Over the past few weeks we have had an open survey aimed at giving coaches a moment of reflection during these different times. The data from this survey helps provide us with insight into how your working environments have changed. Here's what we have found so far.
Firstly, it was fascinating to get a snapshot of how coaches are spending their time. Although we received many different answers, many coaches appear to be spending a lot of their time on Curriculum and Planning, as well as meetings. Curiously, there was not a lot of reported time spent on coaching cycles, though a lot of coaches mentioned it was more challenging to go through coaching cycles during this time. Below is the full breakdown of time spent on coaching:
Additionally, we asked about time spent on deep coaching versus surface coaching. We defined deep coaching as conversations that involve a coaching cycle, and surface coaching as conversations that do not. Not surprisingly, and possibly for the reasons stated above, this skewed heavily in favor of surface coaching.
What else did we learn?
We are still going through all the data and thoughtful responses, but already we are learning a lot from the 177 participants who responded. Namely, we have seen that coaches are caring, they want to make an impact, and that these past two months or so has been a challenging time for all.
"Listen. Support the emotional side of teaching before the science of it. Give and ask for lots and lots of grace." — Anonymous survey respondent
Coaches are Caring
The fact that we had so many responses means, to us, that coaches really care about their craft, and are still looking for ways to learn and improve. Looking at the answers from the survey, two of the most common themes in all of the answers were the importance of empathy and listening. One response summarized well a common refrain from coaches: "Listen. Support the emotional side of teaching before the science of it. Give and ask for lots and lots of grace." Many coaches mentioned they aim to remember that empathy piece they have been using in their practice during this time, as a deliberate focus in their practice going forward. One respondent summarized it this way:
"Check in often! This is something I try to do normally but this practice has definitely been reinforced during this time! Also checking in on a personal level to see how people are feeling and how their families are doing." — Anonymous survey respondent
Coaches Want to Make an Impact
Coaches are going through a lot of challenges right now, with a sudden shift to distance coaching, a new set of emotional hurdles to go through with teachers, and new technology to learn. Coaches expressed a lot of concern about whether they were able to make a discernible impact. We see this as a sign that above all else, coaches want to make a difference, and it is encouraging to us that coaches aim to be better, even during challenging times.
A common sign of success shared by coaches was teachers feeling support. One respondent put it this way:
"If I'm thinking about success during this time, it's that every teacher feels supported. Most of all, I want every teacher to feel that they can benefit from reaching out to me." — Anonymous survey respondent
Coaches are Feeling the Challenge of These Times
We really appreciated the candid nature of a lot of the responses. In case you were among the many coaches feeling challenged during this time, we thought it might be useful for you to know you are not alone!
One coach had a good way of describing the challenge of coaching the past couple of months, saying it is like, " Helping teachers build a plane while flying." We also loved this coach's very real and honest response, to the question: How do you define success?:
"Surviving. Teachers having fewer breakdowns. I stopped crying this week." — Anonymous survey respondent
There were also many encouraging notes of gratitude, particularly towards teachers, like this response to what is a recent lesson learned in coaching:
"That teachers are truly amazing and are an under-utilized resource in our community." - Anonymous survey respondent
We aim to continue to give more overview of the huge amount of data that this survey has produced and we hope it will be helpful, encouraging, and motivating to anyone involved in coaching. In the meantime, we extend our gratitude to all who took the time to complete the survey. We always appreciate the chance to learn from you, and we look forward to continuing to share the results!