Fifty educators from Atlanta, Omaha and Kansas City are engaged in learning and conversation regarding the topic of transformational coaching using Elena Aguilar’s, Art of Coaching. Our facilitator for two days, Noelle Apostol Colin, is discussing and modeling what the “art of coaching” looks like in practice. Teachers, administrators and coaches from Howard Kennedy Elementary School in Omaha, Kansas City Neighborhood Charter School in Kansas City, Purpose Built Schools Atlanta (Thomasville Heights, Slater Elementary and Price Middle School), Drew Charter School and Westminster School comprise our group of educators at the institute.
Day 1 was a deep dive into the meaning of transformational coaching, which Elena Aguilar describes as:
doing, thinking, and being: doing a set of actions, holding a set of beliefs, and being in a way that results in those actions leading to change. These are the three things that can make coaching transformational. (Art of Coaching, Elena Aguilar)
Noelle Colin presented the model with a graphic that illustrates transformational coaching as “coaching from the inside out.” This phrase captures the model’s core belief that coaching has to start with centering on the person’s core values. Encouraging and supporting teachers as they articulate who they are as a classroom teacher. I think of this as the teacher identifying the real self or the real teacher who shows up to the classroom every day. What are the skills, content knowledge, and caring and understanding the teacher brings to their work with students? During the workshop, I particularly enjoyed the values exercise, a way to get in touch with who we are. We picked 10 core values from a list of about 100 and were asked to hone the list down to our top three. After sharing our three core values with partner, we then reflected on how these values get manifested in our teaching (click here for an example of the values exercise).
The coach’s role is to support the teacher on a journey to get in touch with their real self, as well as discover the ideal self or ideal teacher they want to be. From what I’ve learned, the coaching process seems to be about closing the gap between the real and ideal self.
Throughout the workshop, we were introduced to protocols we could use in the coaching process and given time to practice them. Practicing the protocols was particularly well received by the participants.
Noelle shared the following quote, which generated some interesting dialogue and questions.
Coaching is a form of professional development that brings out the best in people, uncovers strengths and skills, builds effective teams, cultivates compassion, and builds emotionally resilient educators. Coaching at its essence is the way that human beings, and individuals, have always learned best. (Art of Coaching)
As we closed Day 1, we were asked to reflect on this quote from Viktor E. Frankl.
Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to chooseour response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.