On the Path to Connected Coaching – Surprising Lessons Along the Way

In our final week of our @Plpnetwork Connected Coaching course, our task is to: 

“In an online space of your choosing, reflect transparently on your connected coaching journey.” [Think I’m loving this assignment already? Oh ya!]  What surprised you? What, if anything, has most significantly influenced your thinking around Connected Coaching?  In what ways do you envision moving forward? 

I began this course right in the throws of retirement celebrations and packing up my classroom for the last and final time. No huge emotions and no regrets – after 5 years putting it off, I felt ready and eager to begin a new journey that would take me to new lands where I could see a multitude of new vistas from new plateaus. I’ve lived so many different lives in my lifetime that this transition would just be another one — and one made so much easier by having learned that I would need to build myself a bridge.

This course, Connected Coaching, was the bridge I chose to carry me from teaching, learning, and interacting with hundreds of typical kids on a daily basis — to teaching, learning, and interacting with hundreds of typical teachers on a daily basis.

I chose well!   (see Course Reflections when I post it)

But on my path to try to learn how to become an effective and “artful” connected coach, I discovered a few unexpected lessons along the way. As usual, each one has led me on a side-trip of further questioning and reflections.  Each one needs to become a separate blog post, but for now, I’ve added the questions these lessons have brought to my mind, my own personal “wonderings”…

1.  Building bridges can be a key to supporting successful learning and transition.
 How can we use bridges to help support those who are trying to shift their teaching practice to improve their students’ learning in their classrooms?

2.  The beauty and power of appreciative inquiry in PLP’s Connected Coaching model is that it identifies, supports, and builds upon an individual’s strengths and capacities. How do we find the time and energy to do this effectively when it appears to a lot of people to be so much faster and easier to simply tell them what to do and how to do it? How do we slow down and do this in a such fast-paced result-oriented world with both our students and our teachers?  How do we become comfortable and accepting of the slower pace and greater depth it often requires, and share this comfort with others?

3.  There is a real value in stating the obvious and/or rephrasing the already-stated from your own perspective. Obvious to you, but amazing to others“. How do we encourage and evoke the ideas and thoughts of colleagues and students who are quiet and reflective and who say very little, but who have so much to contribute to others?

4.  A teacher’s learning curve in mastering new Technologies, new teaching Pedagogies, And subject Content and Knowledge, can be a very steep one, and taking authentic ownership for one’s own journey of learning in doing that can be a very daunting challenge. In the same way that we try to help our students, how do we help teachers to become confident learners again, to unlearn old habits of past, overcome personal fears and resistance, and take on this challenge – all in a time of constant innovation and change? How do we support teachers in taking this important step, and help them to discover the incredible empowerment that results?

5.  In order to be of any effective coaching help to others in their journey working with students, a coach needs to be able to meet his or her own needs behind the scenes.
How do we continue to coach effectively when personal issues arise that demand our attention and detract from our work?

 6.  True learning requires reflection, and true reflection takes a lot of time How do we create the time and space in such a fast-paced world for reflection and learning — for both others and for ourselves? How do we help build tolerance for confusion and frustration, comfort with silence, and patience with the amount of time it takes for genuine learning and successful change to occur?

I’ve really only just begun to explore these answers!  I wonder what teaching will even look like when we look back at these questions 10 or 20 or even 30 years from now?

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About Cathy Beach

Recently retired elementary teacher and outdoor educator in rural Ontario, Canada. My Olympic Journeys may be over, but they lead me into some very exciting adventures with teachers and kids and the world of connected learning...
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3 Responses to On the Path to Connected Coaching – Surprising Lessons Along the Way

  1. Lani says:

    Cathy,
    Such grand questions — ones that portend a vast learning landscape–
    I’m so glad that you chose the Connected Coaching eCourse as bridge to the next leg of your life’s journey and that you have found it of value.
    Of the lessons you’ve listed, there’s one that absolutely tops my list and I’m guessing you know which one. I’m wondering if one of these has been more impactful for you than another?
    Looking forward to continued reading as your think more on your questions that will lead to even deeper, more profound considerations,
    Lani

  2. lnitsche says:

    Cathy,
    I, too, began this course in the middle of cleaning out 38 years of collected materials to begin my retirement. I just love the bridge metaphor you shared, for connecting your past life experiences to the next adventure on your life journey. I feel like a kindred soul. I was the one who, while tempted several times along the way, waited to take this course this summer as a next step in my own learning and growth.
    Your questions highlight so clearly, your talent and skill in being a reflective learner and hopes of exploring and discovering ways for others to imagine the possibilities! I so look forward to continued conversations and deep thinking about your questions.
    Linda

  3. Fiona Turner says:

    Cathy,
    You’ve taken some time to reflect on the impact of the connected Coaching course. This reflection has provided you with questions that have the potential to take your learning both wide and deep.
    Thanks for your offerings. I too love the bridge metaphor.
    I think this course has provided most of us with a bridge into new learning.
    Good luck with your new direction you are well-armed to take the journey. I’m glad you took soem of it with us!
    Fiona

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