Saturday, August 28, 2021

Building Relationships with Teachers, Ep. 74 Buzzing with Ms. B: The Coaching Podcast

Do you struggle building relationships with teachers? It can be hard for instructional coaches to connect with the teaching team. In episode 74 of The Coaching Podcast, I list five ways to improve your relationships with your teachers. I share practical tips and what it looked like when I was coaching. Listen for suggestions to help your mindset, so it’s easier to bond with teachers.

Building relationships with teachers is fundamental to coaching. It's also really hard sometimes!

On this episode, I share five strategies instructional coaches can use to build relationships with teachers. They are practical and help frame your work while allowing you to get to know your teachers.

I encourage you to take ideas from this podcast and apply them to your coaching work. It’s especially helpful to start at the beginning of the year. A little bit of effort and work now will set the tone for your coaching work for the rest of the year and make everything so much easier.

Listed below are some of my favorite ways to build a relationship with staff on campus. If you want to learn all my tips and suggestions, be sure to listen to the entire episode.

1. Focus on the Trust Equation

All relationships require trust. Donald Miller explains the trust equation as empathy plus credibility equals trust. 

To gain trust and build a relationship you must be empathetic and credible. One of the ways I showed empathy as a coach was listening without judgment. I built credibility with the staff by being real and realistic.

2. Schedule One-to-One Conversations

To build a relationship, you need to get to know the person and they need to get to know you. When I was a campus coach, I would have one on one conversations with the teachers and ask how I could support them.

These conversations gave me context about the teachers and if I needed to clarify my role to them. Once these initial conversations happen, I created a rotation schedule to regularly check in with the teachers. This let them know I cared and built rapport.

3. Share Stories and Build Personal Connections

When we share stories with teachers, we get to know who they are and they get to know who we are. We also get to learn about what has shaped each of us personally and professionally.

The first step you can take is to use the details from the stories that you've shared to build bridges with the teachers. This isn’t going to be the foundation for your coaching work, but sometimes it's a way to get them to talk to you.

4. Start with a Positive

When first visiting a classroom, an instructional coach should begin by noticing something positive. In some classes, it’s easier to find the good than in others, but there is always something in every room that you can praise.

Doing this will make sure that that you are framing your work in a way that shows that you're not there to focus on what's wrong but to grow what's already great. Try to start with something positive but don't lie or make it up.

5. Give Them a Quick Win

You build your credibility if you can be the person who gives a teacher a quick win. If you can change something in the classroom for the better or solve a small problem, you will improve the relationship.

When we show teachers that we're there to support them and help them figure out better ways of doing things, it builds trust. Giving them a quick win also shows that we are useful and valuable.

Building Relationships with Teachers

If we approach teachers with the understanding that they are trying their best, then our support can come from a place of goodness and sincerity. I find that once I stray from that belief, my coaching support gets more strained and it's harder for me to build the relationship in any context.

We want to approach coaching with that mindset. If the teacher is doing their best, then we should be there to support them and help them grow.

Ready to listen? You can listen below with the media player, or search for Buzzing with MS. B: The Coaching Podcast anywhere you listen to podcasts!

Learn more
Helpful resources



https://buzzingwithmsb.mykajabi.com/confident-literacy-coach

Thank you for listening to Buzzing with Ms. B: the Coaching Podcast. Want more coaching ideas?

Check me out at buzzingwithmsb.com and on Instagram @buzzingwithmsb.

If you love the show, share it with a coach who would love it too, or leave me a review on iTunes! It’s free and it helps others find this show, too. Happy coaching!

Podcast produced by Fernie Ceniceros of Crowd & Town Creative
 
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Saturday, August 21, 2021

10 Roles Coaches Serve...and What They Looked Like in My Coaching, Ep. 73 Buzzing with Ms. B: The Coaching Podcast

If you’re not clear about your instructional coaching role, teachers will give you additional responsibilities. In this episode of the Coaching Podcast, I share my reflections on an article from Joellen Killion about the 10 roles of coaches. Listen as I explain what each looked like in my day-to-day coaching so you can get a sense of how I did these things on my campus. This episode is packed with lots of instructional coaching tips and ideas.

Instructional coaches serve the needs of students, teachers, and other school staff in different ways.

