Posted on 02-Oct-17
How to Form a Relationship with Your Coach image

Coaching is becoming common across many organizations. If coaching works for top athletes, Fortune 500 companies, and other professions, why shouldn’t educators capitalize on the benefits of coaching as well? 

Classroom coaches can enhance a teacher’s individual teaching practices, provide support and encouragement, build upon their existing strengths, help them overcome daily classroom challenges, and increase effective interactions in the classroom. This leads to positive outcomes for students and increased professional development and growth for the teacher. 

How Can Your Expectations Shape Your Experience?

A typical teacher’s response to learning they’ll be working with a coach are often affected by their previous experiences. I’ve received a range of responses when I’ve asked teachers, “What do you think working with a coach will be like?” Some teachers remember a coach from their childhood yelling or screaming at them on the sports field. They fear that the classroom coach experience might be the same. Others have shared images of compassionate and encouraging individuals who helped them overcome challenges, provided resources, and gave support.  

No matter how you feel about your past coaching experiences, building an open, collaborative, and positive coaching relationship can truly enhance your overall quality of life in the classroom.

Teachers are used to supporting others, providing instruction and building relationships with students. Transitioning into being coached can be difficult. Your ability to build a collaborative trusting relationship with your coach is one of the key ingredients for success. It’s important to know what you as a teacher can do to enhance the coaching relationship and make the most of your coaching experience.

How Can You Build a Professional Relationship With Your Coach? 

  1. Be transparent – Honesty is key. Your coach is not there to judge you. If you hide your concerns or issues, you fail to create trust and keep yourself from getting the most out of your coaching relationship.
  1. Be sincere – Don’t agree to agree. You know yourself, your children, and your classroom better than anyone else. If you think something will not work, communicate your concerns.
  1. Do your part  Keep your end of the agreement. Action plans are created through collaboration. If you agree to something, follow through.
  1. Share your feelings – Have the confidence and the courage to say how you feel. Labeling and communicating your emotions will build trust and prevent misunderstandings.
  1. Ask specific questions – Keep a journal and write down your questions as they come up. This will increase productivity during your conferences and assure that you are getting the support that you need. A journal is also a great way to keep track of your successes and celebrate them with your coach.
  1. Have the courage to seek help – Don’t be afraid to share your challenges and ask for advice. Discuss the times of days that are most difficult for you, and whether you need more support, more time, or more information.
  1. Be open to trying new things – If we face our experiences with a positive attitude, the sky is the limit.  And don’t be afraid to fail. If at first you don’t succeed, try, reflect, adjust, and try again.


About the Author

Sheila Sellers is a CLASS Specialist at Teachstone Training, LLC where she serves as an MTP and CBC coach specialist. She has also been an instructional coach and consultant for Head Start programs in Oklahoma, a parent educator, a public school teacher, an early interventionist working with children in 0-3 programs, and an Assistant Professor of Early Childhood Special Education at the University of Anchorage, Alaska. She has a Masters in Early Childhood Special Education and a Bachelors of Arts in Elementary Education. 

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