When I think about this collaborator indicator, and read the phrase “establish trusting and respectful coaching relationships,” I reflect on the invaluable learning I gained from the DEL course EDTC 6105, which centered around peer coaching relationships. In this practice of peer coaching, we first learned about the many roles coaches assume throughout the peer coaching process. Learning these coaching roles and how best to navigate between them, proved to be essential for effectively supporting teachers. One of the coaching roles that I grew in the most as a peer coach during my peer coaching partnership was the role of catalyst. When assuming the role of catalyst, peer coaches support teachers in improving their practice through reflection and the utilization of questioning strategies. Through the use of effective questioning strategies, I was able to support my coaching partner in developing improvements to their existing lesson and designing engaging, critical-thinking tasks for students to grow in communication and collaboration. What I learned through this peer coaching experience was that the success of this coaching partnership and lesson improvements would not have been possible without putting in the time and effort to establish trust and respect. In the initial meeting I had with my coaching partner, I practiced paraphrasing and active listening to meet my coaching partner where they were at. Over the course of several coaching conversations, I was able to establish the trust and respect from my coaching partner that is essential for educators to take risks in exploring new instructional strategies. You can read more about this project and my journey in peer coaching in my blog post, Peer Coaching – A Community Engagement Project.
“Discomfort can be the precipice to big learning: It’s hard to take a close look at our behaviors, beliefs, and ways of being. Stand with your client, indicate that it’s OK to look, communicate your confidence that they can see what is there, and trust in the coaching process.”
– Elena Aguilar, Coaching for Equity: Conversations that Change Practice (p. 220)
When working to establish trusting and respectful relationships with coaching partners, it is important for coaches to model vulnerability. During my research and practice, I have grown in my understanding that vulnerability is the foundation for open, non-judgmental communication. Through small, consistent steps by coaches to model vulnerability, communication and collaboration with coaching partners can be enhanced. In my blog post, Leading with Vulnerability: The Pathway to Strengthen Communication & Collaboration in Coaching Relationships, I share strategies on how coaches can model vulnerability to strengthen communication and collaboration in coaching relationships. As coaches, we ask our coaching partners to take risks, explore new strategies, and think critically as they are engaging in the coaching process. At times, coaching conversations can also become difficult or uncomfortable, and it is necessary for peer coaches to model vulnerability by learning into these difficult conversations with their coaching partners. In my research to learn more about vulnerability, trust, and respect in coaching relationships, Elena Aguilar’s book Coaching for Equity: Conversations that Change Practice was a valuable resource and one that I would recommend to every coach and leader.
Aguilar, E. (2020). Coaching for equity: Conversations that change practice (First ed.). Hoboken, NJ: Jossey-Bass.
ISTE Standards for Coaches (2019). Retrieved from: https://www.iste.org/standards/for-coaches