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 of Success
The Task: Self-reflect on your leadership
Again, another challenging topic, from The Coach course, am I a leader?
Firstly, I was interested in the comments from Diana Beabout about leadership, and it made me re-evaluate my relationship with the term. I too, like the coaches she had spoken to, connect the term leadership with the those who manage/lead the school. I use the term to mean a group of people, and not a skill set. As I see my role as a supportive peer-to-peer position, I have never considered it to be one of leadership. Nor have I ever really wanted a leadership role (or so I have always thought). Over many years of teaching and studying, I have studied what it means to be a leader and how those skills can create a dynamic working environment. However, I have never really looked at myself through that lens. Just the academics of how it works…after all leadership was for “them” and not “me”.
So I begin this blog post on shaky ground. If I make the assumption that a coach is a leader then which of the skills do I possess and which do I need to improve. I read French and Ravens 6 forms of power. Honestly, this is a step too far for me. I am just about getting my head around being a maybe leader, so I am definitely not interested in looking at power dynamics! The article that I did enjoy listening to was Kim Cofino explanation of the ways that coaching is leadership. So I am going to be looking at the list of 10 ways to evaluate myself.: Trust, Vision, Emotional Intelligence, Systems perspective, Project Management, Engaged with all Stakeholders, Data, Balanced and Inspiring/Motivational
Find YOUR Unique Voice as a Coach!
We know that coaching conversations are an art. Finding just the right questions, just the right tone, and just the right phrases for YOU as an instructional coach, that work just right with your coachees, is a special skill. When we hear highly experienced coaches having a coaching conversation, their conversational choices seem so natural and easy. That’s because they have found their voice as a coach! Are you ready to find yours?
Join Kim for a free workshop, available right now, to learn the concrete strategies that I use with my private mentoring clients and inside The Coach Certificate and Mentorship program! Bonus: it’s pre-recorded, so you don’t have to wait to watch – and you can pause & replay whenever you need it! Are you ready to feel just as natural and confident in your coaching conversations as your coaching idols? Check out the Finding Your Voice as an Instructional Coach workshop at http://edurolearning.com/voice to get started!
So if I had to have leadership strengths, from this list, then I would say Trust, Emotional Intelligence and Project management are mine. I am good with people and I think I have created an environment where people feel safe to “not know the answers” and be vulnerable. I think this has helped when I have needed to push-out whole school initiatives and when staff have wanted to talk though ideas or concepts. I would also add that I would never expect from others what I do not do myself, putting myself in positions where I also feel vulnerable, and in need of coaching is important to me. Project management is just something all teachers do. I never have just one project on the go, I always have a plethora of projects, which I constantly need to juggle to navigate my way through without dropping any of the balls (which rarely happens – I guess part of project management is knowing which balls you can drop!)
For areas of growth, there are many, but vision, and being inspiring particularly stand out. Especially vision. I think my lack of vision for my role, and myself within it, has led me to feeling a little lost and (now I have had time to reflect on it) the reason I do not see myself as a leader. The more I read and look into coaching the more I realise that this is key…unfortunately, for me, it is also SUPER hard to create……mmmm vision. What is my vision? When I have this, how can I implement it? Inspiration is again a confidence thing. I am a hard-working successful teacher, but never have been inspirational! I know I have inspired some pupils (and possibly staff) but that is normally through determination, not by just being! I have met and worked with inspirational teachers and still wonder how much is developed and now much in just naturally in them.
So onwards, ever onwards. My first port of call is to redesign my teacher feedback document. Send it out and see what I get back and then target a few kind souls to try and better understand what they want and how I can achieve this.
I am still not convinced that I see myself as a leader and definitely not as a visionary. However, I can use this idea about leadership to help get some feedback from my colleagues and hopefully improve my coaching. I will share the results when I have them.
Is it time to reflect on your coaching program?
As you read through those questions about defining your role as a coach, where do you think your program is thriving, and where might it be struggling? If now is the time for you to think how you can begin the process to ensure coaching is successful in your school environment, you might like our brand new free download: Coaching Program Evaluation!
You’ll walk through all of the steps in the THRIVE model to determine where your current program needs attention – and where you’re already strong. You’ll have a clear understanding of the gaps that you need to address in your program. You can even dig deeper into the evaluation process with our upcoming LIVE webinar: 3 Steps to Create a Thriving Coaching Culture All Coaches Need to Know!
Read more from The Coach participants as they share their learning from the certificate & mentorship program…
Ashley’s post: Building a Coaching Program
Cary’s post: What Challenges do Coaches Face?
Andre’s post: Making It Work
Abby’s post: How Do Coaches Work? Learning from Coaching Styles
Level Up Your Coaching with The Coach!
If you are ready to develop your coaching practice over the next academic year, and explore topics like the coaching balance, building and sustaining coaching relationships, and enhancing professional learning, 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. Registration for our next global cohort opens on the 21st February and closes on the 14th of March.