Tuesday, December 9, 2014

What is a Coach?

In previous posts, I have described the role of a "coach" by using the analogy of when I coached JV Girls' Basketball at my previous school.  I saw a coach as someone who constantly encouraged the players towards improvement, modeled and guided skills that would help them be successful in the game, and pushed their players to strive for improvement and greatness (even when they didn't believe in themselves).


In my post from July (before I had even started this role), I wrote this:

Being a "coach" takes me back to my actual coaching days, when I was the girls JV basketball coach at my high school for 3 years.  My job as a coach was to work with and support my players in furthering their skills both as individuals and as a team... to take them from where they were and model for them, provide them opportunities for practice, and celebrate their successes as they improved and saw growth.  My players were all at different levels when they came to me, and it was important to meet each player at their level and build them from that point - not expect them to all start as high-caliber players, but knowing and believing that each of them could get to that point with hard work, dedication, and desire.  It was also about building a collaborative team environment, where my players trusted each other, pushed each other, encouraged one another, and wanted each other to be successful.  Good coaching was also about building relationships and trust - my players knowing that I asked a lot of them and always pushed them to be better, but that I was always 100% supportive of them and there for them in whatever ways they needed.

Now that I am knee deep into being a Digital Learning Coach, I still think those are roles I play.  I constantly encourage my teachers to improve and look at things differently and try new approaches... I model and guide them through learning skills that will help them be successful with integrating technology... I push them to strive for improvement and greatness, even if sometimes I'm pushing them out of their comfort zone (this last part definitely requires a relationship with deep trust built - I'm only to this point with a few of my teachers so far this year).


As I was working through my ISTE Coaching Academy tonight, I started exploring the Ed Tech Coaches Discussion Board on ISTE (highly recommend if you are an ISTE member - log in, click on "connect" and find the communities you want to participate in).

One of the threads led me to this article, titled "What is Differentiated Coaching" by Jane Kise. (Funny enough, I just ordered her book called Differentiated Coaching: A Framework for Helping Teachers Change, which just came in the mail 2 days ago. I'm excited to read it.)

The article described a coach as:

Coach: A vehicle for taking valuable people from where they are to where they wish to be

I had never thought of it that way.  I am working with very valuable people, and helping them journey from where they are to where they wish to be.  I like that. :)

How does this "new" description of a coach settle in your mind?  Have you heard of any other analogies for the role of a "Tech Coach" in terms of how "coach" is used in other contexts?  I'd love to hear in the comments...

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