As we get closer and closer to the 2020 Teaching Learning Coaching Conference, we continue to explore the work of our amazing lineup of presenters and keynoters! Today, we’ll be addressing advanced coaching, a common theme among many of this year’s presenters.


Megan Tschannen-Moran, TLC 2020 presenter Dr. Megan Tschannen-Moran is a TLC 2020 presenter, and along with her husband Bob Tschannen-Moran, wrote Evocative Coaching: Transforming Schools One Conversation at a Time (2020, 2nd Ed.) We wanted to highlight 5 things from that work that we thought you should know about, as the perspective she brings to the coaching landscape is one that should appeal to all educators. Evocative coaching is structured around two phases or “turns”. The insights that follow grow out of the first phase, called the No-Fault Turn, which sets the stage for forward action in the second turn, the Strengths-building Turn.


Coaching Presence

Evocative Coaching is not solely about mastering certain coaching techniques, or utilizing various coaching tools. It starts with attention to our  way of being and a and the setting of our intentions. Megan contends that before coaching even begins, a good coach will be able to recognize what energy is called for in the moment. Megan uses the term Coaching Presence — being available and mindfully aware of all that can come forth in meaningful conversation — as a way to describe the prepared readiness evocative coaches must bring to every coaching conversation. Conveying a sense of calm assurance and an openness to possibility is the best way to get started on the right foot in a coaching conversation. As such, Megan suggests that the most important moment in a coaching conversation may be the minute right before it begins, as the coach clears his or her mind of distractions and prepares to be fully present to the person they are coaching.

“When coaching presence is conveyed artfully, coaches and teachers lean into each other with full engagement.”
—Evocative Coaching: Transforming Schools One Conversation at a Time


Story Listening Instead of Storytelling

Evocative means to call forth or to give voice, and at the core of this coaching model is the teacher’s experience, aspirations, and insights. As coaches, we tap into these through listening carefully and well to the stories teachers tell. By inviting teachers to share the stories of their experience, and then to mine these stories for the deeper meaning inherent in them through a process of “imaginative story listening,” evocative coaches tap into the wisdom and insight teachers bring to the table.  Although shared experiences can be powerful, and there are times when a coach can share a story to create a deeper bond with a teacher, Megan invites us to consider the value in ‘story listening’ as opposed to storytelling.

“By noticing what stories are being told, and by getting people to work through the core elements of their stories, coaches have the opportunity to generate those insightful ‘Aha!’ moments that expand awareness and alter behavior.”
—from Evocative Coaching: Transforming Schools One Conversation at a Time

Silence is Golden

Once a coach has created a conducive coaching space and extended a story invitation, it is important to be prepared for periods of silence while the teacher considers their own experience and examines their heart. Allowing for silence in a conversation — and not rushing to fill the void out of fear of awkwardness or missed opportunity to share knowledge — can deepen and enrich the coaching conversation, making it more evocative.

“(Silence) conveys comfort, respect, and spaciousness for the teacher’s experience. Feelings, needs, and desires can take a while to surface and become clear. When coaches are comfortable with silence, our presence becomes more evocative.”
—from Evocative Coaching: Transforming Schools One Conversation at a Time

Expressing Empathy First

So, what do evocative coaches do when it is their turn to talk as coach? This is where an evocative coach leads with empathy. Teachers must feel safe with coaches and free of any sense of evaluation or judgment. Coaches have a unique opportunity to be a confidant of the teacher where trust can be built, and with that, more possibilities for personal and professional growth can be explored.

“By setting and sustaining the intention to understand and respond to the experiences and emotions of teachers without judgement, blame, coercion, evocative coaches set teachers on the path to self-discovery and self-directed learning.”
—from Evocative Coaching: Transforming Schools One Conversation at a Time

Reliability & Playfulness

The final note we wanted to highlight about evocative coaching is related to reliability and playfulness. For evocative coaches to best gain a trustworthy reputation with teachers, evocative coaches must work to demonstrate that they can be counted on when teachers need them. Even if a coach is polite, kind, and means well, trust can be broken if the coach has trouble managing time, gets distracted easily, or is otherwise unreliable.

Once the teacher knows they have a coach that can be counted on, one of our favorite ideas from Megan is the idea of incorporating playfulness in the coaching process. Having more laughter and fun in the conversations with teachers creates a brighter, safer environment that is more open to change.

“Without the ability to laugh, especially in the face of life’s ironies, incongruities, and adversities, one would seldom find the energy to play. Playfulness ignites our energy for and engagement with life.”
—from Evocative Coaching: Transforming Schools One Conversation at a Time


Don’t miss Megan’s sessions at this year’s TLC:

Panel 1: The Art & Craft of Coaching

Breakout Session: Inviting Connection Through Story and Empathy

Evocative coaching is a dynamic dance, choreographed around four steps: Listen – Empathize – Appreciate – Design. The first two steps, Listen and Empathize assist the coach to connect with what’s alive in the person they are coaching. Stories reflect the sense people make of their experiences. They are never the experiences themselves– that is, the map is not the territory; they are rather attempts to understand, value, and shape the experiences in ways that make sense and guide future actions. Because coaching works with the stories coachees tell, both to themselves and to others, it is possible to change everything in the twinkling of an eye. Tell a new story (draw a new map) and get a new experience. Empathy is a respectful understanding and appreciation of someone’s experience. It’s an orientation that fosters radically new change possibilities, by shifting the focus from particular strategies to universal needs. Together, these two practices lead to a beautiful moment we call “the golden sigh,” a signal that the coachee feels heard and is ready to design a new way forward.



