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: Coaching: from Theory to Practice

The Task: In collaboration with a teaching partner, have a post-observation coaching conversation.

In my work with my coachee, I tend to fall back on a strategy of listening and paraphrasing. While our meetings tend to be called with a specific agenda, such as the chromakey lesson previously mentioned. Where my coachee already had an idea but was looking for specific integration ideas and challenges that would enable her to integrate tech, open the door to an alternative assessment and meet the requirements of her existing curriculum. I know that I traditionally have been too fast to offer solutions and therefore I am very intentional about being patient, listening, and looking for the underlying question or need that the teacher may not yet be able to articulate. While my coachee had ideas about integrating tech into their mime performance, it was only through careful listening to ideas and prompting her with additional questions that we came up with the idea of having the student interact with themselves using iPads and greenscreen layers. Our coaching interactions seem to be most rewarding to both of us when I can help her to overcome an obstacle or a situation in which she is unsure of how she might move forward. I always find myself wanting to push forward and suggest what I would do if I were teaching the lesson, but resisting this temptation, and instead of helping her to overcome obstacles yielding results that are different than what I would have done. The more important part is that she owns the idea and is very grateful that I can make suggestions that help to ensure success. The real prize is the enthusiasm and spark with which she shares her success with other teachers in her department.

Where I used to think that I could hear an idea, offer a solution, and move on, I will now be more patient in listening and helping the coachee to explore their ideas, as the experience of these successes and owning the idea carry enormous value. This is also a wonderful example of the value of experiential learning. In this case, it was a complete success. I expect that even if the lesson had somehow gone wrong, it would be possible to turn it into a valuable learning experience for all, by having an open discussion with the class and focusing on the positive aspect and turning it reframing it as a co-learning experience for both teacher and student.

As we work together my coachee has had open her PG / Next Teacher notebook and has been making notes in this OneNote file. I need to be better about documenting these conversations and the outcomes. I tend to capture the learning moments with my phone either as photos or a video but have had difficulty in blocking the time to go back and write up the results. In many ways, these assignments have been helping me to do this. I do believe that the survey and the quick observation forms I have been working on will help make this easier and make curating and exploring this data more doable when there is so little time for such tasks.

Our advance planning was described as we developed the lesson, but what was missing is clear decision-making about what success will look like and how it will be captured and measured. As I continue to work on a form and tools to help in the moment, I will be more intentional about creating a structure that works for me to capture and reflect on this information.

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

Debra’s post: Essential Skills for Coaches

Kate’s post: Seeing Yourself as a Leader

Andre’s post: How to Have a Coaching Conversation

Becca’s post: Defining the Role of the Coach

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!