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Coaching An Article about educational coaching looking at its definition, guidelines, purpose and strategy.

All coaching is, is taking a player where he can't take himself.
Bill McCartney

This is a Free Sample Resource
Categories: Article, Professional Development, Other Subject, Educators

Tags: Coaching CPD
Coaching, mentoring, counselling, therapy, performance management, talent development, teaching and training. What feature do they all share? They all involve people helping each other to improve; to progress in what they do and to develop in who they are. Each activity takes a different form, exists in a unique context and meets a specific need. But all of them show the human race at its best; people working together to advance their collective skills, attitudes and knowledge.

It’s important to know the different faces of this valuable gem because although they have common traits each one is distinct with its own purpose and boundaries. For example coaching can open up aspects of people’s lives that should only be explored in therapy; training may reveal strengths or weaknesses that need to be addressed with mentoring rather than by more training. 

I’ll offer you a working definition of formal educational coaching to play around with – agree, disagree, evolve it for your own context:

Educational Coaching happens when one educator fully dedicates their attention, their time, their skills, their experience and their knowledge to the enrichment and improvement of one other educator’s attitude, skills and knowledge. As a result, the coachee achieves more than they could alone.

For example: the coach working with the coachee just before their lesson begins or the coach de-briefing the coachee after a lesson is over, or the coach talking directly to the coachee in-ear while the lesson is taking place using remote video observation technology.

Coaching can be more effective and less risky when four important guidelines are followed by the coach and coachee: (why risky? Working with people rather than things needs emotional intelligence. Feelings are involved, values and beliefs emerge, vulnerabilities appear)

1. Protocol
Agree procedures such as the nitty-gritty of scheduling a coaching session; the rules around confidentiality and a professional exit plan if things don’t turn out as expected.

2. Relationship
Establish a working relationship founded on trust. Covey’s definition of trust is practical and helpful. He says that trust is:
  • Credibility – Coach and coach are ‘believable’ in their different roles 
  • Results – Coach has a track record of success; coachee one of change
  • Intent – Coach and coachee are committed and dedicated to the work
  • Integrity – Coach and coachee say what they do and do what they say
These four cornerstones of a trusting professional relationship may not be fully in place when coaching begins. However they can all be developed as the work advances. As the work progresses, so should the trust.

3. Communication
Agree methods of communication and accept that the meaning of any interaction is a shared responsibility. If the coach has spoken it doesn’t guarantee that the coachee has understood what she meant

4. Results
Agree on the purpose of your coaching tasks and identify success criteria. Coaching work can lie anywhere on a spectrum from Fixing to Flying: Fixing a problem; Flying even higher. Everyone deserves a coach, not just those who have lost their way in the profession.

Coaching can happen informally in staffrooms, corridors, pubs and coffee shops. That’s valuable. It can also happen through a fully resourced long-term talent management strategy. That’s valuable too. One way to kick-start the formal approach is through a staff talent audit. Focussing on only strengths, staff put forward the things they do best. This is collated and celebrated. Then each person reveals one area in which they’d like help. Coaching pairs are created in which one teacher can offer support to the other. Like any professional development it’ll need time and consequently money. The availability of both will occur in proportion to the belief in coaching as a tool that raises professional and academic standards.

Related Resources:

Professional Learning

The Fear of Video coaching

Tips for Using Video for CPD

Using Video for Professional Development


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