Your Own Coaching Model

Because effective coaching is to a large degree about relationship-building, and because relationships are built in a myriad of ways, there is no one-size-fits-all approach to the work.  Research demonstrates that no single package of protocols can address every nuanced scenario one faces daily as an instructional coach.  This is provided, however as a tool to assist during your consideration of what may – and may not – work best under the circumstances you face.  It is understood that, in addition to often compelling data, you will be relying on something equally as powerful:  your own judgement.

Some thoughts on your work ahead as a coach:

1.  Humans learn how to change in multiple ways; as a species, however, we are wired to instinctively resist doing things differently.  Change is hard.  Coaching through it can be even harder.

2.  Coaching relationships – by their nature – need to be supportive to be effective.  Yet “supporting” can be innocently confused with enabling – or condoning – behaviors that are ineffective (or even harmful).  Harsh as it may sound, compassion does not trump accountability.  It never did, and cannot in instructional coaching.  Not if we want to make a difference.

3.  While building relationships, try always to stay true to the following:

  1. Keep thing plain and honest
  2. Plot – together with the individual you are coaching – road maps that lay out – with specificity – where you are going as a team, how you’re going to get there, and how you’ll be able to tell you got there (or didn’t get there).
  3. Keep goals straightforward, measurable, and specific.
  4. Document your work together and the results of your work in real time.
  5. Provide opportunities for self-reflection following dialogue between you and the person you are coaching.
  6. Integrate rigorous self-development for yourself as a coach; integrate it into your coaching and don’t conceal that you are learning too.

A former superintendent of schools in Ohio, began relying on a strategy bearing the acronym “PLOT” depicted below:

  • Plan the focus of improvements desired
  • Listen carefully to spoken and unspoken concerns
  • Observe – teacher during instructional delivery
  • Teach – model and coach teacher improvement

Coaching is not a series of linear steps – it is not a simple matter of “A before B and B before C…” and there is no replicable step-by-step approach to enhancing effective teaching behaviors.  What has to be avoided, however, is the inclination of many to simply say “do it this way” or “do it that way”… or even worse: “do it my way.”

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