I enjoyed The Art of Coaching, and agree that it is a must-read for anyone looking to begin instructional coaching. Aguilar discusses instructional coaching in broad terms, so it is applicable whether you are coaching teachers, administrators, or everyone in between. She lays out nicely everything you need to do to build successful coaching relationships, how to build a coaching plan, how to tackle difficult situations, and more. Her ideas are more broad and high level, so if you're looking for worksheets or forms to copy and use, you won't find a lot of him here (although her sentences stems is a good reference I am keeping).
Since I checked the book out from the library (my husband complains I spend too much money on books), I outlined many of the important points that I wanted to remember. I thought I would share them here in case in benefits anyone else thinking of reading the book or who is reading the book.
- Plan and prepare for your first meetings (make sure you look like you know what you're doing).
- Gather background information
- Establish confidentiality
- Listen (actively)
- Ask questions
- Connect personally
- Be open
- Ask for permission to coach
- Keep your commitments
How to explore areas in which to coach a teacher:
- Gather relevant documents (school records, interviews, surveys, etc.)
- Gather and analyzing formal data
- Initiate conversations with the teacher
- Uncover knowledge, skills, passions of the teacher
- Observe the teacher
- Conduct interviews and surveys with students, administrators
- Look for fire - what needs to be changed now (i.e. classroom management)
Once you have an idea, develop a work plan:
- Identify the area for coaching - Key question: "What would it mean for students if your work improves in that area?" (That way a teacher can't use silly goals, like "I need help grading my papers."
- Identify, together, how you are going to measure that area
- Determine a SMARTE goal (E = equitable)
- Begin brainstorming and reflecting on how to achieve that goal
- Plot a coaching course of action (done by coach alone)
- Agree on data you are going to use and evidence
- Coach determines what they need to do to help client meet goals.
- Determine your goal as coach
- Compile resources
- Present and celebrate the plan to the person being coached
Ways to help by coaching:
- Observations - figure out the focus of the observation, collect data, then debrief
- Model - be specific about what the teacher should be looking for in your modeling
- Lesson / unit planning
- On-the spot coaching (when something comes up immediately)
- Looking at data together
What should a coach's schedule include?
- Observations and conversations
- Collaboration (other coaches, administrators, etc.)
- Team participation and facilitation
- Reflection and coach professional development
A coaching conversation should include:
- Check in and chat (make sure to keep chat to a minimum because this can end up taking the whole time)
- Create a plan for the meeting - what do they want to talk about
- Check in on previous meeting's notes - how did that go?
- Engage in coaching stances and approaches
- Determine your next steps
- Reflect on the conversation - good note is to email a record of your conversation to the teacher so they can see what you noted of the conversation, then it keeps a record for you
What were some of your major takeaways from the book?