Coaching: Building Relationships
As you know, I’m an instructional coach for a K-12 virtual school, and I get lots of questions on how coaching works in the online landscape. So I thought I’d take a moment to share an integral component of my back-to-school tasks with you.
The key to successful coaching is establishing trusting relationships with the teachers whom I coach. Unlike traditional school settings, I have never met the majority of the 56 teachers I am coaching this year. Therefore, it is absolutely essential to develop authentic relationships with these individuals from the get-go.
In order to do this, I decided to conduct “welcome calls” with each teacher. Yes, I could have sent out a survey in order to gather information about each individual, but I really wouldn’t have taken the time to carefully read through each response, internalize their interests and goals, or truly understand their personalities. By engaging in a verbal conversation with each teacher, I was able to gather far more information than I would have received through a survey. After all, it’s not always the answers or responses that shed light on an individual’s personality, but the tone of their voice, the pauses they take when speaking, the initial reactions to certain questions, and the laughter that ensues after a particular comment, that provides infinitely more data than the written word.
These calls allowed me to identify what excites, intimidates, and angers each teacher. I allotted about 15 minutes per call, but found so many kindred spirits with mutual interests and passions, that the calls averaged 30-45 minutes. I enjoyed every second of these conversations and can’t wait to work with these amazing teachers. I lucked out this year; all 56 teachers are deeply committed to student success and eager to enhance their crafts--an excellent representation of lifelong learners.
Here is the welcome call agenda I created and used for my conversations. Let me know if you’d like an editable version and I’ll gladly share so you can customize one for your setting.
Thanks for reading!
Never stop learning,