At one school, they may be responsible for helping to design curriculum to teach English learners in kindergarten while at another their role might entail teaching teachers how to better support students with disabilities.

Many times, the responsibilities of instructional coaches are misunderstood by teachers. I’ve found that when teachers don't understand the role of an instructional coach, they make it up.

Joellen Killion was my guest on Episode 50 of the Coaching Podcast. On this episode, I share my reflections on her article The 10 Roles of Coaches

I explain what these roles look like in the classroom and my coaching practice.

The 10 Roles of Coaches

1. Resource Provider

In Episode 68I discussed using different levels of support to create access points for all teachers. Providing resources is a level one or low-level support. It’s one of the least scary things a teacher can ask for from a coach, but it has big rewards.

As a coach, I would compile resources based on gaps in practice and the needs I noticed while co-planning with teachers. When you share materials with teachers, it helps build the relationship and shows that you think about them.

2. Data Coach

Coaches, teachers, and principals look at tons of data. This season during a coaching call episode with Christy al-Jerby, we talked about systems that can be helpful for reviewing assessment and data.

I suggested she have a standing meeting with teachers on the calendar to review data and plan for next steps. As a coach, I scheduled weekly data meetings in advance, often at the beginning of the year.

3. Curriculum Specialist

Coaches need to know a lot of stuff. Especially if they specialize in a content area like literacy or math.

They need to understand the national and state standards as well as local initiatives. Instructional coaches also need to know best practices and have access to resources.

In this role, I met with three grade levels every week for 90 minutes. I would walk them through the planning process. Teachers would share ideas and collaborate. Then we would structure this information so that teachers had lessons to try out in their classroom.

4. Instructional Specialist

Being an instructional specialist is not just about what is taught but about how you teach. This type of work often happened during PLCs.

During professional learning, we created lesson plans and talked about the strategies we could use to approach the activities. I kept a bank of high-impact strategies for each content area as well.

I share all about this planning process in The Confident Literacy Coach CourseI explains how to plan with teachers and build high-impact strategies that can be used throughout the year.

5. Mentor

Mentors are often thought of as something for new staff. But all teachers and coaches need a mentor because they help us grow.

As a coach, I had mentors to learn from and ask questions. They also helped me become a better a coach and that allowed me to help more teachers.

This coaching role was one of the most enjoyable. Developing close relationships and getting to know teachers as people was fun and rewarding.

6. Classroom Supporter

The real magic of coaching happens whenever you’re in the classroom and doing the work. The coaching cycle is impactful because you are modeling, observing, providing feedback, and planning alongside the teacher.

It may seem like you are spending a lot of time with one teacher, but it’s worth it. It really changes practice in the classroom.

7. Learning Facilitator

This role looks different depending on your school and district. I did a lot of professional development for our teachers.

When I visited classrooms and planned with teachers, I noted what was holding us back from achieving big changes in our students. I would weave these topics into our professional learning.

As a learning facilitator, you can create opportunities for teachers to learn from each other. I encouraged teachers to visit other classrooms and had willing teachers model strategies. You want colleagues to learn from each other because everybody in the room has some knowledge to share.

8. School Leader

This is another role that looks different depending on your campus. I was part of the leadership team. This group had discussions and dialogues about the growth of the school.

We talked about what we saw happening overall. Based on that, we set goals and supported those goals over time through our work.

9. Catalyst for Change

Being a catalyst for change isn’t always easy. Whether we do it through questioning, creating opportunities to learn, or modeling a new strategy, we're always pushing the envelope a little bit.

We get people to move because catalysts make things happen. This can be a stressful position because not everyone likes being pushed or pulled. It can be difficult to inspire others to try something different.

In my experience, teachers were more likely to listen to ideas when we worked on things they were concerned about. They wanted solutions to their problems.

10. Learner

Coaches must continually learn and reflect. To support teachers, coaches need to know stuff.

Instructional coaches need to be lifelong learners. We have to grow and get better because that’s what we ask teachers to do.

Those are the 10 roles that coaches serve and what I did in those roles as an instructional coach. I hope that it gives you an idea of what each role can look like in a school building.

To get my top tips on how to succeed in the different coaching roles listen to the entire episode.

If you want to learn more about how I began as a coach, check out The Instructional Coaching eBook Start-Up GuideI wrote it after a few years of coaching. It teaches you some of the things that I did and what I wish I had done.

