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Developing a Coaching Compass

Updated: Apr 25, 2020

With our destination in sight, it was time to switch off the map (Uluru, Australia; June 2019)

A few weeks ago, I sat down with my principal and our tech integration coach @kylesumrow (also new to the school) to name our values as coaches. I had firm ideas already, and as we were invited to put our ideas on the table I was surprised that I had just a few; after a number of failed attempts to offer alternatives I realised they were few because they were my non-negotiables. It was also hugely helpful to draw upon the reflections made during the first module of the Student-Centered Coaching Certification and the coaching inquiry with my colleagues in Johannesburg last year (see Coaches of a Feather...? ). Just like that inquiry, Kyle and I quickly noted differences in our coaching, stemming from the differences we saw in our roles.

I pulled out a little mash-up of coaching approaches I've been playing with; it has been coming in handy as I explain what coaching might look like, and why, when people work with me; very quickly we were talking about how we might shift between approaches, and why we might spend more time in one approach over others in our respective roles.

Having shared our thoughts, we attempted to craft a belief statement that captured what was at the very core - regardless of how we might go about it - of coaching.

The process pushed me to consider my non-negotiables alongside the context of my new community - one must truly complement the other for it to be worth anything at all.

All the talk of beliefs and approaches meant we found we couldn't stop at a belief statement.

We wanted to nail down how these beliefs look in action.

And then, what conditions are necessary for this action to occur.

What we ended up with is slightly longer than what we set out to pen. It actually looks more like a coaching compass, a tool to help us navigate the learning process.

Next steps will be for us to consider how we might use this beyond its purpose as a focusing tool: do we share this with faculty and use it during coaching interactions? Or maybe it is a coach-only tool, perhaps a something to build a feedback form from?

If you have your own coaching 'compass', or are interested in developing one, it would be awesome to hear about your journey to meld your beliefs and approaches with the learning in your context. How you are using it to enhance your coaching?

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