Sunday, April 17, 2016

Book Notes & Reflections: The Art of Coaching (Chapter 9: Facilitative Coaching Conversations)

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.

  • Sometimes coaching can feel like a lot of "talking and conversation", but a lot goes into those conversations!
    • "A word of caution: As a coach starts pushing and probing into behaviors, beliefs, and being, clients can feel uncomfortable.  Some have described this as feeling that their whole brain is being re-wired as they go through a process of unlearning." (page 164) I have experienced this with several of my fellows.  Sometimes they can get defensive and take things the wrong way, but a little bit of uncomfortableness is necessary for deep change to happen.  Sometimes I have found that if they just simmer on something for another week (or even a couple of days), they come back with a different perspective.  This quote is what makes coaching in small groups rather than individuals so difficult.  In my experience, it's much harder to let the walls down when you are working with a coach in a PLC, even with a trusted group of colleagues. Every teacher has different beliefs, even if they collaborate and work together on most planning.  Because of this, different teachers need to be "pushed" and "challenged" in different ways, and this best happens on an individualized, personalized journey.
    • Facilitative Stance - "A coach pulls and helps the client to be autonomous by using...a cathartic, catalytic, or supportive approach." (page 164)
    • Authoritative / Directive Stance - "A Coach takes an instructive or directive role on behalf of the client and...use...a prescriptive, informative, or confrontational approach." Page 164-165)
    • These two stances are the "coaching dance".  I've written previously about the three stances of expert, cognitive, and collaborative. No matter what you call it, the same ideas are in all of them.
    • Cathartic - help the client to release the emotions that may be blocking progress.  As Aguilar states, "we need to remember that without clearing emotions or working through them we often can't impact real behavioral change." (page 166)
      • Some reflective prompts for cathartic approach: Talk through what you planned, why you planned it, what you hoped for, what you saw, and how you felt about what you saw.
      • Tips for Cathartic Approach: Ask permission to invite feelings in, acknolwedge the role that emotions play, and affirm the value in processing and releasing emotions. (page 168)
    • Catalytic - offer questions that hope to stimulate change.  Purpose is not to force, push, or mandate.  "We design questions based on our understanding of where a client is and where he can go, and if we're right with our assessment, and if the question is offered with care, transformation is possible." (page 169)
      • This is most similar to the stance of "cognitive coaching" that I've talked about previously.  Probing questions are the best tool in our toolbox for this.
      • Aguilar referred to a protocol called The Five Whys, which you can reference here.
      • Tips for Catalytic Approach: Nudge gently through questions, notice metaphor and symbolic language; explore. (page 171)
    • Supportive
      • Aguilar mentions she had a hard time with this approach as a new coach, and I have felt the same way.  She said that, "Being supportive felt like casting positive judgment on someone and I worried that perhaps the flip side of being supportive was being critical, which was a door I never wanted to open." (page 171).  I have found that sometimes I want to be "supportive" when a fellow is sharing their feelings and experiences, but I don't agree with their complaints nor their philosophy of teaching behind their complaints.  If I am supportive and nod my head in agreement (of trying to understand their perspective), I am afraid it will come across as validating their complaints or philosophy. 
      • The goal is not just to make the client feel good about himself, but helping him see all the small movement he's been making towards the goals, which sometimes can be hard to see.  Acknowledge all of the little things that have been adding up!
      • Tips for Supportive Approach: Be authentic, be specific, highlight micromovements of growth (page 173)
  • Final Thoughts - Everyone moves at different paces when in a coaching relationship.  We will not get "as far" with every fellow as we always hope, and we can never compare growth fellow to fellow because everyone is on an individual journey.  One year of coaching may not be enough to see the growth we are looking for - we must be patient and know that it takes time!  What is most important is that the fellows are becoming reflective educators who are ready and willing to grow and meet the ever-changing needs of our students.

...Until Chapter 10...

Order my new book (released May 2016) today!  Click here for more details and to place an order!

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