- Have you ever had the opportunity to be coached?
- Are you open to the idea?
- What would make you hesitant to engage with coaching?
- What do you think are the benefits of having a coach?
I expect many educators would ask themselves one simple question before being coached, ‘What’s in it for me?’ Being time poor, educators would need to see the value of coaching. They may also ask, “Why am I being targeted?” Teachers and leaders would need to know what they’re getting into before agreeing to the coaching process. Exploring the requests of leaders and teachers’ focus and range of areas for coaching would be interesting. Some typical practice-based coaching areas like project based learning, design thinking, formative assessment strategies, classroom management, data analysis, or even completing further professional study could be options. Components of instructional coaching may include observing classroom practice and data gathering, and at times, if requested by the coachee, the coach may offer some suggestions. Educators, with their various self-determined goals, come with different experiences, skills and knowledge. Leaders and educators are all at different points in their careers and the coaching spectrum illustrates that coaching is complex, contextual yet personalised.
But what if you were having personal issues, either with your leader, a particular colleague, or within your team? How could a coach assist you in this area? The article ‘Are you Coachable?’, focuses on the leaders and their ‘practice’. It appears that a level of self- awareness is required for one to seek coaching or be open to it. But then, we have the classic issue of blind-spots. “We don’t know what we don’t know” (Luft, 1969). One may utilised devices like Swivl to record lessons, which provides the opportunity for the coach and coachee sit together and discuss what they both observe. This is often in the context of classroom teaching but applies equally to our leadership practices or relationships with colleagues. How do we shine a light on these?
Emotional intelligence is defined as self-awareness, self-management, social awareness and relationship management (Bradberry & Greaves, 2009). If the purpose of coaching is about personal growth and success, then self-awareness is the foundation. Daniel Goleman calls it the ‘keystone’ of emotional intelligence. Awareness of self and emotions can be developed and coaching is one way of achieving this.
While many may not have the option of working formally with a designated coach, having coaching conversations is always an option. Many leaders can begin to create a coaching culture through being more deliberate and conscious in the way they manage conversations. As communication is a two-way street, active listening appears to be a skill worth developing. While empathy is the foundation for active listening, a more trusting relationship is likely to eventuate. Do you listen to understand or listen to respond?
Active listening can be broken down into simple steps:
- Allow the other person to express what they are thinking
- Paraphrase what they have said to you
- Check that you have correctly understood what they have said
- Analyse their viewpoint to see how it fits in with your own
- Give your own viewpoint, taking the other person’s perspective into consideration, expressing yourself with “I statements”
(Wilson, D, 2017)
At Highly Accomplished teaching level, educators are required to provide advice and support colleagues. It appears that in order to meet the Highly Accomplished Teaching Standards, some educators seek coaching courses. Providing advice and supporting colleagues are not innate skills that simultaneously develop with teaching. Supporting colleagues requires specific skills including active listening. Active listening is a vital component in all successful relationships, and through these conversations, educators may develop self-awareness and self-management. If coaching is about developing ourselves for personal growth and success, how does mandatory coaching align with this philosophy? If educators are assigned or designated a coach, I question the level of commitment from the coach and coachee; especially if this is allocated to meet a teaching standard. To develop self-awareness, we need to provide autonomy and actively listen to our educators and leaders, both as coaches and coachees.
Atul Gawande explains the importance of getting a coach and active listening.
This #EduCoachOC chat will address the questions below. We are referring to the causality dilemma-similar to which came first: the chicken or the egg?
Do you need to be self-aware to recognise the significance of coaching?
Do you need coaching to recognise your level of self-awareness?
- Why are some teachers and leaders more hesitant to seek coaching while others are more receptive or even excited about the idea?
- Coaching is often seen as an intervention focussed on improving teaching and learning. What other areas could benefit as a result of coaching?
- How can coaching develop a person’s ability to identify their own blind-spots?
- How can coaching be utilised to develop self, relationships and teams or organisations?
- Should coaching be made compulsory or should it only be provided as an option? Why?
Even though the ‘OC’ in our name refers to an Oceania-friendly time, we’re a global chat and would love for you to join us at 8.30pm Australian Eastern Standard Time. That’s 6.30am in New York, 11.30am in London and 1.30pm in Doha.
Australian Institute for Teaching and School Leadership. (2017). Aitsl.edu.au. Retrieved 13 May 2017, from http://www.aitsl.edu.au/australian-professional-standards-for-teachers/standards/list
Bradberry, T., & Greaves, J. (2009). Emotional intelligence 2.0 (1st ed.). San Diego, Calif.: TalentSmart.
Hill, P. Concepts of coaching: a guide for managers. London: Institute of Leadership and Management, 2004
Emotional Intelligence | Psychology Today. (2017). Psychologytoday.com. Retrieved 13 May 2017, from https://www.psychologytoday.com/basics/emotional-intelligence
Fouts, M. (2017). Emotional Intelligence | Psychology Today. Psychologytoday.com. Retrieved 13 May 2017, from https://www.psychologytoday.com/basics/emotional-intelligence
Luft, J. (1969). Of Human Interaction. Palo Alto, California: National Press.
Wilson, D. (2017). The #1 communication skill of great leaders. LinkedIn. Retrieved 13 May 2017, from https://goo.gl/IIA3T6