide you with customized resources that you need to help you keep growing in your role.
If you are ready to make a bigger impact in your school context, The Coach is for you! Learn more here!