One Important Move for a Successful Coaching Program: Share Your “Why”


You’ve advocated for an instructional coaching program in your school and finally have one.

Now, instructional practices should improve and student achievement should rise, right?

We wish it were that simple!

If your teachers don’t have buy-in, a coaching program (or any other initiative imposed upon them) is bound to fail. In order to assure that the investment of time, money, and human resources for an instructional coaching program results in a positive impact on student learning, your teachers must truly engage in this challenging, yet highly-effective, type of professional learning.

A secret to inspiring teachers to open their classrooms and vulnerably reflect upon their own practices is to share your WHY.

As a school leader, you likely chose this important profession for very altruistic reasons - to impact future generations, to assist students out of poverty, to share your love of learning, or to make a difference in some child’s life. Yet in the day-to-day busy-ness of schools with literally a million things on your to-do list, discipline problems to deal with, unforeseen personnel issues that arise, and pressure about flat test scores that need to be raised, you have probably become disconnected from your purpose.

Do what you can to find it again.

Not only is connecting to your WHY important for your personal well-being and sense of mission, but also because sharing your purpose can breathe new life into your overworked and weary staff. Reminding yourself and others that the end goal is really about the greater good can help your school, district, or organization re-adjust the focus from test scores and state report cards to the real people who are your students. Sharing your WHY and encouraging your staff to reconnect with their WHY, can also motivate your teachers to willingingly hop on board with school improvement efforts.

For example, your interest in an instructional math coaching program stems from your sense of social justice to closing the achievement gap that leaves so many of our African-American and Latinx students behind their white counterparts for the rest of their lives. Tell your staff that and let them know that you want to make a difference and you are confident that you can, if everyone works together. Invite them to join this important and exciting effort.

 

“When an organization has a clear purpose, it unleashes the power and drive of the entire workforce, harnessing and focusing that combined effort in one aligned direction.” - Korn Ferry study

 

When teachers know your WHY, your passion, and your willingness to put time and resources into initiatives, they are more likely to team up with you. When you then ask teachers to re-connect to their own WHY, they are further motivated to put in the necessary efforts and to follow through because their own sense of purpose has been rejuvenated.

Sharing your WHY creates a purpose-driven environment so that efforts of improving student outcomes among staff is a matter of deep commitment. When teachers are dedicated to improving their teaching strategies for the sake of the students, your coaching program has the best chance at success. And it’s likely those flat test scores will increase as well.


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