Find the Challenge
This week we have another great strategy for your coaching toolkit: “Find the Challenge”. Last week we discussed the first strategy, “work with the willing.” Watch the video here.
To be a successful learning coach, you can’t simply work with the willing forever. You have to find teachers to work with.
In this week’s video, I’m focusing on the second strategy for coaches, “Find the Challenge.” Watch the video, then read the show notes below.
Why try this strategy?
We love this strategy because usually there is no way to go but up! If something isn’t working and you can develop a solution, not only have you improved student learning, and helped overcome a challenge for the teacher, but you’ve also demonstrated your value from a pedagogical perspective, and most likely made a coaching convert who will share their success with other teachers.
There’s no point in wasting time on a unit that’s already working.
It can be a challenge to discover things that aren’t working in a teacher’s classroom, because they can be hesitant to talk about what’s not working, and want to focus on what’s actually going correctly.
So how do you figure out what’s not working?
The following actions can help you to determine how you can help the teachers at your school:
Classroom Walkthroughs – Approach classroom walkthroughs in a friendly and approachable manner. During your time in the classroom, it can be helpful to have a chat with students to see what they’re thinking about their learning. You can give this feedback to the teacher and see if it opens up the floor to a coaching discussion to talk about what they’re doing great at, and what they might be struggling with.
Team Meetings – Another strategy is to attend team meetings. This strategy does take time, and you’ll likely have to strategize how many you can actually attend, but go to those meetings! If there are a few teachers you really want to try working with, try to attend those team meetings for a couple weeks to see if you can understand what their challenges are, then approach those teachers to see if they’re open to working towards a solution to their challenge.
Ask The Willing – Try asking the teachers you’re already working with what was a particularly challenging unit for them, or what they think members of their team may be challenged by. This can help you to determine ways you can help teachers that
Lead a Staff Meeting – If you have the chance to lead a staff meeting and allow teachers to have an opportunity to reflect on what is and isn’t working in their classroom, you might find that teachers are able to recognize their own challenge and come to you with that challenge. This almost makes them part of “the willing,” but they’re still a challenge because they’re identifying what’s not working for them and seeking out the support they need.
This week, we challenge you to take some time to find new teachers to work with. There is nothing better than taking something that was a struggle for a teacher and making it a great learning experience. Often times coaching is viewed as an add-on, and tech as extra work for teachers, you can take away both of those barriers by employing this strategy.
Want to learn more about the coaching strategies we’re focusing on? Download our free PDF, “The Top 5 Strategies for Your Coaching Toolkit.” This PDF gives an overview of the top 5 strategies we recommend to help you become a successful learning coach. This PDF is great for coaches and teachers wanting to move into a coaching role. Download the PDF here!