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 the teaching colleague, select a focus for working together, including a lesson to observe in the next week. Have a pre-observation coaching meeting and use a coaching strategy in your conversation.

This week I began working with our Literacy Coach as my coachee. We were in a Distance Learning week so we ended up having our meeting online, but that worked out well for us.

Going into the meeting, I had a feeling which was confirmed in the first 5 minutes, that this would not actually be a pre-conference because she was not comfortable with the tech skills to actually begin having a Coaching Conversation. In fact, she didn’t even want to record the first part, but I asked if we could because this is often how conversations begin and I thought it was important to document it.

This short video is of the first part of our meeting.

This is oftentimes what it looks like at the beginning of a coaching session for tech. A teacher comes to you and doesn’t even really know what their goal is or what they want to do. They often make statements like “I want to use Book Creator” or “I want to use iMovie”, but they often don’t make statements like “I want to teach my students how to publish their work.” The first part of our conversation was centered around finding out what Maureen needed from me as she had mentioned that she wanted a goal around tech several times. What happened during the first part is, I listened to what Maureen was telling me and realized that this was going to be a multilevel conversation that didn’t track on a typical Coaching route.

After realizing what Maureen imagined my role to be we moved on to the Pre-pre conference. I call it this because at the time of this conference Maureen had only been thinking I need to learn “Seesaw” and not about how she might use tech during a lesson. I feel that this is often the case with teachers. So I asked her to think of a hypothetical lesson and we proceeded with that lesson in mind.

It quickly became evident though that while the content of the lesson was no problem, Maureen did not have the skills knowledge yet to think around or plan for the tech element.  So we left the session with a plan to build skills and then have another pre-conference.

Here is the Pre-Pre Conference video. (It is 14 min long cut down as much as possible without losing too much of the actual conversation)

One of the reflections that came about after we analysed this as a team is would it have been better for me to stop the conversation with Maureen before we went through the  “pre-conference” in order to build skills with her. I am of two minds for this. One, I think I learned a lot about how Maureen understood how tech can be used in lessons, like that she already understood age-appropriate tech introduction. I also think that because I knew that we had the time it was a valuable way for me to understand where she was with tech and knowing how she could use tech in learning. Two, I think that with a class teacher I would have not had that time so yes stopping and building skills would be possibly a better choice. That being said I often find teachers asking me to teach them skills in tech that isn’t always the right fit for what they are doing, which I can often only find out after a detailed conversation with them about what they are trying to accomplish. Not that I am trying to change their minds more that they don’t know the possibilities with other options.

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

Andre’s post: What Challenges Do Coaches Face?

Sandra’s post: Coaching in Practice

Cary’s post: The Coaching Cycle

Jo’s post: The Coach Approach

Amy’s post: What is the Value of a PLN as a Coach?