I am currently reading Coaching for Equity: Conversations That Change Practice by Elena Aguilar. Each chapter ends with a series of reflective questions for the reader to consider in our own equity and coaching journey, and I’ve decided to blog some of my reflections. I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments.
Chapter 5: What You Need to Know about Adult Learners
Every chapter that I read of this book makes me love it more, and response the work of Elena Aguilar even more. This chapter hits on key elements from her previous books, The Art of Coaching, The Art of Coaching Teams, and Onward. The entire chapter centers on her Mind the Gap: Identifying Learning Needs of those you teach. This is a growth mindset, or strength-based way to approach coaching. We ALL have gaps, or areas of growth, because we cannot all be good at all the things. As a coach, it’s important to identify a client’s gaps, or help them self-identify, to determine how to proceed. We often focus on gaps in skill and knowledge, but Aguilar addresses four other kinds of gaps: capacity, will, cultural competence, and emotional intelligence.
I believe it’s important to consider that many adults, many educators, have gaps in cultural competence and emotional intelligence, because these are areas in which we have never been formally taught. Any skills I’ve developed in those areas have come from my own study, my doctoral work, and my personal and professional relationships. These are not skills that came naturally, or that I just picked up over time. These are skills that I am still learning and developing as they continue to be gap areas for me.
I appreciate Aguilar’s advice in this chapter – use this tool as a coaching conversation with someone else. I plan to bring this into future coaching conversations to help others determine their future areas for growth.
Coaching for Equity Reflections Series: