Coaching in education is more than just questioning. I’ve attended many courses focused on increasing the effectiveness of coaching in schools. Here are 5 tools you can use to make coaching sessions as powerful as possible, for both coach and coachee.
1. Rapport building
With increasing workloads, rapport building can be easily dismissed as time wasting chit chat. However for meaningful conversations that result in change, we need to connect with colleagues we are coaching and this means more than a cursory, ‘how was the break?’. You could try to expand on questions like these and build more dialogue.
What did you do over the holidays?
Not much, just a trip to the theatre.
What did you see? Were you with family?
Scaling encapsulates the idea of change and progress very easily. By pinpointing a position on a numerical scale, our attitude or feelings towards the most complex, messy situation can be quantified and steps forward can be made. If necessary, simply sketch out a scale.
On a scale of 1-10, how happy are you with boys’ engagement in this class at the moment?
It is about a 3.
What is happening in a class where it is 8?
3. Minute by minute contracting
Initial coaching training in education emphasises that coaching is not about providing solutions. As a result, we can be nervous about sharing our expertise, but our expertise could be helpful for the coachee. Minute by minute contracting involves seeking permission from the coachee for you to
offer your own experience or knowledge.
Would it be helpful if I shared what I did with some boys in a similar ability group last year?
Yes- that would be great actually. I am not sure where to start really.
Well, it took a while, but I figured it was the start of lessons that were key, so I changed my starters. I made them shorter and more competitive.
As teachers, we have to focus on wait time and as teacher coaches, we have to be comfortable with that same silence and thinking space. Simply allowing someone time to process and reflect in the coaching conversation can be transformational, but we need to develop the habit. Even if this seems at odds with our profession; one that is so synonymous with talk.
5. Compliment giving
Many of us are uncomfortable with compliment giving as it can appear manipulative or driven by agenda. How many times have we entered someone else’s classroom and admired a display, but not said anything. How many times have we listened to someone and admired how determined they are or hard they are working? Compliment giving in coaching or even our daily conversations isn't about finding something nice to say; it's about acknowledging thought, work and success in a precise way. If someone feels a little bit better in their day as a result, then we are all winning!
I really liked what you said about friendship in the assembly this morning. Some of the students over by me looked really surprised!
That key word challenge starter you shared really engaged 9Y4, they all got at least 6 words in! Some achieved 10. Thank you.
Do you have any coaching tips to share? We'd love to hear from you in the comments section.