If you are a new coach or have under three years of experience, there's a lot of information in the eBook that will help you establish yourself as a coach. It helps you figure out how to do all the stuff that coaches are required to do.

Ready to listen? You can listen below with the media player, or search for Buzzing with MS. B: The Coaching Podcast anywhere you listen to podcasts!

Learn more
Helpful resources



https://buzzingwithmsb.mykajabi.com/confident-literacy-coach

Thank you for listening to Buzzing with Ms. B: the Coaching Podcast. Want more coaching ideas?

Check me out at buzzingwithmsb.com and on Instagram @buzzingwithmsb.

If you love the show, share it with a coach who would love it too, or leave me a review on iTunes! It’s free and it helps others find this show, too. Happy coaching!

Podcast produced by Fernie Ceniceros of Crowd & Town Creative
 
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Saturday, August 14, 2021

Leveraging the Principal-Coach Relationship with Angela Kelly Robeck, Ep. 72 Buzzing with Ms. B: The Coaching Podcast

On this episode of the Coaching for Podcast, Angela Kelly Robeck joins me to share her insights into why instructional coaches should put time into developing a partnership with school principals. We talk about building better communication and questions to ask to understand the principal's vision for the school. Listen now for coaching tips to help improve your principal-coach relationship!

How can an instructional coach help the principal achieve their vision for the school?

On Episode 66, Jacy Ippolito and I discussed creating a coaching culture in schools. One of the things that we talked about was why the principal-coach relationship was essential for reaching school-wide goals.  

This was such an important topic that I wanted to go deeper into it. Angela Kelly Robeck joins me on this episode to discuss the different ways a principal-coach relationship can impact a school. 

Angela is an author, certified coach for school leaders, and the host of The Empowered Principal Podcast. We talk about how to build a positive partnership between coaches and principals.

The Principal-Coach Relationship

Ideally, the coach-principal relationship should be mutually satisfying. It functions best when both parties work together to implement the vision for the school. This requires having a clearly defined coaching role and staying in your lane. 

However, most principals are overwhelmed and do not have time to think about the coach's role in the building. Coaches can help by sharing ideas and explaining how they would benefit the school leader.

The Importance of Communication

Having a productive relationship requires good communication. The leader needs to convey their vision to the coach and staff.

Once it is communicated, the principal should delegate and allow the coach to do their work in the classroom. They shouldn’t undermine the coach’s job or assign them quasi admin tasks because that can damage the relationship with teachers and lead to resistance. 

But what can a coach do when a principal micromanages them or doesn’t listen to their input? Angela recommends stepping back and getting clear with your values and vision. Start working on what you can control and ways to reach your goals.

You get to decide how you present yourself. When you show up positively, people notice and see your commitment. When you do what you believe in, the teachers will notice and feel that. 

Principals want to hear wins and challenges. Angela suggests giving the principal three quick wins along with discussing any challenges. She explains how principals don’t want coaches to hide problems. Instead, they want to know about them. They also want to hear ideas that the coach has for how to overcome them. Problems usually get solved quickly when you come up with a solution to try out.

Questions a Coach Should Ask Their Principal to Understand Their Vision

Angela gives us three questions coaches can ask principals to clarify the vision for the school. These questions help coaches understand what the principal is trying to accomplish. It will also help the principal get clear on what they want from the coach.

Here are the questions Angela suggests you ask your administration to better understand them.

1. If there was one legacy that you could leave behind as a school leader, what would that be and why?

2. How do you see my role in supporting this goal? What is the big picture of how a coach fits into this? How do you envision this on a day-to-day basis?

3. What emotions and energy are you aiming for on campus? How do you want classrooms to feel? What is an ideal school culture in your mind?

Leveraging the Principal-Coach Relationship

Relationships, whether personal or professional, require work and aren’t always easy. During the episode, we discuss some ideas for getting through challenges with people.

Angela shares why your relationship with your boss is more about mindset than you think. She explains that the way we feel about and engage with someone comes from how we think about them. When we are struggling with someone, it’s usually because of the thoughts we are having about them.

Our brain creates this story about the person and every time we interact with them, it’s looking for that confirmation. When we become cognizant that it is happening, we gain control of it. 

