|Copyright: PLP Network|
I began my last post with an aspiration: "In my current job, facilitating professional development is an expectation. But, I hope to do more than that: I hope to facilitate professional learning."
I was coached to aspire by my wonderful PLP Network Connected Coaching instructor/mentor/coach, Lani Ritter Hall (@LaniHall). Fundamental to this coaching model is appreciative inquiry:
"Connected Coaching adopts a bit of a different paradigm -- SOAP; this is coaching through the lens highlighted above -- strengths, observations, aspirations, possibilities."The model is appreciative of an individual's strengths and assumes positive intentions. Moreover, a coach approaches a coachee through a questioning lens as demonstrated by this series of questions Lani posed to us early in the course:
"Do you see strengths based approaches:
- focusing on the positive, are optimistic?
- seeing problems and needs as opportunities?
- seeing every new relationship as an opportunity to connect that person to others?
- identifying peoples’ strengths and gifts?
- loving to unearth other peoples dreams and visions?
- treating everyone as peer – of equal value but not the same?"
|Copyright: PLP Network|
It's been a sometimes difficult course for me: trying to keep up with the online workload during the summer has proven challenging, other commitments took precedence, and on the whole, I have not given it my best effort. I'm disappointed in my own performance as I had hoped to build better relationships with the other participants and learn so much more. That said, I still believe I have learned a number of things from the course (as outlined below). I will continue to build my toolkit and aspire to become a better coach.
Below, in bold, are the coaching standards as outlined by the PLP Network.
The Connected Coaching standards from the PLP Network:
Persevere in exploring ideas and concepts, rethinking, revising, and continual repacking and unpacking as they build upon and assist in uncovering strengths of those they coach.
I will persevere. As I shift back into the school year, I hope to continue the process of rethinking, revising and repacking ideas with my colleagues. I especially look forward to discussing their strengths as a starting point upon which to build our discussion. I look forward to exploring the SOAP protocol (rather than SWOT analysis) in order to maintain an appreciative stance.
Our system of education generally does not encourage system leaders to build on an individual's strengths; too often, we focus on the weaknesses and the gaps in the system and try to effect change from the outside. I very much agree with the notion of re-engaging teachers in their own learning, re-igniting the passion for teaching that they have. I will persevere in shifting my own thinking and practices towards an appreciative inquiry stance.
Engage in discussions on difficult or messy topics from an appreciative inquiry perspective to increase confidence and self efficacy.
Use activities to create a connection to the content and context, to oneself, and to those who are part of the learning community at school and online.
Collectively review and analyze with an open mind and without judgment all and many perspectives on coaching.
I feel that I have been doing this for some time (and this is what led me to the course). My previous posts explore some of my learning as an instructional coach. I am finding it difficult to declare myself a "competent coach" of the appreciative inquiry stance. I like that it explores possibilities and encourages educators to be their "best self". However, I still worry that the term "coach" implies "expert" and I never want to take an "expert" stance. I see myself as a co-learner. I very much want to work collaboratively with colleagues to wonder, to think out loud, to explore possibilities, and generally, to facilitate educators' learning. As they say, "the journey has just begun!"
"If you want to build a ship, then don’t drum up men to gather wood, give orders, and divide the work.
Rather, teach them to yearn for the far and endless sea."
- Antoine de Saint-Exupery
|"Panorama View of Pacific Ocean from Point Lobos", Copyright: Jacob Mederos|