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Monday, October 21, 2013

Educational Coaching - An Emerging Journey

Every now and again you participate in some professional development that really spins your wheels.

Education Coaching has 'spun my wheels' and then some.  I have always been a 'questioning' practitioner - both as a leader and as a teacher.  The use of good questioning has been a tool that has served me well, so the opportunity to sharpen this from a coaching perspective was a not to be missed opportunity.

This year I have been participating in the Coaching Accreditation Programme through Growth Coaching International.  In short it is based on the GROWTH model and its brilliance, for me, is that it is solutions focussed.   It has been a full on 4 day programme across the year which is rolled out in 4 phases.  I am currently working through the 4th phase, which will give me full GCI accreditation.   http://www.growthcoaching.com.au

It has been a healthy learning curve for me - I have had to practice being more succinct (this will be ongoing) and to listen - not surface listen - but really listen.   Most importantly, I have had to learn to suspend all judgement, keep my opinion and suggestions to myself and really hone in on the questions to allow the person being coached to come up with their own solutions (also ongoing).   It is not as easy as I may lead you to think.

Now that I have completed phase 1 - 3 (my deputy has completed the training alongside of me which gives us additional expertise within our organisation) I am left with a number of wonderings on how this new found set of skills, and understandings about coaching, will benefit our growth as a school and build the teaching and learning capacity in our team.   Big wonderings.

As I travel down the next part of my journey exploring these wonderings and working alongside my team to plan the place coaching will have in our school, I will be documenting the process, the thinking, the ups and I no doubt, the downs.   I still have to map out what this looks like - a conglomeration of things to show the process I expect.  Some of this will include;

  • Blogging the journey - because who knows who else of you out there is interested in setting up coaching to improve teaching and learning in your schools and to grow your people.  Maybe like us - you are curious as to where to begin, what model might work for you and how it will be of benefit.  Sometimes hearing someone else's story is enough to encourage exploration.  
  • Self Review documentation - compiling various aspects of what we do, why we do it and how we got there will be essential in terms of accountability and reporting.  It is a serious part of our job and showing the journey to our Board, and to ERO when they are due, means we have the ability to account for the investment of time, money and professional developement.  Documenting our self review of the process shows that we are able to make informed decisions based on good evidence - it is in short, our evidence of change, improvement and growth.  It will also show where we need to make adjustments and why.  A very important strategic tool. 
  • Using Evernote - to house the various elements of evidence but also to assist in ensuring I am orgainised in all these elements.  I will be setting up a folder and series of notes that will be housed in my Digital Portfolio Notebook.  During this process I will be looking for tools to assist our journey and reflecting on my own coaching client/s.   I am curious to see how Evernote will be used and this will be a key area of reflection.  
  • Determining the place of teacher focus groups to assist in evaluating and critiquing the coaching process.
If you are using coaching as a tool for developing your team, please let me know.  I am keen to hear from others and to share innovations and thoughts.  

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