Have you had someone from your instructional coaching team tell you that they weren’t quite sure if this is the right fit for them?

I find that those kinds of conversations usually come out of a frustration with crabby teachers…people who make coaching a real trial for whatever reason.  It’s disheartening for a coach who is enthusiastic and excited about making a big splash on student achievement by working with the teachers.

Here’s a recent question I had from a frustrated coach…I wonder if this is something you might want to share with your coaching team as they think about the new school year?

Coach: I have been coaching in a building that held a lot of resistant staff. I think I have been focusing too much on them and not enough on those that are open to coaching. I have to report to my district leaders every month about who, and how often, I have 1:1 coaching sessions.

I think I’m so worried about the district seeing that I may never have those 1:1’s with some teachers. I feel like if I’m not coaching everyone I will be seen as a failure to my leaders. So, I invest a lot of energy trying to make those opportunities happen instead of spending more of my time with those few that want coaching.

My response: I think you’re right on.  It’s important for us to think about the long-term big picture, but we have to deal with things in the here and now.  (I try to remember this is in my own life, too!)  Yes – focus on the teachers that you can make movement with.  You’ll become more and more confident in coaching while you’re helping people who really want it. 

As you build confidence (even if you’re already confident, we can always learn more tricks of the coaching trade!), you’ll be even better at dealing with those who are more unwilling.  I often tell coaches to “Go for the joy!” – go for the win, build some excitement and then tackle the tough stuff!

What do you think?  Is there a member of your instructional coaching team that needs your encouragement on this?

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