20 Tips for New Instructional Coaches

Published at Feb 13, 2017
No Description

PRESENTATION OUTLINE

20 Tips for New Instructional Coaches

Photo by ptrlx

1. Your job isn’t to fix anyone.

  • The job of a coach is to support by listening and shining a light on their best thinking. (It's not possible to fix anyone but ourselves anyway.)
Photo by kimncris

2. Clarify your definition of coaching.

  • What’s your definition of it? How do teachers and administrators define coaching?
  • Get on the same page with others on a definition of coaching.
Photo by Mrs4duh

3. Understand what others expect of you.

  • What does your principal (or supervisor) expect you to do and accomplish?
  • What do teachers expect of you?
  • What are your goals as a coach? Who sets those?
  • How do your goals support your school’s goals?
Photo by shinealight

4. Your job isn’t to know everything.

  • You don't have to know everything about teaching or a specific content or curriculum.
  • You don’t have to be an expert.
Photo by Alan Cleaver

5. Your job is to facilitate an adult’s learning process.

  • Our job is not to drive their thinking or direct it, or to make them do something.
Photo by snacktime2007

6. You need to know about adult learning.

  • You will also need to know how to put that knowledge into practice. You need to know what it looks like in a coaching conversation to work from a place of knowledge of adult learning.
Photo by Phil Sexton

7. In order to facilitate learning, they need to trust you.

  • In the first months, build relationships and cultivate trust. You can’t coach without trust.
Photo by hang_in_there

8. Create a safe space for risk-taking and learning.

  • Strive to be an expert in this area. How do you do this? Start by reflecting on your own experience and needs. What makes you feel safe to take risks?
Photo by aleske

9. Listening is the foundational skill set of a coach.

  • Learn different ways to listen, practice listening, and when in doubt, just listen.
Photo by meolog

10. Make sure the teacher is doing the talking.

  • Talk for less than a third of the time in a coaching session. Trust that by giving her time to talk and be heard -- and perhaps a thought-provoking question -- she will get what she needs from the conversation.
Photo by johnnybelmont

11. Listen for what matters.

  • What do they care about deeply? What are their core values? What are their dreams, hopes, and aspirations?
Photo by highersights

12. Find the joy in coaching.

  • When you wonder if you should return to the classroom -- when you miss the joy in teaching kids, when you stumble as a new coach -- set your sights on spotting the joy in coaching. It’s there.
Photo by __MaRiNa__

13. Let those who you support do the work.

  • After you master the vast and complex skill set of coaching, coaching can feel easy; let the person you support do the work.
Photo by superkimbo

14. Mastery takes a lot of practice.

  • Remember that mastery may take 10,000 hours of practice, and practice with feedback.
  • Find colleagues with whom you can practice coaching skills and practice and practice.

15. Have coaching conversations that matter.

  • Ensure that the conversation means something. People show up for conversations that matter.
  • Teachers are not resistant in conversations that matter.

16. Have conversations about students.

  • These are conversations that matter. Use student work, anecdotes, observations, and videos of students to ground the conversation in the needs of our young people.

17. Don’t get too busy.

  • Don’t take on too many projects, responsibilities, or tasks. You need time to think, plan, reflect, and learn about coaching.
  • Resist the temptation to do more as a way of compensating for not knowing what you’re doing as a coach. If you’re a coach, learn about coaching, and do it.
Photo by avrene

18. Be patient.

  • There’s a lot of change that needs to happen in our schools, and it’s going to take time. You can make every conversation count. The poet Rumi wrote, “Patience does not mean to passively endure. It means to be farsighted enough to trust the end result of a process.” Trust the process.

19. Be curious.

  • Be insatiably, humbly curious. Learn to ask nonjudgmental questions that create expansion in someone else’s thinking and imagination. Learn to ask nonjudgmental questions about assumptions, biases, interpretation, and opinion. Know that you will learn a tremendous amount as an instructional coach about things you don’t yet know that you don’t know. Be curious.
Photo by Liliana Saeb

20. Be compassionate.

  • Have compassion for those you are supporting. Have compassion for students. Have compassion with yourself. From compassion comes the conversations we need to transform our schools.