Today’s guest author, Chris Munro, is a director with Growth Coaching International, the leading provider of coaching professional development in Australia and New Zealand for nearly two decades. Instructional Coaching Group and Growth Coaching International have partnered to develop innovative professional development workshops for coaches and teachers, and we are thrilled that Chris will be presenting at this year’s Teaching | Learning | Coaching Conference in Kansas City! Don’t forget to register to attend!

 

As we reach the end of Term 3 in Australia, The Impact Cycle instructional coaching program has been delivered by my Growth Coaching International colleagues and myself to hundreds of educators across Australia & New Zealand. This is a great opportunity to ask ourselves important questions about the program and about coaching in general. What has become clearer? What have we learned?

 

Those supporting the development of teachers in schools see The Impact Cycle as a process that brings clarity and gives a shape to their work with teachers. It provides ‘the how’ of instructional coaching, offering a structure that can be adapted to the specific needs of each teacher and their classroom and establishing clarity of intent. This fosters healthy and effective communication leading to trust in both the coach and the coaching process.

 

Facilitative, Dialogical, and Directive approaches are ALL necessary at different times and sometimes in the same conversation. Advanced coaching is being present enough in the moment to ascertain the need and shifting stance in service of the coachee. This needs to be done in a way that respects the autonomy of the teacher and enables them to exercise agency.

An effective instructional coach:

  • partners with teachers
  • is humble and respectfully curious
  • listens to understand
  • has instructional expertise, but does not position themselves as the expert
  • positions the teacher as the decision maker

Instructional expertise is necessary but not sufficient for being an effective instructional coach. An instructional coach needs the same core skillset and way of being as other coaches, plus the ability to explain instructional strategies in a precise and respectful way. However, they demonstrate respect for the teacher as the expert in their world.

Instructional coaching is NOT just the same as mentoring, training, or technical support. The decisional power sits with the teacher. Our voices are equal. Effective instructional coaching should feel dialogical, not directive.

 

Teacher goals are more emotionally compelling when they describe the powerful difference they want to make and what this will look like in terms of STUDENT learning, behaviours, and dispositions. An effective way to set these goals with teachers is to use the PEERS goals framework.

The power of video to help us see what it looks like when we do what we do also cannot be understated. It’s like steroids for teacher (and coach) learning. It’s also a bit scary, so we need to help coachees get past this. Once we do this, the benefits of using video far outweigh the challenges.

 

Effective instructional coaching is a cycle, not an event. The inbuilt supportive accountability in follow-up conversations maintains momentum and drives iterative improvements in practice. The Partnership Principles provide a set of touchstones to guide our work as coaches.

 

Am I living them out in my coaching? Is the coachee experiencing them? How do I know? What does it look like?

In a similar way to a coach working with a teacher, it can be helpful to articulate the answers to these reflective questions, especially the last two. This enables us to more readily spot the positive behaviours and the difference they are making when they happen. However, this is difficult to do on our own and the best way to critically reflect is with another coach who will help you analyze your current reality.

Becoming an effective coach is a similar process to becoming an effective teacher. What’s it like when you do what you do? How do you know? How might you find out? What needs to change? What small steps can you take? What are you noticing?

Let us know your answers in the comments!

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Here is a list of some people you can expect to see at the Teaching Learning Coaching Conference 2019! Click on each name below to review some of their work.

We hope to see you in Kansas City!

Rachel Lofthouse

Professor of Teacher Education,
Carnegie School of Education

 

Ta-Nehisi Coates

Distinguished Writer in Residence,
NYU’s Arthur L Carter Journalism Institute

Jamie Almanzan

Equity Leadership Coach,
The Equity Collaborative

Linda Cliatt-Wayman

TED Talk Presenter, Principal,
Strawberry Mansion High School

Kristin Anderson

Founder and CEO,
The Brilliance Project

Ellen & Bruce Eisenberg

Executive Director, Associate Director
PA Institute for Instructional Coaching

Rebecca Frazier

Author,

The Joy of Coaching

Michelle Harris

Senior Consultant,

Instructional Coaching Group

Jan Hasbrouck

Author

 

Ann Hoffman

Senior Consultant,

Instructional Coaching Group

Darnisa Amante

CEO and Co-founder,

The Disruptive Equity Education Project

 

Kathy Perret

Co-author,

The Coach Approach to School Leadership

John Campbell

Founding Director,

Growth Coaching International

Marshall Goldsmith

Executive Educator, Coach

 

Jim Knight

Senior Partner,

Instructional Coaching Group

Nathan Lang-Raad

Chief Education Officer,

WeVideo

Nancy Love

Senior Consultant,

Research for Better Teaching

Alisa Simeral

Author, School Consultant

 

Tricia Skyles

Author, Consultant

Safe and Civil Schools

Bill Sommers

Author, Consultant

Learning Omnivores

Bradley Staats 

Author, Professor

University of NC School of Kenan-Flagler Business School

Sharon Thomas

Senior Consultant,

Instructional Coaching Group

 

Christian Van Nieuwerburgh

Executive Director,

Growth Coaching International

John Krownapple

Author, Consultant

 

Tara Martin

Innovative Curriculum Facilitator,

Lawrence Public Schools

Crysta Crum

Educator,

Bowling Green City Schools