Sunday, April 24, 2016

Book Notes & Reflections: The Art of Coaching (Chapter 13: Technical Tips and Habits of Mind)

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.
  • What should be in a coach's schedule?
    • Coaching observations and conversations
      • My current schedule - 8 hours of formal meetings, 3-4 hours of informal observations, 3-5 hours of "formal" (planned) observations = 14-17 hours total
    • Preparation
      • My current schedule: 2-3 hours per week minimum for routine prep.  Additional hours if prepping for a specific lesson or idea and need to do research. = 5-6 hours total
    • Collaboration (with admin, instructional rounds)
      • My current schedule: 1 hour per week
    • Team Participation or Facilitation
      • My current schedule: 2 hours per month at leadership and staff meetings. Hoping to have more next year by being a part of each of the late start meetings, adding a formalized 1-2 hours per month additional
    • Coach Reflection & PD
      • My current schedule: 4 hours each week with DLC team for PD / Collaboration.   Individual growth and research: 1-2 hours each week
    • Additional (not in book)
      • Planning PD sessions & staff meetings - varies based on time of year, but probably 2-4 hours minimum
      • Meeting with "on call" teachers - staff can schedule meetings with me anytime based on my posted schedule.  This is probably 3-4 hours / week minimum
  • Planning for a Coaching Session
    • We need to have a plan in our "coach-minds", preparing what type of questions we are going to ask.  I have an agenda and plan for each meeting and I generally take 5-10 minutes the morning of to review the meetings for the day.  If there is something specific I know we'll be debriefing or prebriefing, I'll plan out the questions I want to ask.
    • **Use Coaching Session Planning Tool on page 235 for question prompts
    • Steps:
      • Where does my client need to go?
        • This has been much easier since I've intentionally been doing better at "notetaking" during the meeting on our agenda doc and setting up a plan for the next meeting as we conclude each meeting. 
      • Who do I need to be?
        • Convey a sense of calm - allows them to feel like they can slow down and learn.  Take care of myself so I can be that way for them!
        • Before walking in, "activate my compassion" for my fellow - imagine what their day has been like
  • A Coaching Conversation
    • There IS a structure to a coaching conversation; sometimes you must make this explicit to the fellow.
    • Flow:
      • General check-in - I have "How's your Weather" as the first agenda item to remind myself to do this. Make sure they are brief; possibly make an agreement about how long we will spend on the check-in phase.  Also, be careful how much personal information I reveal to them - I don't want them to feel like I am emotionally unstable in any way.  
      • Transition to "coaching meeting" and create the plan - It is my responsibility to shift the conversation once this "warm-up" is over.  Possible questions: "What's on your mind today? What would you like to talk about?" - I generally preview the agenda we have set (which they can add to throughout the week) and ask if there is anything else they wanted to add or if they have a priority order for things that may be on the agenda.
        • I also have a "business items" part of the agenda where we confirm the schedule for the next week
      • Follow-up on any items from last week / hold them accountable. (page 238)
        • "Last week you decided you wanted to try ____... how did that go?"
        • "Last week you committed to ____... what happened?"
        • I have my fellows do a bit of journaling every week, and usually it is about something they were going to try during the previous week. 
        • Where I struggle is when fellows don't follow through with what they said they were going to do.  I think being more explicit in the previous meeting about the expectations for them and then always following up specifically will help with that.  Aguilar says that we need to "release some attachment to outcome" (page 244) and think through why the fellow isn't following through.  Is the task too difficult? Did he/she just agree to please me?  Who decided the fellow was going to do these things - the fellow or the coach?  Good sentence starter: "'I've noticed that you haven't done the things you agreed to.  This is a pattern.  Can we talk about what's going on?'  Find a way to be curious about what's going on rather than frustrated" (page 245)
        • This may end up constituting the entire coaching conversation because of reflection / debrief.
      • Move the discussion to the agreed-upon agenda
        • Make sure to agree on a prioritized list of things, especially because there are usually more items than we have time for on the list.  How long do we want to spend on each item? 
          • I need to utilize a timer more to help us stay focused.
        • Use various coaching stances through listening, questioning, and learning activities
          • Have question prompts out and handy.  I had printed copies of these most of last year and the beginning of this year.  I need to pull them out again and make sure I am continuing to use them well and in the right times.
        • *Take notes throughout meeting with 2 foci - first, to remember things (the meetings I get so engrossed in the conversation I forget to take notes I forget it because I will literally sit there an hour later and not remember everything we talked about!).  Second, write down words or phrases the fellow says that I might want to return to.  I don't do this as often but I'd like to be more specific in that. 
          • Aguilar recommends handwritten notes - I prefer typewritten because I can type much faster and because I can type while still keeping my eyes glued on the fellow. 
      • Determine next steps *Be specific!
        • What is the plan for next week?  I have a spot in my agenda for "next meeting topics".  Sometimes things get copy-pasted from this week's agenda that we didn't get to, and sometimes we make other specific plans.
        • What are the actions the fellow is expected to take over the next week?  When will it be done by?  What will I be doing to support those steps? (i.e. will I be coming in to observe, will I be providing any resources, etc)
      • Reflect on conversation and ask for feedback
        • I've never actually done this, but I'd like to
        • It is my responsibility to "calmly wrap up a meeting so that the [fellow] can feel a sense of closure and be clear on next steps." (page 239)
        • Questions on page 242.
      • Follow up with fellow - Aguilar sends an email summary to clients after each meeting.  I send one a week, usually in mass, on either Thurs or Fri of the week.  I have general reminders for all fellows, all that refer to them to their specific journal or their specific agenda.  I have several fellows who always read it and take care of it and then of course the few that don't even pay attention to it because it's one more email.  I still haven't found the most effective way to do this.
  • Coach responsibility during conversation
    • Lots of roles:
      • Guiding conversation
      • Keeping fellow history & goals in mind
      • listening deeply
      • using questioning strategies to advance fellow's thinking
      • looking through different lenses to get multiple perspectives
      • offer activities that deepen learning
      • managing time and taking notes
      • monitoring my own mental / emotional processes
    • We must pay attention to their verbal and nonverbal cues!!  Listen in for clues of emotional distress that may be a signal they are shutting down.  Ask for permission to explore it further.
  • Reflecting on a conversation:
    • Does the fellow feel more optimistic about what they can do/
    • Does the fellow feel more empowered?
    • Did the fellow reconnect with his vision / values / abilities?

...Until Chapter 14...

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

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