Friday, January 23, 2015

Educational Coaching as a Resilience Builder

Working within an educational context is not the most cushy job one could choose.   It is fraught with tensions that are often counter intuitive to what it is to be an 'educator'.  The constant juggle of competing expectations (societal, parental, political) and the ongoing changes in education,  can take its toll on even the most resilient person.

Given the complexities of the job in relation to the ever increasing demands on accountability, educational leaders' are often on the look out for processes that streamline these demands in an authentic and practical way.  Administrators need to be assured that the accountability measures they employ are robust.  Whilst teachers' are not opposed to accountability, they are looking for an approach that grows them as educators.  They are after a process that assists them to handle change with resilience, where they are active partners in control of where they are going, not participants in a 'done to' model where they are unable to thrive.  Ideally, they want an approach that does not add to their workload and cause further workplace stress.

On the face of it, this would seem like a tall task.

Enter educational coaching.  (see my infographic on what educational coaching is)

A coaching framework has the power to assist educators to face change and difficult situations, both personally and professionally, with resilience, so that they are more able to bounce forward whenever they encounter setbacks.

Heres How Coaching Facilitates Resiliency:

Coaching is solutions focussed.  This means coachees' do not dwell on the negatives, but look forward, are proactive and are always seeking solutions from a positive mindset.

Coaching is goal orientated.  Setting a goal is about looking towards the future, and because it has measurable outcomes that are action orientated, it is motivating, rewarding and affirming.

Coaching improves performance and productivity.  When an educator (or anyone for that matter) experiences growth and success in their job, confidence is lifted and feelings of satisfaction are increased.  Feeling successful in your job is a key resiliency factor.

Coaching encourages individual and collective professional efficacy.  This gives teachers' an opportunity to foster collaboration, share successes and feel part of a team.

Coaching is supportive and it is a partnership.  It is a high trust model and confidential.  Teachers'  resiliency levels rise when they know they are supported and trusted to take ownership of their professional development.   It empowers them to rise to challenges and to take responsibility for their professional behaviour and learning.

Coaching encourages self regulation.  At our place, we use the Growth model of coaching, where the t and h refer to tactics and habits.  Knowing how to use tactics and habits to help you achieve your goals are great resiliency tools that cross over into  your personal life success, and have obvious positive ramifications for classroom practice.

Coaching is strengths based.  It taps into the potential of the coachee, and assists them to use their strengths and to find their hidden strengths.  Knowing what these are is a big resiliency bonus.

Coaching is about feedback.  Receiving feedback about your success and progress towards your goals in a constructive and positive manner increases your resiliency.

Coaching is purposeful.  Teachers are busy people who are often being asked to do more 'add ons' and at times, it can feel like there are never any 'take aways'.  Workload pressures seem to increase.  Coaching is not a chore, but an invigorating process that can give teachers the opportunity to see the 'woods for the trees', reflect, focus and because it is all about them, this 'me time' can be the highlight of personal development.

Coaching is authentic.  As a collaborative conversation, it is a process that is 'done with' someone, not 'done to'.  There is no-one telling you what to do, rather, the coach assists the coachee to work out for themselves what they will do and how they will do it.

Helping our staff develop and strengthen their resiliency is something that can assist our organisations culture, our teams wellbeing and it can increase the success of our schools.  As an educational leader, I can certainly say that coaching is an excellent tool to build resilience.

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