Tips for Collaborative Coaching Spaces
Written by Matt Kelly.
June 16, 2020

As summer begins, educators are thinking about what is ahead for next year. This is especially true for first-year instructional coaches as they plan and prepare for their new roles.

There are a lot of factors to account for when trying to create the optimal space for partning with teachers. We recently shared a follower post on Facebook in which a follower was asking for recommendations about setting up her new office space. So many awesome and helpful responses came in from real coaches, that we decided to summarize some of these recommendations.

 

 

A Collaboration Space

Create a space that promotes a feeling of openness and partnership. One of the most common recommendations is for coaches to set up a space with chairs and a table where teachers and coaches can comfortably work together side-by-side, instead of a more traditional office set up which can feel formal or intimidating. When two people sit across from each other at at a desk, there can sometimes be a feeling that one person is being judged by the other.

 

Lamps & Warmth

 

Sometimes, the details are what make the most difference. Many coaches recommend using lamps or string lights to avoid fluorescent lights and keep the space warm, like a departure or escape from a hectic day in the classroom.

 

Creature Comforts & Stress Relief

It may seem like a small thing, but you’d be surprised how meaningful some coffee, breakfast bars, or candy can be for teachers who need an extra boost.

 

Open Communication

Be sure to let teachers know all the ways in which you can be reached. Make it easy to connect inside and outside of the office. Casual connections at campus events could lead to bigger discussions later on.

 

 

 Pexels

 

Much like coaching itself, there is no one-size-fits-all answer when creating a coaching space. Commenter Suzanne Rogers noted the fact that school may be returning in a different format for everyone, which will come with its own set of new and unique challenges. But no matter what the situation – whether your school will be operating virtually, face-to-face, both, or something else entirely – there are always benefits to keeping things flexible to the needs of your coaching partners. As Stephen Avery points out in his reply, “Much like a classroom for your students, your coaching space should and will reflect the needs of your new learners – the teachers of your school!”

 

Check out the complete list of suggestions here on our Facebook page.

Do you have tips for creating a collaborative coaching environment? Please add to the comment section below!

 

2 Comments

  1. Melanie Gonzales

    Yes, to all of the above. Candy jar and snacks were key for me. Also, consider posting norms that all parties agree upon–this could be posted in your office, a PLC room, or common area. With the exception of some meaningful quotes and family pics, I tried to use wall space to capture “us” as a team working toward a common goal much like in a classroom you dedicate most of the space to things you and your class create together such as Anchor charts, etc. This is a subtle reminder that it is “we” not me and a team approach.

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  2. Lisa Pryor

    Great physical suggestions and strong reminders about the trust building foundation of coaching relationships. So much of our work has been on Zoom since March that we are often working collaboratively, side by side, sharing documents and creating new ones — together. We’ve learned so much about peer to peer coaching and working since COVID19 — lessons we must take forward into the new school year!

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