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 12: Creating New Practices & Conclusion: Towards Liberty and Justice for All
Creating New Practices is the fourth and final phase of Transformational Coaching that Aguilar created. This chapter’s story continues to tell the story of Aguilar’s experiences coaching Khai, and the progress they made as they moved into this phase of coaching. This was a beautifully moving story about the positive impacts coaching for equity can have on a teacher.
As a teacher, what did you find easy and challenging about building relationships with students’ parents/caregivers? If you could go back again and start over as a teacher, what would you do differently to build relationships with parents/caregivers?
During this chapter Khai has a meeting with a student’s mother that starts off confrontational and travels through a range of emotions before they are speaking the same language (with love for the child). As a new teacher, I remember making phone calls home to discuss negative student behavior and not much else. I was a middle school teacher and I know I didn’t even consider the parents as my partners in educating children. Throughout my career, I learned more about the value of making positive phone calls home, making home visits, and communicating more frequently with parents. It probably wasn’t until I was an elementary principal that I truly realized how important and necessary it was for educators to partner with parents. There is so much I would do differently if I was to start my first year all over again!
How do you evaluate your impact on the people you coach? How do you capture their growth?
I love this question! This is one of my weaknesses – making sure I am setting measurable goals, gathering data, and evaluating impact. Over time, I receive a lot of qualitative data about my coaching, from unsolicited feedback to thank you notes from people. I also have seen tangible growth in people as we’ve worked on specific skills or ideas together. But I don’t think I’m consistent at this, nor at asking for feedback. This is a goal I have moving forward.
One of the to do items at the end of this chapter is to write a letter to yourself 10 years in the future from someone you coach. I am going to do this (privately!) for myself. The goal is to reflect on what actions I can take to make what I write in the letter a realistic outcome. This reminds me of the first assignment I had in my doctoral program. We were told to write a letter to the professor, as if it was already the end of the semester, thanking him for our A. Then we had to outline what we had done to earn our A. It was such a growth mindset approach- set goals and then make them happen!
In the conclusion of this book Aguilar reviews the Principles of Transformational Coaching that were mentioned at the end of each chapter:
At the end of reading this phenomenal professional resource, I am left with compassion for my first-year teacher self, and for all of us as we struggle through challenging times. I am curious about what I still don’t know and how I can coach for equity and support others on this journey. I feel a connection to the people around me, as I seek to know them better. I remind myself to be courageous, as equity work is never easy. But, as Glennon Doyle says, “We can do hard things.” My purpose never changes – I know my why and I am driven to always work on behalf of what is right for students, staff, and our society.
Coaching for Equity Reflections Series: