It Takes Two to Tango
Updated: Apr 25
Coaches spend a lot of time thinking about how we can be great (just look at the #educoach feed). This job isn’t easy, and for many of us, our role requires constant maintenance, be it self-checking our air-time in conversations, being diligent with our follow-ups, or holding back with our solutions. But in light of the great coaching relationships we have with others, I thought I’d take the time to compile a list of qualities for stellar coachees. Why the diversion? I know lots of educators aren’t sure why they might love working with a coach, let alone how they might use one. Also, rather sadly, the myth pervades that coaching operates on a deficit model, and this casts a negative shadow on those who spend time with a coach, too.
When I think about great coaching relationships, a whole bunch of admirable coachee-qualities rise to the surface, and I’d love for them to be shared and celebrated. It takes two to tango, after all.
Great coachees are:
Growth-oriented – they are thirsty for new challenges that might improve learning for their students and believe they can make a difference, no matter where they are in their journey as a teacher.
Curious about their students – how they learn, what they are thinking, and who they are.
Risk-takers – they have the confidence to try things without fearing that set-backs and mistakes will be perceived as failures.
Collaborative – they see the people around them as resources and that we are in it together for our students.
Reflective – they appreciate and are dedicated to the time it takes to reflect on their students’ work and its relationship with their own practice, and plan for action.
These qualities, perhaps unsurprisingly, share many similarities with those of Assessment Capable Learners (Ryan Higbea's blog post provides an handy synopsis and the Corwin webinar hosted by Doug Fisher and Nancy Frey is a great listen).
As we begin thinking about how to clarify the role of coaches and coaching in our school, I'm wondering how we might be able to cast a bright light on these qualities so that the 'partner' aspect in a coaching partnership can be brought into focus.
What do you do to share and celebrate the qualities of amazing coachees at your school? I'd love to hear your thoughts!