If we are going to rely on coaches for our educators, let’s start with some ground rules.
Select those who can do it right. When looking for coaches within an organization, the first step should be to identify those who have been successful at their school sites or in different environments. Coaching isn’t innate, so using those who have some experience and success is a good start. One suggestion is to create a coaching program so those who take on the roles have the skills around critical conversations, goal setting, mentoring, supporting, resource acquisition and more.
Hard on the issue, soft on the person. One of the most important rules we can learn as educators is to address issues with much more zest than the people involved. Focus on the issues. Be more ginger in the way the person is handled, while remaining direct and on topic.
Build relationships. Easier said than done for some folks. Look at which potential coaches have a history of relating to others and build relationships more naturally. Relationship building is half the battle. Okay, maybe it’s a little more.
Focus on results. Ultimately, coaching needs to have measurable results, so at the onset, identify what the goals will be and what measures will be used over time, both qualitative and quantitative. Look at specific behaviors, check in on those regularly, and even consider establishing private blogs for the coach and coachee to more easily discuss, reflect and grow.
Finally, give coaching the time it needs to be effective and meaningful. Relationship take time, and so does moving the needle in public education on the important work of educating young people…and the adults who support them.