Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Everyone Needs a Coach

I have this quote pinned up in my work space where I see it as I boot up my laptop every morning. It reminds me that there isn't anyone that I come into contact with, from a brand new classroom teacher, to a veteran principal, and even myself, who doesn't need another person walking alongside them as we journey down our professional paths. 

Being new to the coaching world, I have made a few observations of what makes an effective coach.

1 - They are available. Effective coaches refuse to over schedule their calendar because they understand the time it takes to prepare for the individuals or teams that they are working with. Just like a classroom teacher requires time to prep for a class full of students, an instructional or technology coach schedules time in their weekly calendar to plan a session so that it will meet the needs of their client. 

2 - They are "just in time". It seems to me that the best coaches are prepared to provide skills training at appropriate times because they have done their research and know just when and how to introduce something new. A teacher doesn't begin with providing instruction on the structure and function of DNA before teaching her students about the structure and function of cells. Likewise, a coach will take the time to determine what the teacher's needs are and be prepared to scaffold skills when the teacher has shown the readiness to take on something different and new. 

3 -  They are provoking. Like the quote above states, everyone needs a coach - so even the veteran teachers could benefit from time spent with a coach. While there are teachers who are open to new ideas and seek a coach out on their own, some need to be pushed with some gentle, yet provoking questioning in order to keep their instructional strategies relevant.

4 - They are trustworthy. Teachers who work with a coach may feel vulnerable and they need to believe that their coach has their best interest at heart and will remain confidential regarding conversations that take place. I can't think of anything that would ruin a coach's reputation faster than losing the trust of those with whom she/he works. 

It is my hope that as I continue this school year in this new role as a coach that my reputation is built upon these qualities as a solid foundation. 

Offering my BEST to you,

What are your thoughts about the qualities I have shared here? Are there others that you would suggest?

This post is part of the #educoach Blog Challenge.  

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  1. Hi Bethany, I really enjoyed reading this post. You've come up with a great list of qualities. I agree with you about trust. It needs to be tended to constantly. Coachees can feel quite vulnerable and we need to do everything we can to help them feel safe and supported.

  2. I love your quote and daily reminder! Yes, we can ALL use a coach to help us consider our strengths and improve upon them. Thank you for sharing your work!

  3. Great list! I appreciate reading your perspective as I am new to being a coach this year and wanting to make sure I'm doing it "right." :) And, you are right, everyone needs a coach... even coaches!

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