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

What are your leadership strengths and areas of growth?

I feel like one of my main areas of strength as a coach is to build relationships and gain trust. As a coach, one of my main roles is to build excitement over the job and help teachers to reconnect to their purpose in the classroom and how to best meet the needs of their students. I have learned the importance of really listening to a teacher and recording their thoughts and ideas. I want to continue to grow this practice and work on asking good questions that draw ideas out of them. As a K-12 instructional coach, who can coach in any subject area, I also want to continue to work on systems and processes that keep me organized and help me to make a larger impact.

What type of leadership feels most comfortable for you?

The article “What Kind of Leader Are You? 8 Common Leadership Styles 9 and Their Pros and Cons)” listed a variety of leadership styles. The type of leadership that felt most comfortable was transformational leadership. I am highly motivated to find better ways to do things that will remove barriers for both our teachers and the students. I find that when I work with teachers I often encourage them to think outside of the box and be willing to take risks. I am known for saying that they can invite me in to try something new with them and that it might go well or might go horribly wrong, but I’m game for trying new things out to see what works. I enjoy giving people autonomy and allowing them to be creative and solutions-focused. I struggle when I am with teams that feel like what they are doing is working, when I can see and/or the data shows that it clearly is not.

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

I demonstrate leadership by maintaining a positive attitude and being solutions-oriented. I feel like I do well thinking through problems with administration and teachers and helping to brainstorm possible solutions. I have rescued many meetings by refocusing the team on aspects that are within their control, as many times a group can get off task “admiring the problem.” I also try to model for others what I expect. If I want teachers stepping outside of their comfort zone, then I need to do the same. I recently gave teachers the same message, that if they want their students stepping outside of their comfort zones, they need to see their teachers doing the same.

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

I enjoyed reading the article, “Coaches as System Leaders”. Working at a larger scale and with administration to make more systems changes is where I have recently been drawn. The part on districts organizing to “focus relentlessly on instructional improvement” hit home. We are seeing widespread issues returning to school this year. I am beginning to plan a book study with my coaching team and would love to take it to more of a district level to impact broad change. Being confident in my ideas and moving them forward is my next step. As a perfectionist I tend to overthink and overanalyze everything and end up in analysis paralysis. This brings me right back to the importance of modeling stepping outside of my comfort zone and trusting that if things don’t go the way I intend that I can problem-solve and learn from mistakes that are made.

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

Karli’s post: The Coach Approach

Debra’s post: Essential Skills for Coaches

Kate’s post: Seeing Yourself as a Leader

Andre’s post: How to Have a Coaching 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!