As the final days of our course approaches, I wanted to take some time to reflect on my Connected Coaching learning experience. We are finalizing our group projects (the creation of Connected Coaching Toolkits) and having the time to revisit concepts has made me realize how much I have learned as a Connected Coach.
I have often been asked, “What is Connected Coaching?” So the Haiku Deck slides you see below is a brief visual response to that question. The remainder of my post will expand on the concept introduced in the slides.
If there is one key take away from this course, it is the reminder of how important trust is in our work as educators. Time and time again, I was reminded of this in both my own reflections and those of my co-learners. As Connected Coaches, we help educators to connect with one another both in synchronous and asynchronous formats. We foster a learning community by what we do and say, all the while, helping others to build collegial relationships with one another.
One of the biggest stereotypes of coaching is the notion that coaches “fix”, a theme I have explored previously. Connected Coaching bucks this stereotype because it is about starting where the individual is at. As the coach, I am a co-learner and explorer along with my coachee. As connected coaches, we start to do this by being seekers of stories and facilitators of the Appreciative Inquiry model.
An educator’s daily work flies by at a hectic pace, which further drives home the need for mindfulness in our work. Connected Coaches must be present and listen deeply as stories are shared. We embrace not having to be the “expert” and refrain from telling and/or judging. As a Connected Coach, it is so important that I am fully aware of my own assumptions and perceptions, as well as how they influence my responses and actions.
As someone who truly wants to support educators, this was perhaps one of the easiest areas for me to understand, but much harder to put into practice. As educators, we have often been trained to have the “correct answers”. I now see coaching as a journey and have let go of this need to have all the answers. This is because Connected Coaches help educators to uncover their strengths. This is key for individuals to reach their goals and new opportunities. We uncover strengths and opportunities by asking powerful questions, offering tools and support when needed, and leveraging technology in meaningful ways. We relish playing with ideas and thereby encourage, engage in, and support other educators in their own experimentation.
Educators are fantastic at constantly giving to their students and communities and less so to themselves. We can invest in educators by providing them with the environment, time, and tools to reflect, aspire and learn. When we invest in educators, we create vibrant and innovative learning spaces for our school communities.
Embracing the Connected Coaching mindset, utilizing our path markers and offering the most effective means of support is no easy task, but in doing so, we are able to help educators connect as a community of learners. As these connections grow over time, so will individuals, who will be inspired to act within their own communities. At its core, Connected Coaching is truly all about elevating educators and their students.
Special thanks to all my PLP co-learners and our instructor, Lani Ritter Hall, who have provided me with such rich discussions and experiences. These new insights will continue to stay with me in my own evolution as a Connected Coach.