20 Tips for New Instructional Coaches
Hello and welcome to the great world of professional coaching. It was ten years ago that I began working as a full-time instructional coach after dabbling in the field on a part-time basis for several years. Here’s what I wish I’d known back then, and here’s what I’m offering you now that you’ve arrived in this field.
1. It is not your responsibility to fix anyone. The role of a coach is to provide support by actively listening and highlighting the best thinking of the participants. (In any case, it’s impossible to fix anyone else but ourselves.)
2. Clarify your understanding of what coaching is. What is your own personal definition of it? What is the definition of coaching for teachers and administrators? Get everyone on the same page when it comes to a definition for coaching.
3. Be aware of what others are expecting of you. Is there anything specific that your principle (or supervisor) wants you to perform or accomplish? What are the expectations of your teachers? What are your professional aspirations as a coach? Who is in charge of those? What ways do your objectives support the objectives of your institution?
4. It is not your responsibility to be an expert in everything. You are not need to be an expert in every aspect of teaching or in a specific subject or curriculum. You are not required to be an expert.
5. It is your responsibility to assist an adult in their learning process. It is not our responsibility to direct or drive their thoughts, nor is it our business to force them to do anything.
6. You should be familiar with the concept of adult learning. You’ll also need to understand how to put your newfound knowledge into action. You must be familiar with the structure of a coaching dialogue in order to work from a position of knowledge about adult learning.
7. In order for you to be a facilitator of someone else’s learning, they must have faith in you. During the first several months, focus on developing relationships and cultivating trust. You can’t coach if you don’t have trust.
8. Create a safe environment for taking risks and learning new things. Make an effort to become an expert in this field. What is the best way to go about it? Begin by thinking about your own life and the needs you have. What makes you feel confident in your ability to take risks?
9. The ability to listen is the most fundamental talent of a coach. Learn different ways to listen, put your listening skills to the test, and when in doubt, listen.
10. Make certain that the teacher you are assisting is the one who is speaking. In a coaching session, you will only speak for less than a third of the time. Trust that by allowing her the opportunity to speak and be heard — and possibly by asking a thought-provoking question — she will gain the benefit she seeks from the discussion.
11. Pay attention to what is important. What is it that they are truly passionate about? What are their fundamental principles? What are their aims, dreams, and aspirations in life?
12. Discover the pleasure in instructing. In those moments when you’re unsure whether or not you should return to the classroom — when you miss the joy of teaching children, when you’re feeling a little lost as a new coach — set your eyes on identifying the joy of coaching. It’s right in front of you.
13. Allow those that you help to carry out their responsibilities. Coaches can feel confident in their abilities once they have mastered the large and complex skill set of coaching. They can then delegate their responsibilities to the people they are assisting.
14. It takes a lot of practise to become a master. Keep in mind that mastery may require 10,000 hours of effort, including feedback, in order to achieve. Find colleagues with whom you can exercise your coaching talents, then practise, practise, practise your coaching skills.
Coaches should engage in substantive talks. Make certain that the conversation has some significance. People show up for discussions that are important to them. When it comes to important conversations, teachers are not averse to having them.
16. Have discussions concerning pupils with other people. These are the kinds of conversations that are important. In order to keep the conversation focused on the needs of our young people, use student work, anecdotes, observations, and recordings of students to help ground it.
17. Avoid becoming overly busy. Make sure you don’t take on too many initiatives, duties, or tasks at the same time. You’ll need time to think, plan, reflect, and learn more about coaching throughout this time period. Avoid the urge to take on extra work as a way of making up for the fact that you don’t know what you’re doing as a coach. If you want to be a coach, learn about coaching and put it into practise.
18. Take your time. Many changes are required in our educational institutions, and it will take time for them to take effect. You have the ability to make every discussion count. Consider each coaching conversation as a new young tree that you are establishing. You may not be able to sit in the shade of the tree, but you can get the process started. “Patience does not imply a passive acceptance of one’s lot,” stated the poet Rumi. It means to have enough foresight to put your faith in the outcome of a procedure.” Put your faith in the process.
19. Keep an open mind. Be insatiably and humbly inquisitive. Learn how to ask nonjudgmental questions that encourage someone else’s thoughts and imagination to grow and expand. Learn how to ask nonjudgmental questions about assumptions, biases, interpretation, and opinion in order to have a better understanding. Know that working as an instructional coach will provide you with a vast amount of knowledge on subjects you didn’t even realise you didn’t know. Curiosity is a good thing.
Be compassionate in your actions. Compassion for individuals you are assisting is essential. Consider the feelings of your students. Compassion for oneself is essential. From compassion comes the conversations we need to transform our schools.