We can create a different story and find positive qualities about that person. This will make it easier whenever we have to interact with them. She gives specific techniques we can use to neutralize these feelings and have more cooperative relationships.

Finding Your Coaching Community

Coaching is not easy work, but there are some things you can do so you don’t get overwhelmed. We talk about suggestions for how to find a safe person to talk to about your work so you’re not keeping it all in. The Coffeeand Coaching Membership is a great place to get support and find like-minded people that you can talk to about your work.

Angela also gives us tips for helping educate principals on the role of a coach. She shares some of the challenges of building the principal-coach role and how to overcome them. We talk about how to build the principal-coach relationship and so much more!

Ready to listen? You can listen below with the media player, or search for Buzzing with MS. B: The Coaching Podcast anywhere you listen to podcasts!


Helpful resources


Coffee and Coaching Membership


Thank you for listening to Buzzing with Ms. B: the Coaching Podcast. Want more coaching ideas?

Check me out at buzzingwithmsb.com and on Instagram @buzzingwithmsb.

If you love the show, share it with a coach who would love it too, or leave me a review on iTunes! It’s free and it helps others find this show, too. Happy coaching!

Podcast produced by Fernie Ceniceros of Crowd & Town Creative
 
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Saturday, August 7, 2021

Coaching Call: Creating Access and Engagement Around PD with Missy Sinclair, Ep. 71 Buzzing with Ms. B: The Coaching Podcast

Does the teaching staff you work with ask for support? Creating engagement around professional development for teachers is not always easy. Luckily, there are things instructional coaches can do to help teachers improve their practice. Missy Sinclair joins me on The Coaching Podcast to talk through some of her coaching challenges. She also shares her successes, including how she creates PD boxes to engage teachers. Ready to listen? Click the link! #TeacherProfessionalDevelopmentIdeas

Instructional coaches need a coach too. Experts help us learn new things and push us to stretch ourselves.

This season on the podcast, I wanted to include coaching calls with real coaches who need help solving problems. 

Missy Sinclair joins me to talk through the challenges she's having on her campus. She also shares some of the great things that she's doing in her coaching work.

Currently, Missy is an instructional coach working with fifth through eighth-grade teachers in a Chicago suburb. She’s also a member of the Coffee and Coaching Monthly Membership

One of the challenges that Missy talks about is getting more veteran teachers to raise their hands and ask to work with her. To help get herself in the door with these staff members, she offers PD in a box.

The PD boxes help her complete a coaching cycle with the staff while building skills. It's a way to differentiate support and give people exactly what they need to perform best. This helps create access and engagement around professional development.

To begin she asks teachers to fill out a questionnaire and explains that they are agreeing to let her come watch them. In exchange, the teacher gets materials and learns something new they can try out in their classroom.

These boxes have everything the teacher needs so they can use them right away. It doesn’t add to their already full plate. Instead, it helps them grow professionally and gives them everything they need to succeed.

During the episode, Missy explains the steps she takes to create these boxes and the types of activities in them. We discuss the things she does to follows up with teachers. I give her some additional ideas for how teachers can share their feedback after trying the strategies.

Missy currently supports 80 teachers. One of her challenges is being able to see and provide support to all of them. Together we work through some ideas for activities that could work across the board with all staff, including specials teachers.

We discuss getting feedback from teachers to help plan your PD and in-classroom coaching support. During the coaching call, we talk about how instructional coaches can use the teachers' goals to find common trends and interest areas to work on.

To increase participation, I suggest having a referral system where teachers get special incentives for sharing their successes while working with you. They get a little something extra for getting other teachers to sign up for your coaching support.

We also talk about how to scaffold support, so teachers get what they need and don’t get bored. At the end of the episode, we chat about the importance of celebrating teachers who try out new things.

Ready to listen? You can listen below with the media player, or search for Buzzing with MS. B: The Coaching Podcast anywhere you listen to podcasts!


Helpful resources


Coffee and Coaching Membership



Thank you for listening to Buzzing with Ms. B: the Coaching Podcast. Want more coaching ideas?

Check me out at buzzingwithmsb.com and on Instagram @buzzingwithmsb.

If you love the show, share it with a coach who would love it too, or leave me a review on iTunes! It’s free and it helps others find this show, too. Happy coaching!

Podcast produced by Fernie Ceniceros of Crowd & Town Creative
 
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