 Advanced Coaching at tlc

Coaching is a different experience for everyone, so coaches need to learn and apply specific skills to help their coachees through their own unique challenges. One of the four main themes at TLC 2020 is Advanced Coaching, and the following keynote speakers, panelists, and breakout presenters will be exploring the topic in their sessions. Be sure to catch their presentations and more at TLC!





Watch Joellen Killion and Jim Knight’s recent Coaching Conversation

Joellen Killion is the deputy executive director of the National Staff Development Council. In her work with NSDC, Killion focuses on improving teaching quality and student learning. She has been director of NSDC’s highly acclaimed NSDC Academy and its new Coaches Academy for school-based staff developers. She also has managed numerous other pieces of work, including the council’s initiatives in results based staff development, evaluating staff development, and it’s Results Skills for School Leaders project.

Killion is the author of Assessing Impact: Evaluating Professional Learning, 3e (Corwin, 2017), coauthor of Coaching Matters (Learning Forward, 2012) and NSDC’s three-volume results-based What Works staff development series. She was featured in the School Improvement Network/VideoJournal programs Instructional Coaching and Designing and Evaluating Professional Development.

Joellen’s TLC session is titled:

Coach Mindset

She will also be a part of Panel 3: Coaching Models

Christian van Nieuwerburgh is Professor of Coaching and Positive Psychology at the University of East London and Director of Growth Coaching International. He is a thought leader in the areas of coaching in education and the integration of coaching and positive psychology. Christian is passionate about the creation of positive learning environments and works with schools, colleges and universities all over the world.

Christian is the author of the best-selling Introduction to Coaching Skills: A Practical Guide (2014; 2017) and the editor of Coaching in Education: Getting Better Results for Students, Educators and Parents (2012) and Coaching in Professional Contexts (2016). He is also a co-author of the recently-published The Leader’s Guide to Coaching in Schools (2017) and the Editor in Chief of one of the field’s leading academic journals: Coaching: An International Journal of Theory, Research and Practice.

Christian’s TLC keynote is titled:

Being an Inspiring Leader

He will also be a part of Panel 1: The Art and Craft of Coaching, and he will present a pre-conference session titled Masterclass for Experienced Coaches.



Watch Christian van Nieuwerburgh and Jim Knight’s recent Coaching Conversation




Watch Michael Bungay Stanier and Jim Knight’s recent Coaching Conversation

Michael Bungay Stanier is the founder of Box of Crayons, a company that helps organizations do less good work and more great work. He’s the author of several books, including The Coaching Habit and Do More Great Work. Michael has written for or been featured in numerous publications including Business Insider, Fast Company, Forbes, The Globe & Mail and The Huffington Post.

At Box of Crayons, Michael and his team of facilitators teach 10-minute coaching so busy managers build stronger teams and get better results. Clients come from all sectors and include Box, the United Nations, the University Health Network and USAA. A sought-after speaker, Michael regularly speaks to businesses and organizations and has delivered keynotes at Leadership, HR and Learning & Development, conferences around the world, including ATD, SHRM, IPL, HRPA and the Conference Board of Canada.

Balancing out these moments of success, Michael was banned from his high school graduation for “the balloon incident,” was sued by one of his Law School lecturers for defamation, and his first published piece of writing was a Mills & Boone short story called “The Male Delivery.”

Michael left Australia 25 years ago to be a Rhodes Scholar at Oxford University, where his only significant achievement was falling in love with a Canadian, which is why he now lives in Toronto, having spent time in London and Boston. He was the first Canadian Coach of the Year.

Michael’s TLC keynote is titled:

How to Tame Your Advice Monster

He will also be a part of Panel 4: Coaching for Success.

Kathy Perret is an educational consultant at Northwest Area Education Agency in Iowa as well as a private consultant focusing on empowering instructional coaches and school leaders through virtual and onsite training and virtual coaching. She is passionate about igniting learning and reflection in others so they can SHINE!

Kathy has a background as an elementary teacher, an instructional coach and a school improvement leader. She earned her bachelor of science degree from Iowa State University, her master’s degree from Morningside College and her PK-12 principal endorsement from the Iowa Principal Leadership Academy. Kathy is also an adjunct professor in the Education Department at Morningside College currently focusing in the area of literacy.

In addition to The Coach Approach to School Leadership (ASCD, 2017), she has made contributions as guest blogger for ASCD and other sources. Kathy is the co-founder and co-moderator of #EduCoach, a weekly Twitter Chat for anyone interested in instructional coaching.

Kathy’s TLC session is titled:

Coaching Through Changing School Culture

Kathy Perret, TLC 2020 presenter

Learn how Kathy Perret Show Us How to Be a Connected Educator.


Check out our conference schedule to see the complete lineup of presenters! Hope to see you next month!