It’s that time of year for me. We are a week away from our summer break, and seeing a coach is a luxury that a teachers’ hectic calendar just can’t afford. After three years I’m starting to come to terms with how this works and try to embrace it as the opportunity that it is. Fellow coaches - I know you get where I’m coming from! It can be a lonely time and one where we begin to slip into measuring our impact, effectiveness or value by how busy our days are.
The truth is, coaching is often a seasonal game and we have to find ways to use those seasons to our advantage. In the past, this has meant a great opportunity for wrapping up initiatives that our T+L team have been working on and planning for orientation for the next school year. But this morning this blog article by Gretchen Vierstra about ways to glean student feedback at the end of a school year got me thinking... How might I be able to get some feedback about how coaching ‘went’ for my coachees this year, so that I have some concrete data to help me think about my goals for next year?
As I started to think about what this might look like, I wondered what information I would find useful and how I could be considerate of teachers who would be giving the feedback at the same time. What kinds of questions would drive towards meaningful but concise, efficient feedback? I completed my dissertation in effective feedback a few months ago so I already have a head-start on this, but reading this article from Viktor Nordmark felt reaffirming of my gut-feeling: keep it simple and broad. That left me with a few options:
Option 1: Make it all about me
1. What should I start doing?
2. What should I stop doing?
3. What should I continue doing?
Option 2: Make it all about the coachee
1. What is helping your learning?
2. What changes might improve your learning?
Option 3: Make it open-ended
1. What is going well?
2. What could be improved?
I wondered about the comfort level of my coachees as they approached these questions, and how variables like the type or length of interaction we’d had over the year might impact this. Rather than make that decision for them, I thought I'd include all fields on the form and allow them to decide which questions were a best fit for the feedback they’d like to provide. It’d make for interesting question analysis too when I got the results.
I’m sending the form out today - here's a template of it you can copy, play around with, and make your own.
Asking for feedback sometimes feels like a vulnerable exercise, and it is, but if I want to plan the ‘what next’ in my coaching journey, what better place to plan from than the thoughts of those I coach?