Interim reports

Education Learning Log

My task for this week

It is genuinely difficult for me to listen carefully when I’m coaching someone without making judgements on an issue during the conversation in my own head. The tendency then for me  is to give advice and solutions for whatever issue they may have. I know I do this all the time not just when working on coaching. I’ve tried allsorts of strategies – doodling, holding my hand over my mouth etc which is all fairly pathetic. And I really do know that telling someone what to do to solve something really isn’t that helpful a lot of the time! It’s downright annoying a lot of the time as my sons never tire of explaining to me….

Anyway I found a useful activity in Julie Starr’s “The Coaching Manual” called meditation for non judgement on page 34. The idea is that by doing this activity it helps us to practise letting go judgements we make about others and clears our heads. The obvious reasons for this is to have a clearer mind when listening, become more objective and relate more closely to people. The activity involves you spending time just observing someone without interruption and possibly taking notes. Keeping relaxed while doing this and noticing what you’re thinking  – e.g. are you agreeing/disagreeing with what they are doing/saying, do you think they remind you of someone, do you like/not like etc. Trying to look at the thoughts you are having in a detached way as if you were watching yourself watching the person. Then as you acknowledge the thoughts letting them go. The next step is to refocus your thoughts from the judgemental ones to really thinking about what the person is saying, what they feel about it and what they are committed to.

I think I may have months of trying this ahead of me before I can listen better!

 

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April 30, 2008 Posted by | Coaching | , , | Leave a comment

More on the coaching

Further to today’s coaching session. I am genuinely amazed at how helpful and empowering I am finding this process. From the point of view of me coaching someone else I find it a time when I can really listen and take time to hear what is being said – the amount I personally learn when listening to someone else in a similar kind of role is fascinating, as is really having the time to watch someone’s thought processes as they reflect. It’s very much a two way learning process, although I’m the listener. Maybe it’s just the seeing how someone moves through the thinking process in a more heightened way.

When I am being coached I find myself thinking hard and being amazed at what’s in my own head when I concentrate and can’t believe what some carefully worded questions pull out of me. I wish I’d come to this field of learning earlier.

Today I came away again with a clear idea in my head of my current progress and where I intend to focus next in my role. I’m finding the clarity it gives me extremely useful. I also feel very energised after a session as the fogginess of my thinking processes becomes clearer through discussion

This is a transformational development for me which is hitting me unexpectedly. Someone at the intitial training said they were finding it life changing. I think that now I’m actually moving through the coaching process itself I would have to agree. I’m also finding it remarkable how quickly it is affecting my thinking.

April 29, 2008 Posted by | Coaching | , | Leave a comment

Developing Coaching

What with moving jobs and so on, I’ve not been able to get round to completing the 12 hours coaching I need to do to complete my coaching diploma. However now I’m settling into things, I’m about to begin this work with someone and I’m looking forward to it.

In education we tend to spend an awful lot of time being very task oriented and I’m a big offender in this. When you’ve been conditioned into this way of working over time, for whatever reason, it takes a concerted effort to really reflect. This all ties into my role of quality assurance and how I see the whole of this. If I can’t be a fully reflective practitioner and “lead learner” then how can I expect that to be seen in all those I work with?

It comes back to the notion of being fully present for others. So I’m hoping that as I develop my skills in this area I can myself be much more reflective and a more developed listener!

LTS coaching and leadership pages

April 10, 2008 Posted by | Coaching | , | Leave a comment

Coaching

As part of a diploma in coaching mentoring, I’m just about to start formal coaching sessions. My trainer is called Steve Hurst and he sends out regular e-zines with useful advice. The latest one was about playing to people’s strengths. I’m a great beleiver in finding out what people are best at and helping find ways, with them, of how they can become even better at that. Here’s Steve’s advice on how to do this. Changing how you approach conversations with staff helps motivation and helps us improve that thing we’re all in the game of – improving authentic learning and teaching, where we are fully present for those children, parents, staff we work alongside.

“A good ‘one to one’ can be measured on what your employees feel at the end of it. Do they feel, depleted, anxious, confused, under valued, stressed and insufficient? If they only felt some of these things, think of the impact on their morale, performance and your profit margin! How many days sick do your people take off with nothing more life threatening than apathy and what’s this costing your business?

We’re back to that ‘positive energy’ again, a.k.a. motivation. How can you focus the one to one so that you allow your employees to feel, valued, energised, confident and capable?

Here’s how; simply hold the conversation around four questions:

  1. What are they enjoying at work?
  2. What have they done well?
  3. What could they do even better?
  4. How can you help?

Don’t go over the “yes I know that was good but you didn’t fill out the report on a regular basis, you need to be more regular”. Then you write, development area is to ‘fill out reports regularly’, come on!

What are the 2 or 3 things this person could be even better at, if only they were given the chance? “Even better” isn’t that the crux of it? Rather than focus on all they’re useless at, focus on what they could be even better at and what could truly add value to their overall performance and your bottom line.

Change the nature of the conversation then you naturally change the outcome and wouldn’t it be great if it were more positive, up beat and based on strengths rather than perceived weaknesses?”

October 10, 2007 Posted by | Coaching | , , | Leave a comment

Feedback

I’ve been waiting three weeks for my coaching and mentoring assignment to be assessed. I’m so used now to instant feedback I’m feeling antsy! It’s just impatience to get started on doing formal coaching sessions as I need to be assessed in my understanding before I can do that.

One of the areas I’ve been trying to improve in the meantime is how I give feedback. Which makes me wonder if the way I have been approaching forward plan feedback has been a bit awry. We collect in the Forward Plans, write up a 2 page feedback form linked to HGIOS, give back the folders and feedback sheet to teachers, then set aside time to meet and discuss the Forward Plans.

I wonder how much of this process has been driven by my needing evidence that I am monitoring what is going on within classrooms, rather than being driven by an impetus for real feedback . Its something I need to revisit. Effective feedback should be something which encourages reflection, helps people set new action plans, motivates and gives accurate information which lets insight occur. I don’t think I have been making this forward plan feedback process as effective as it could be.

September 23, 2007 Posted by | Coaching | , | Leave a comment