- A school administrator is also an instructional coach, life coach, behavior coach, character development coach, and career development coach.
- To make an impact, every educational coach should build relationships, listen, stay positive, and start small.
When talking to another colleague about a coaching training I had recently attended, they asked me why I would attend training designed for coaches. “Are you looking to become an instructional coach?” they inquired. Although I knew they were joking, I was still perplexed by their question as they were also a principal.
Don’t all principals consider themselves a coach? Don’t all administrators want to sharpen their own skills at providing feedback, and helping those they serve reach new levels in their performance? Isn’t every school leader looking for new ways to inspire their staff, and provide them with new ideas that will engage and excite their students about what they are learning? In my opinion, understanding what it is to be a coach and improving your coaching skills will have a direct impact on your effectiveness as a school leader.I feel that it is imperative for all school leaders to take time to invest in their own growth so that they can ensure that those they serve will continue to grow and succeed. Click To Tweet
Some of the different coaching hats a school administrator wears:
- Instructional Coach
- Life Coach
- Behavior Coach
- Character Development Coach
- Career Development Coach
Share more suggestions with me, and I will add them to this list.
So what makes a coach great? Here are the 4 things that every educational coach should do to have a positive impact on those they serve.
Every Educational Coach Should…Build Relationships
Rita Pearson said, “Kids don’t learn from people they don’t like!” Guess what, neither do teachers! Take time to get to know the people you are working with. Learn the culture of the school, what teachers believe, what their teaching style is, and how they approach students and engage them in the learning process. In other words, effective coaches establish a culture of trust and collaboration.
Every Educational Coach Should…Listen
Have conversations with teachers—not about what you observed, but about who they are! Build up that relationship, and lay the groundwork for TRUST! You can be the most knowledgeable person with strong expertise in pedagogy, but if they do not trust you, they will never truly learn from you.
Once you know who they are, you should take time to find out what drives them (their why), and ask deeper questions about their experience, likes and dislikes, and their go-to teaching strategies. One of my new favorite quotes in education is “You must go slow to go fast!” Take the time to build strong relationships, earn trust, and lay the groundwork to help them grow![scroll down to keep reading]
Every Educational Coach Should…Stay Positive
No one likes to hear all the things they are doing wrong! Be supportive, and offer ideas about strategies and techniques that worked for you in the classroom.
Every Educational Coach Should…Start Small
When you provide people with feedback it must be transparent, thoughtful, timely, and targeted. Use the feedback sandwich technique, where you provide them with a positive, an area to work on, and end with a positive. Focus on one thing during a lesson that you observed and offer to help with it. If the teacher seems receptive, take the time to coach them through all the steps of implementing it into their next lesson.
Be there to observe their next lesson, and offer lots of praise (whether it went well or not) for trying it. If they need, model it for them, and possibly co-teach with them. Knowing that you are there for support will make them more comfortable when they take the risk of trying your suggestions.
I feel that it is imperative for all school leaders to take time to invest in their own growth so they can ensure those they serve will continue to grow and succeed. I am grateful for all the opportunities I have been given to grow as a coach, and to fill up my toolbox as a school administrator.
About Robert Breyer
Robert Breyer is the “proud” principal of Cameron Elementary School in Cameron, NC. He also makes time to coach aspiring leaders who are looking to make the transition from teacher to administration. He is the host of The Guiding Principals Podcast, where he encourages visionary school leaders to share the stories of their own leadership journey, and celebrates their successes along the way. Connect with Robert on his website at www.beyondthedeskleadership.com or via Twitter @rbleads.