Sunday, February 16, 2014

Light vs. Heavy Coaching

What makes someone better at something?   Is it staying complacent, comfortable and repeating the same things over and over?    No.   When you question what you do, reflect, and feel uncomfortable you will move forward.   I was reading a blog about moving forward every day, (see that blog here) and it made me reflect on my coaching practice.
Our district is very lucky to have the support of coaches from the Learning Forward group.   This group creates the standards for coaching and reflective practices.   One thing that we learn about is heavy vs. light coaching.
There are many roles that you can have as a coach.   Everything from finding new tools, to providing reflective feedback with teachers.   You can watch a video on the hats that I wear as a coach in Decatur Public Schools.  If you are a light coach, you will do tasks like looking for resources, and modeling lessons.  These things can help to support teachers but there is typically not a lot of deep conversation and reflection.   If you are coaching heavy you are more likely to be co-teaching and observing lessons, followed by some deeper questions.   This type of coaching really pushes teachers to reflect on their practice and make some deep changes that can really change the way a classroom looks.
Heavy coaching can be hard but rewarding.
As I sit and reflect on MY coaching practice, I want to move toward being more of a heavy coach.   When I look at myself I know that I typically shy away from conflict and really do want to make the people around me happy.   This is something I am working on both personally and professionally.   In my professional life, this trait pushes me more toward light coaching.  That is not going to help my schools reflect and move forward.   It makes me uncomfortable to make this push and this change, but I know that being uncomfortable is the first step in making change.   As a change agent, this is my responsibility.
So I ask you, do you coach heavy or light?   if you are a teacher do you reflect on your practice?  If you are an administrator are you happy with the status quo or do you push for excellence?  Join me in my push for change, and excellence!

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