Coach as Leadership

The first goal I have is to understand what makes a good coach. This may come as an all-too-obvious goal for anyone taking this course, especially considering the wealth of excellent advice already provided in this course to make us better coaches, but I am very keen on connecting this knowledge to my personal experiences of some of the best coaches I have met. In fact, the best teachers I know relate to their students in a way I can only describe as personal coaches. This is particularly visible with middle school teachers. They follow students’ individual actions, distillate meaning from these actions and explore the achievements attained or improvements required by the student. The wisdom they are able to impart by asking simple questions leading to deep soul-searching answers within a short conversation is never lost on the students who are almost always grateful and eager to return to them and share more.

Guidance from a Coach

When Jim Knight asks “how did you figure this out? to a teacher he observed, he lets Michael Covarrubias be proud and take credit for a great instructional practice to lead students team work. Similarly, I was struck by the sincere guidance provided by our former basketball coach to one of his players where he explained to his student that his attire was not appropriate and was sending the wrong message to people around him. These simple interactions broke through the veneer of expected conversations and instantly reached an uncommon level of sincerity. In this perspective, I see coaching skills not only pertinent to our professional lives, but to our personal relationships as well. A normal conclusion for this goal, and a deep yearning of mine is to identify and learn to implement the skills that will allow me to become a coach myself for our teachers, our students, and most importantly for my son.

Define the Tech Coach's Role

The second goal I have is to better define Tom’s position in our school. Tom is our very first coach at KAS and although this could be considered a major victory, we cannot ignore that this is only the beginning of our journey. As the tech director, I was never explicitly a coach but one of my department’s implicit missions is to guide teachers on the path towards positive technology integration. Tom is instrumental in this mission. I hired Tom to be our coach and in order to help him succeed, I want to learn about coaching myself. Therefore we both enrolled in this course. We saw this collaboration as essential to his success as a coach. In looking for a template to lead our coaching interventions, I was very impressed by the coaching cycle which Ange shared with us in her contribution to this forum. Together with The Big Four walk-through tool, they help me understand how we can structure our observations of teachers classrooms. Evidence of the completion of this goal is a framework for our new coaching program at KAS.

With these two goals in mind, I need your guidance to determine where I should focus my energy in this course for the final project. Should I approach the project as a coach or as the leader of a coach team? I was resisting the latter since I do not feel I knew enough about the attributes of a great coach but I understand now that both quests would have a positive impact.

This post belongs to a series of posts I originally published for my course on Eduro, Coaching: from Theory to Practice taught by Kim Cofino.
ASSIGNMENT - Identify a colleague at your school that you feel comfortable working with. Initiate a dialogue with that person to see if they would feel comfortable with you practicing your coaching skills with them. In a reflective post, share your thoughts on the process of selecting a colleague to work with, including at least one goal for your work with this colleague over the next six weeks.

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