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 6: How to Change Someone’s Mind
“A belief is just a strongly held opinion. A belief is not the trust- even if it feels like it is.” ~ Aguilar, page 144
This chapter was fascinating to me, as Aguilar goes into how beliefs change and under what context this is possible.
How do the ideas in this chapter help you understand how Stephanie’s beliefs changed?
What I appreciated about this chapter was: the reminder about the ladder of inference, the six conditions in which beliefs change, the focus on trust. When I wrote The Coach Adventure, my editor said something to me like, “Do you realize how many times you talk about trust throughout the book?” My response was, “Yes!” Trust is essential for any coaching relationship!
I loved Aguilar’s specific examples of how she helped a teacher examine their own beliefs in safe ways, based on the trust she had developed with them. For Stephanie, a lot of it was that she needed to encounter new information while feeling safe and keeping her core identity preserved. This is true for many educators.
What did it feel like to read the statements in the first column of Table 6.2: Possible Responses to Racist Comments? What came up for you?
This chart was hard to read. I had emotional reactions to some of the racist comments, and I had detailed memories of hearing similar comments from teachers with whom I have worked over the years. These memories made me remember the times I said nothing, the times I didn’t know how to respond, the times I tried to respond, and the times I coached into those statements. I appreciate the possible coaching stems provided, as they get the person back to their own beliefs. I also appreciated the directive statements provided that may be appropriate after a system had done extensive professional development around unlearning white supremacy and creating equitable classrooms.
Call to mind someone from your professional world who you trust. What about someone you don’t trust?
Throughout my career I have worked with some amazing teachers and leaders who I have trusted implicitly. Some of their common characteristics included being a good listener, following through in their work, being dependable, being honest, being caring and respectful, and being willing to have challenging conversations.
I have also worked with people I couldn’t trust. Some of the issues that impacted my ability to trust them included their lack of transparency, dishonesty, and an attempt to create competition instead of collaboration.
I work hard to be trustworthy. I consider myself to be a hard worker, dependable, a good listener, and an honest person. I have plenty of flaws, but I admit mistakes when I make them (or when they are pointed out to me!), and I am a lifelong learner.
I’m committing to using the possible responses from the table in this chapter when I hear racist comments. We must have these conversations to begin to dismantle systems of oppression.
Coaching for Equity Reflections Series: