Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Book Notes & Reflections: The Art of Coaching (Chapter 3: Which beliefs help a coach be more effective?)

I've never blogged my notes and thoughts through a book, but I figure there's never a better time than NOW!

My goal is to create a reference & reflective place for me as I continue growing as a coach.

See my notes from all book chapters on my Coaching Page.

Direct quotes from the book are in blue.

Unmonitored beliefs... Aguilar references a conversation she had with one of her mentors, and the mentor said, "No one can learn from you if you think that they suck." (page 33)  This is a belief that is unmonitored because you might not ever intentionally think it, but it will come across in your word choice, conversation style, body language, and patience level.  I make it a priority to have a non-judgmental and non-evaluative relationship with my fellows - I am there to support and challenge them in their journey.  However, it is a battle to keep out the judgmental feelings that come into my head sometimes.  If we want to help our fellows understand their belief system, we must first understand our own and be aware of the beliefs that creep up - and then address them through the lens of our core values.  There is an activity that Aguilar put together on Core Values here.

Aguilar shares her 10-point Transformational Coaching Manifesto that has belief statements that stem from her core values.  There were a few points that really stuck out to me.

  • "Meet people where they are".  We must "seek to understand why a client is where she is...don't make her wrong for being wherever she is - she's just there."  With a core value of compassion, Aguilar we are able to meet people where they are, which is the "only place to start when trying to make meaningful change." (page 40).  Every fellow relationship is completely unique, and it's going to do nobody any good to compare.  Sometimes I feel like my fellows apologize for where they are at now and I just have to constantly remind them that no apology is necessary - this coaching is for them, for where they are at now, not where they "should be" or "are supposed to be" as they compare themselves to others. I also think this applies to pedagogical mindset.  It's hard to work with others that have a drastically different pedagogical viewpoint than you, but I have to remind myself of where I once was and the time and reflective energy it took to get to where I am today.  It takes time and everyone starts somewhere.
  • "There is no coaching without trust".  "It takes time to build, and once it has developed, it should not be taken for granted." (page 40)  I can't overemphasize trust.  Being at my school for the second year, I was able to build a foundation of trust with most of the teachers I work with this year.  Because of that, getting started this year was much easier.  However, I know that trust has to continue to be built throughout the year, and make sure to hold true to everything I have done to build that trust.
  • We must "listen very carefully... explore what is possible given the language that a client uses...be mindful of every word that comes out of my mouth." (page 41)  I am trying to be a better listener this year, because I want my coaching meetings to be more about the fellows and their thought processes / needs / desires / visions and less about mine. I need to improve on picking up on words or phrases (or just tone of voice / body language) that they use and learn the "right" way to respond to different cues.  In addition, I am trying to be more intentional about the words and phrases I use, especially with starters like, "What I heard you say was..." or "It sounds like..." or others that can be seen in some of the samples here.
  • We must "be fully present" in every coaching meeting.  My time is about my fellow, not the 3 hours of meetings I've had before or the 3 hours to come :)  I even think mentioning my crazy schedule should be off limits because I don't want them to feel like they are a burden to me or my life is "too crazy".  I actually love being busy going from meeting to meeting more so than having too much time off.  I like having a block of time on Mondays to prepare for my meetings that week, but then "off I go"!
  • We must understand that "transformation takes time - an undefined amount of time" and that "working from a place of impatience and urgency won't result in a transformed system."  It's about meeting them where they are and assisting them in "identifying and taking the step that comes next" for them - not for anyone else (page 41).  Every fellow progresses at different rates.  I saw some transform just over last school year.  Others took baby steps but definitely aren't "there" yet (meaning self-sufficient and ready to continue to grow without my support needed).  We can't put a time limit on growth, and I don't ever want my fellows to feel pressured that they have to reach a certain point in their growth by the end of the year.  I am just happy that they are growing and learning.
  • We must "avoid getting attached to the possible outcomes that arise" (page 42).  We must remind ourselves that we "don't [always] know what is right" because there are so many different possibilities of things that could happen.  This is hard for me sometimes because I have a vision of how it would work in my classroom with my teaching style and my expectations.  However, it's not my classroom - it's theirs.  And they will do things differently and have different goals and methods than I would.  We set goals together, but it's goals they want to set and outcomes they want to see.  This is a challenge, but I can definitely improve in this area this year.
Once we know our core values, then we can develop our belief statements, which translate into actions we take.  For example, "If one of your core values is appreciation, then a corresponding belief statement might be 'Always acknowledge the positive', which could guide your actions in a coaching conversation." (page 43).  I need to do more reflection on what my core values are and develop a "manifesto" similar to Aguilar's.

...Until Chapter 4...

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