The Coach Approach

We want to give you a peek inside our Coach Microcredential Online 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 microcredential. Where possible, we have shared the course and the action task to give context for the guest post.

The Topic: What approaches do coaches use to support their teaching colleagues?

The Task: Have a coaching conversation with a teaching colleague using one of the approaches. Share a reflection. Let us know:

  • How did it go?
  • What approach did you choose and why?
  • What type of response or reaction did you get from your teaching colleague?
  • Would you do the same thing again? What makes you say that?

The coaching conversation went well and was productive both for myself and for the coachee (based on her verbal feedback). Initially I explained the purpose of the conversation and the context of the course so that my colleague was fully informed. I had noticed her using some of her existing strategies successfully with students and shared this observation. The opening statement – Tell me about student learning so far – allowed the coachee to direct the conversation in the way that suited her. She talked about the issue of integrating language acquisition into her practice and the transfer of some strategies which had helped her assess student prior knowledge.

The conversation moved to a specific student whose learning difficulties made it challenging for a teacher new to language acquisition. Asking my colleague to tell me more about this student and the situation was useful as it allowed her to expand and deepen her thinking around ideas to support him, which she had in her knowledge bank already, but was unsure about their suitability in the context. At the close of the conversation she mentioned how useful it had been just to talk her own thoughts through about this student. Most of the conversation ran along these lines and I would say I stayed within the coach approach for much of it. With a colleague with this amount of experience it was important to honour and to hear her thinking before we moved any further.

Asking her what might be useful moving forward my colleague identified two goals/areas for support. Firstly she asked for ongoing conversations about the student above and support ideas where necessary. The second would lead me more into a consulting role, with support in getting to grips with managebac and the ins and outs of how we use the planning platform.

My coachee asked for a follow up conversation so she could feedback how things were going, so we have booked this in, with the aim of spending some time on the student and supporting his access to learning through looking at examples of his work and the direct support needed for the managebac platform.

I was surprised about the depth of conversation were able to get to quite quickly, and believe that this is due to the trust that exists in our professional relationship already. My colleague did say that she felt lighter after the conversation, and that it was good to share her concerns about the student. She identified a couple of strategies for the coming week and we agreed to touch base the week after to see how things were going. 

I did find that it would have been inauthentic to choose only one coaching approach in the conversation, as we moved from one area of support to another the stance needed to change responsively too. I would use this flexible and responsive approach in the future again as it met my coaches needs.

Cross-posted on edurolearning.com/blog

Read more from The Coach participants as they share their learning from the microcredential program …​

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