One of the things I always struggled with as a coach was the feeling of being the “only one” in a division or a school who cared about tech. Now that I’m working from home, I realize that even though I’m physically alone, I’m actually much more connected than I think. And I’m guessing you are too!
It’s easy to forget when we’re in our own spaces (wherever they may be: in school buildings or home offices) that we’re not the only ones who care about professional growth and improving student learning through technology. Even if we are actually physically alone, we always have the potential to tap into our personal learning networks of like-minded colleagues who can re-inspire us, and remind us that we’re not alone in pushing our organizations forward.
A Great Start
In just the past few weeks, I’ve had so many amazing coaching conversations (all from my standing desk in my home office), that I have been reminded of the power of a personal learning network and the value of taking time to have these conversations (either in real-time or asynchronous) because they are such amazing professional learning. And the best thing about these conversations is that they were all at very different levels, with very different communities of learners.
Coaching the Coaches: The Coach Microcredential
My first conversation of the year was with some of the participants in our second cohort of The Coach Microcredential. Although everyone wasn’t able to be there, we had a great kick-off conversation about the challenges and rewards of being a coach – particularly when moving to a new school, starting a coaching role in your current school, or trying to build a culture of coaching from the middle.
Learning Through Mentoring
My second insightful conversation so far was a one-to-one conversation with Adrienne Michetti. I’ve been working with Adrienne for about eight months as a mentor. Talking and thinking about the opportunities and challenges she has as a Digital Literacy Coach at UWC SEA is absolutely amazing professional development for me. Not only am I absolutely honored that Adrienne asked me to mentor her, I am learning so much in the process. Last week, after our normal mentor hangout, I asked Adrienne to give me some feedback about the process to launch our new Private Coaching options at Eduro Learning, and here’s (a very short, edited version) of what she said (longer version to come, eventually):
Learning From Coaches: Coach.Better YouTube Series
My third awesome conversation this academic year was with some of the superstar team of coaches I interviewed last spring for our Coaching Fundamentals series. For our first conversation this year, we talked about starting off a new school year as a coach. It’s such a critical time of the year, and so important for coaches to balance the personal relationships they’re building, with the needs of the classroom teachers. It’s so much fun to hear how different coaches in different settings approach a new school year – and such a great opportunity to take new ideas on board!
All of these conversations have inspired so much learning, and make me so excited to learn and share more about coaching. Which of course has me working on a bunch of new projects!
A Book: Your Coaching Journey
This one has been in the works since last academic year, but I’m getting there. It will be the perfect companion text to our The Coach Microcredential from Eduro Learning (our next cohort will be starting in April 2019). Currently, the chapter outlines are:
- Foundations for Success
- Defining the Role of the Coach
- Essential Coaching Skills
- Building Coaching Relationships
- Coaching in Practice
- Coaching Conversation
- Coaching Challenges
- Coaches as Instructional Leaders
- Building Momentum Around Coaching
- Supporting Your Parent Community
- Growing as a Coach
- Your Coaching Toolkit
What else would you like to see in a very practical book for coaches?
A Facebook Group: Coach.Better.
We started this group primarily for the coaches in our Microcredential program, but we quickly realized that one of our goals is to help them build a personal learning network with other coaches too, so we’re opening it up to anyone who’s interested. We’re just getting started, but I’m looking forward to seeing the conversations about coaching take off!
New YouTube Series: Level Up Your Coaching
I loved making the Coaching Fundamentals series this past spring and I wanted to see how I could make even more video content about coaching that’s both relevant and practical for coaches. In the last series, I loved hearing so many different coaches share their perspective on coaching, so this time I thought it would be interesting to hear from the other people in school settings that coaches work with: leaders, counselors, librarians, teachers and other coaches.
The plan is to release each individual interview as part of our Coach.Better YouTube series, and then pull together some highlights on specific questions from all of those different perspectives into a similar series to last year’s Coaching Fundamentals.
Does that sound interesting to you? Is there anything in particular you’d like to hear about?
Side note: I am constantly amazed at how much work it takes to produce one of these videos, and mine are the most basic of basic. I’m not doing any fancy editing, I don’t have a camera and I often forget to use my nice mic, and I’m certainly not storyboarding out anything major to make it especially interesting. And thus, my respect for YouTubers continues to grow.
Our Next Cohort of The Coach
It’s still a few months away, but I’m already starting to think about how we can continue to improve our The Coach Microcredential program. I’ve been having amazing conversations with my cohort this academic year (just like last year) and I’ve re-vamped the curriculum to address common questions, challenges and areas of interest from last year’s cohort, but I know it can always be better!
I often find myself caught up in my own work, and I can forget how much I love learning and talking to others who are so thoughtfully engaged in their own professional growth. We can all get trapped on the hamster wheel of getting things done, but these past few weeks (and the great stuff that it has inspired), have reminded me how important it is to take some time to connect with those in your network.
How do you stay inspired? How does your network help you feel connected?