Coach. Better. Episode 7 Show Notes
This week we’re chatting with Rebekah Madrid, Middle School Principal at Yokohama International School in Japan. Rebekah shares her perspective about coaching as a school leader, along with insights about making coaching work in a mid-sized school, as well as some very specific, strategic and smart ways for coaches to make themselves invaluable to any organization. Rebekah, Clint and I all worked together at YIS for several years, so this was a fantastic opportunity to get an inside look at how the school has developed in terms of coaching over the past few years.
Rebekah Madrid: https://twitter.com/ndbekah
Kim Cofino: https://twitter.com/mscofino
Clint Hamada: https://twitter.com/chamada
1. What do you think coaches do? (Coaches React)
Coaches have a varied role, the goal is to figure out how to support teachers best: change agent, cheerleaders, support, teachers know what students need
Leaders job to figure out where we need change and coaches job to figure out how to make that happen
Having a coach allows the senior leaders to have an impact in a positive way, without the evaluation
Having coaches have autonomy supports professional growth without micromanaging
2. How do you work with the coaches at your school?
Coach for the coaches
Set up strategies for what works at YIS
Strategic planning – coaches lead aspects where they are experts – supporting Action Groups
People feel like they’re being empowered in this process of stakeholder involvement in Strategic Planning – streamlines everything we’re doing into one thing
Cheerleading, knowing when things are happening
3. What are some good opportunities for coaches to work with you?
Important to remember that coaches need to push up – have to advocate for their positions/beliefs in what will improve student learning. Can’t wait for leadership – send that calendar invite!
Be the voice in the room
Make the agenda, focus on student learning – don’t use the word “discuss” (use IB command terms: evaluate, explore, etc). Be smart with that time, action-oriented, what do you want to do? What’s your goal? Is it understanding something together or to take action
Know what’s important to your school – you’re not going to change the big things (change curriculum, for example), if you know what learning looks like, you know what to advocate for & what learning leaders are looking for
Dispositions can be more important
Coaches need to think of themselves as leaders – develop not just coaching strategies, but also leadership, being a middle leader is awkward, the more strategies you have, the more confident you’ll be
4. What do you do when you don’t have the opportunity to work with a coach?
Rely on Team Leaders (HODs), develop coaching strategies with them, official coaches can help train up middle leaders with coaching strategies – this relationship is important to improve student learning (coaches learn from leaders leadership strategies, and vice versa)
5. What are the essential elements for coaching success in a school? What’s needed to build a coaching culture?
Scaling a coaching model
Vision: all coaches to have commonalities between how they coach and how they use time
Coaches have real power in co-planning – that’s a lot of meetings for teachers to have with all of the coaches
Streamline/systemize conversations for teachers
Teachers are becoming more and more open to co-teaching
Using Hattie: How do we make a year’s worth of progress in a year’s worth of time, when teachers don’t have every skill
Document evidence and data from student learning is a big one for coaches that she wants to see more from
6. Where do coaches / does coaching fail? And what can we do about it?
When a person doesn’t have the hustle and really good relationships with people and doesn’t know the kids
They need to know their stuff and have thick skin
Schedule the time to go into classrooms
Ask for help when necessary
7. What makes a coach invaluable to you?
Someone who will brainstorm ideas, when a coach makes their own connections – just ask for forgiveness rather than asking for permission, use your time wisely, make a change and ask for help when needed
Helps when coaches are excited by learning, people need to be excited about working with coaches. Enthusiasm to talk about learning
Teachers can see through “standard” coaching skills (pausing paraphrasing, etc)