Wednesday, August 1, 2018

Establishing credibility as a new coach: Growing As an Instructional Coach Series

I have a hard truth to tell you. I don't know if you'll like it, but it must be said.

Not everyone is going to be excited to work with you.

I know! How shocking! But it's true! Think about it: have you been over the moon excited to work with everyone you've come in contact with? I'm gonna guess that answer is no.

And that's normal! It's normal for the teachers you're working with, too. They might not be too excited to work with you.

When you're starting out as a new coach, on a new campus, or with new faculty, there are a few things that should happen simultaneously in order for you to show that you're credible and a valuable asset to teachers' work.

1. Value them first.
2. Add value to their work.
3. Build a personal(ish) relationship. 

1. Value them first.
No one wants to work with someone who doesn't appreciate them. The best first step in establishing your own credibility and value is to value teachers first. This can be done in a few different ways:
  • Visit classrooms a few times just to leave happy, positive notes about great things you see going on. (This can be a bit stressful at first if you're at a school that has never had classroom visits. Check out my post later in this series about visiting classrooms and talk to your principal first!)  
  • Ask for teacher input when you see they have a strength. For example, if you visit Ms. Tenaka's classroom, and she has an awesome word study routine, ask her about it! Ask what resources she uses, how she chooses words, why she does what she does, and what impact it has on the kids! You'll want to encourage her to share her expertise to benefit others.
  • Really listen to find out what challenges they have. You can use this to help them find solutions or to serve as a liaison to administration. Some challenges might be lack of resources, confusion about inconsistent expectations, struggles with managing behaviors in their classrooms, or fuzziness on instructional strategies. Understanding this can help you respond to it effectively.
Why is this important to establishing credibility? No one wants to listen to someone they dislike. People generally don't like people who don't like them!

2. Add value to their work.

To add value to their work, seek out an area where you can be of service. Some ways to start might be:
  • Provide a survey to find out what challenges teachers have so you can think about how you can support them.
  • Ask them what kinds of coaching support would be the most helpful to them and have them respond individually (not as a group). This could be a survey or a checklist.
  • Provide a coaching menu or bank of services you are prepared to offer.
  • Recommend books or resources that are immediately relevant to what they're teaching/doing.
  • Help them solve a problem they have by sharing a solution, helping out, or communicating effectively to administration (without selling anyone out!)
  • Offer to read aloud to their kids. Then do an incredible job! Model your expertise and teaching personality. Share your best strategies.
Adding value means being honest about what you can and can't do. Don't make it up! If you're unsure about something, say that you'll do a little reading to be able to support your teacher.

 3. Build a personal(ish) relationship
This one should be obvious, but sometimes it's hard to do. If you're working with a whole batch of new people, it can be a challenge to get to know each one. But keep it simple. You don't have to take everyone out for margaritas (although, I will say, a margarita never hurt)! Just share things about yourself as they become relevant, ans ask them questions about themselves. Find something to connect with each teacher on and refer back to it.

These three steps are easy to do and will help you get started building credibility and a positive relationship with teachers to build good coaching work on.

I am so excited to offer this giveaway again this summer!
Coaches work hard. Which tools will help you do your job? Well, obviously tools with pineapples on them. Pineapples mean "welcome," so flaunt your pineapple gear and people will know you're approachable!

One lucky duck will win the Instructional Coaching Must-Haves Kit (over a $165 value)! This kit
* Inbox tray
* My favorite notebook: Eccolo
* My favorite daily planner with a monthly view
* Frixion Ball Erasable pens
* Handmade pineapple pencil pouch
* Rae Dun "piƱa" mug
* To-do notes and assorted sticky note set
* Thank you cards
* Pineapple notepad
* Fancy pineapple thumbtacks
* Erasers
* Lotion
* Hand sanitizer

Four more lucky winners will get the Instructional Coaching Resource Bundle, over $50 worth of coaching resources!

Enter using as many of the options below as you like! You can enter again with every blog post in the series. 

But wait! There's more!
Hee hee
You can sign up for my all-new Start-Up Course for Instructional Coaches!
It's a free email course, right to your inbox, that will give you the essential steps for getting started as an instructional coach. You'll get videos, links to posts, and even a free resource or two, and follow-up emails to help you along your coaching journey!

Just enter your email address in the box below. You'll also be signing up to receive periodic emails about instructional coaching as part of my mailing list!
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  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. Great thoughts and ideas! I'm excited and anxious about my new role at my school - I'll take all the help/suggestions I can get!

  3. So many great ideas! I'm so excited for the rest of this series as I start a new role as a math coach this year!

  4. Can’t wait to learn more about being a great coach! Love all your tips and suggestions. They make so much sense.

  5. So excited to learn more! Great tips. Thank you so much

  6. I am new to coaching and so I am looking forward to this series.

  7. I so appreciate your hard work. Your knowledge and posts have really helped me get organized and prepared in my first year :)

  8. Thanks for putting this series together! I'm excited to learn more!

  9. I am so excited for the new coaching series!! I just got a new job as a coach and am so thankful to have found your blog!!

  10. This is great! I can’t wait to follow this series and get some ideas for my second year!

  11. Thank u for this !! I always feel like oh she or he is a literacy coach they can make magic happen and they know everything ! We don’t always get the support we need!

  12. THis comes at the perfect time! This is my first year as a coach so any help and advice I can get is very much appreciated!

  13. This post is perfect! And actually, my favorite part of this role...I strive to build relationships and maintain them by leaving important but cute notes that show my support!

  14. This is my second year as a coach and I look forward to learning more and supporting teachers with their instructional goals! I still strive to find ways to help teachers feel more comfortable sharing their successes with others and showing strategies that work. I also want some to move forward with changes that are best practice. How do you appreciate the teachers' expertise but help them move forward with changes? Thanks for your posts.

  15. This is so helpful! I am actually at my same school and have changed roles, so I’m struggling with how to gain credibility with my former teacher colleagues. I love the idea of leaving notes and valuing their knowledge! Excited about that give away too!! ��

  16. Thanks for offering this free course! What has been your biggest challenge and biggest reward as an Instructional Coach?

  17. It can be challenging to coach teachers. I am so glad you are sharing your insights and learning from your years of experience. Thank you.

  18. Thank you for your posts! I'm feeling overwhelmed beginning this new position, and reading through your ideas, etc... have been very helpful!

  19. New coach checking in! I am a district based coach, but your instagram and blog has given me so many ideas!

  20. Super simple ideas to begin coaching!

  21. Amazing resource! I hope I win it!

  22. I so appreciate all of your advice! This year I'm working as a Team Literacy Leader (part-time as well as my regular job). I"m looking forward to applying all of your ideas! Thanks so much!

  23. Relationships are SOOO important. I start the year off meeting one-on-one with teachers to start building those relationships right away:) Thanks for the great new ideas to add to my coaching toolbox!

  24. I came across your blog today as I was searching for something. Very impressive! I look forward to learning with you this year.

  25. What great resources! They will definitely help as I am going to be part time teaching and coaching. Thank you SO much for sharing!

  26. I am a first year coach. The blog information is organized in a manner to help me learn my role and responsibilities even before school starts! I plan to follow the blog throughout the school year.

  27. I am a first year instructional coach this year. While I'm nervous about my new role, I'm excited to connect with other teachers and learn from one another. I adore your blog & I'm looking forward to implementing many of your tips. Your blog is my coaching toolbox! ;)