Coaching Fundamentals 2: Coaching Conversations
I talked with 12 rockstar instructional coaches from around the world to get their perspective on different coaching topics like defining the role of a coach and their best strategies in a coaching conversation. I’ve been an instructional coach around the world for nearly 20 years and learned a TON from these conversations.
Starting next Monday, we’ll be uploading a new episode of the 12 part series each day! Today, we’re giving you a preview of what’s to come with episode 2 of our Coaching Fundamentals series: Strategies for Coaching Conversations. Missed episode 1? Watch it here!
Click below to watch Episode 2, Strategies for Coaching Conversations!
As an instructional coach, the foundation of your practice is deep, meaningful conversations with teachers about improving student learning. Sometimes these conversations are easy and sometimes they’re not.
Each coach I spoke with had excellent strategies to help improve a coaching conversation. Here are some highlights of the conversations I had with these incredible instructional coaches:
Dave Caleb @davecaleb: Listen first! Listening and paraphrasing is helpful in helping to find the root of what a teacher is looking to do or to help solve a problem.
Diana Beabout @dianabeabout: Try using the phrase, “given that…” After the person you’re working with describes a challenge they’re having, use the phrase, “given that…” to restate the issue they’re having, acknowledge that there is a challenge, and figure out how to help them move on.
Tim Bray @tsbray: As much as the conversation has to be about the design, the lesson, or the technology they’re integrating, try to set the tone that you’re just there to help and support them – not to judge them.
Tricia Friedman @friedenglish101: I always have this visual metaphor in the back of my mind: this conversation is part of a gigantic staircase. Sometimes a conversation is the lift to get you to the next step, and other times, the conversation is a plateau.
Marcello Mongardi @mmongardi: I get to know the teacher as a teacher, by observing them in their classroom, before I start a conversation. I can begin the conversation back to what I saw and what makes me excited about what they already do in their classroom, then base the conversation on that.
Maggie Hos-McGrane @mumbaimaggie: In the coaching conversations I have, I’m not focused too much on the technology. I’m focused on building up the resources in that person that are low so that they can decide to use the technology.
Patrick Green @pgreensoup: Focus on the person’s strengths by using inviting language that allows them to have some of the answers already within them and to recognize that they do have the answers.
Clint Hamada @chamada: You need to figure out where the teachers are and you need to meet them where they are and challenge them in a respectful way to think about the purpose and the outcomes they’re after.
Pana Asavavatana @panaasavavatana: I a) name the goal of why I’m bringing something up and state the why behind how it will expand student learning; and b) explain the process. Next I always, always ask, “how do you feel about this? Do you see any challenges? Are you worried? If you are, I will take that back and come back later.”
Ben Sheridan @b_sheridan: Don’t talk too much. Really try to understand where the person you’re working with is coming from and help them figure out what they already have that is going to allow them to build on and become better in the area they want to grow in.
Keri-Lee Beasley @klbeasley: Active listening and paraphrasing are important in a coaching conversation. Try to break it down for the person you’re working with in a way they may not have considered to make sure you’re on the right track.
Heather Dowd @heza: Pause and think about the questions you want to ask. Show teachers that you’re thinking – it’s okay to pause and take a moment to pull together your thoughts. When you’re having a coaching conversation, it’s usually a rich, deep conversation about learning and not a conversation where you need to have quick answers for.
So many different perspectives and points about coaching conversations and the key strategies that make them successful!
If you enjoyed hearing from these instructional coaches and want to keep learning with them, there are a few ways to keep learning! This YouTube video is part 2 of a 12 part series. Beginning April 8th, we’ll release a new part of the series each day. Make sure to catch it by subscribing to our YouTube channel. I’m also continuing the conversation with these 12 coaches during our Coaching in Practice webinar on April 22 at 7:30 PM GMT. Sign up to watch the continued conversation.
The next session of The Coach micro-credential begins May 1st. Grab your spot when the cart opens on Monday, April 16th! Learn more about The Coach microcredential here.