It has taken me some time to sit down and write this post. I have quickly discovered that The Art of Coaching is not a book to be taken lightly at all. I read Chapter 2 yesterday, only to realize that I needed time to let the reading soak in and the ideas marinate. The text has been on my mind and I feel as though I can finally start writing my reflection.
If you are a coach, people have to know your purpose and the reason you are there. Each coach can have a different purpose, and if your staff do not know where you fall, they’ll utilize you as they have done in the past. This means you might end up doing a lot of things that your coaching position isn’t supposed to do. Coaches are meant to be empowering to the staff that they serve, not the exact opposite. A coach’s job isn’t meant to “fix” people. A coach can assist someone often, but unless that person wants to learn and be coached, then the coaching itself is useless.
Coaches should create a vision statement for themselves. This vision will talk about what you want to do as a coach, your “big picture”, and your goals for working with staff. Like a philosophy of learning, this statement will help guide you in your practice. And if you find the vision changes as the year goes by? Then change the vision to match! Don’t be stuck in a vision that no longer suits your goals or purpose.
One thing I didn’t realize was that coaching had different models, and these models affected how staff developed and thrived. There are directive, facilitative, and transformational. If we were to assign numbers to these, directive would be a 1, facilitative a 2, and transformative a 3.
A directive coach is only providing instructions and telling someone how to do something. They share knowledge and provide resources. As an ITRT, this is where most of my work has fallen the majority of the time. I realize now that I am not very effective (yet!), and that realizing where I am as a coach is going to push me toward being a better one. The point of reading this book was to help me grow in my position, after all.
I know that changing my style of coaching will take time and that since this is considered an art, that it can’t be learned all at once. I can, however, start moving toward becoming more facilitative in my coaching as I learn what it means to be transformational. As a facilitative coach I would help them to learn new ways of thinking through many different processes. I work more with where the staff member is and build on what they already have. Instead of only sharing expert knowledge, I am instead helping them to build their own skills and reflection that will work within the walls of their classroom.
Transformational coaching will be harder to reach, but it’s not impossible. It takes the other two and goes a step further to work on changing one’s state of being. According to Aguilar, it’s not often a model that has been found in schools. One of the things that transformational coaching does is “explore language, nonverbal communication, and emotions, and how these affect relationships, performance, and results.” (pg 26) It also works to get to the “why” of causes and their occurrences.
Yes, this is going to be a long road for me, but I hope to come to the end of this journey even better at being an ITRT than before. The material is harder, but that’s okay. I’ll get there one step at a time. If you are reading this post, and are also reading this book, please consider joining me on my journey. I would love to have some others to discuss this book with so that I can see multiple viewpoints!