Redefining your Coaching Purpose
By Nicole S. Turner
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Why do you want to coach teachers? What is your coaching purpose?
At the end of the school year, you were probably feeling burnt out and may have found it difficult to answer these questions. But now you’ve had the chance to recharge over the summer it’s time to really reflect on your coaching purpose.
Every school year, I work with coaches who have registered for the Simply Coaching Workshop. They ask me where do I start to get ready for this year, I always have them work on lesson 2.1 “The Coaching Mindset” to identify their core values and coaching purpose.
If you asked me this question, my gut reaction would be to say that it is because I am passionate about learning and about students. But so are you, so is the teacher down the hall.
When thinking about your coaching purpose, I encourage you to dig deep! What are your personal strengths and values? It’s this deep reflection that will sustain you through the tough times and keep you going as a coach.
Even if you already had a “coaching purpose”, we grow and our perspectives change with experience. Let’s redefine it today.
A Vision for Our Best Selves
Write down five people that you admire.
For each of those people write down the qualities they have that inspire you most.
Now choose one of those people and really think about why this person and these attributes resonate with you.
You have just described your best version of yourself.
I wrote about my dad. My dad passed away in October 2016. He was a very genuine and kind person. He led by example and I admired him for it. Growing up I saw him spare extra cash at the grocery store to someone who came up short. After a big snowstorm, he would dig out the cars of random strangers on the street. He would make friends everywhere he went. All of this without seeking a thank you or any recognition.
My father’s devotion to helping others is deep in my heart and I believe it is what drives me to coaching. I am committed to helping teachers to become their best selves. It is the small, personal, acts of kindness and respect that we show to teachers and kids that make a difference.
Writing a Purpose Statement
Equipped with a vision for your best self, let’s align that sentiment with your coaching purpose. I have coaches complete this activity every school year. I teach this in o
Step 1: Word Waterfall
Write down all the words you can possibly think of that might describe an instructional coach. This could be informed by your experience as a coach yourself, your contract, observations of other coaches, what your teachers expect from you, and so on.
Once you can’t think of any more, pause and look at the adjectives you’ve come up with.
Step 2: Narrow it Down
Circle your top five words. For added impact, choose the words that align best with the attribute you identified above.
Most likely, these five words describe you as a coach. At the very least, they describe the coach that you aspire to be.
Step 3: Create an action plan to get to your coaching purpose
Start a new sheet of paper with each adjective at the top. Under the descriptive word, make two columns. In one column write down the actions you need to take to achieve that adjective. In the other, write down any and all roadblocks you will have in achieving this descriptor.
Step 4: Connect your coaching purpose the role of a coach
A coach’s primary role is to build teacher capacity to improve student achievement.
Think about how the actions that you identified in step 3 are connected to this role.
Here’s my purpose statement:
“My purpose as an instructional coach is to build teacher capacity to improve student achievement. I will achieve this by becoming a compassionate, knowledgeable, fair, organized and committed coach to the teachers I serve.”Nicole S. Turner
Everything I do in my role must fit under this one blanket statement.
Now it is your turn to create your Coaching Purpose…
Use this and fill in the blanks…
“My purpose as an instructional coach is to build teacher capacity to improve student achievement. I will achieve this by becoming a __________, __________, __________, __________, and __________ coach to the teachers I serve.”
So what is your purpose statement? Commit to it. Own it. Share it!