Coaching Approach

02/27/2021

What's Your Coach Approach: Use Your Uniqueness To Stand Out As A Coach!

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Blog Description:

Coaches each have unique and different ways that they naturally approach helping others solve their problems and accomplish their goals! Once a coach knows what type of approach they typically rely on and use, they can take that knowledge and use it as a way to connect and help educators meet their needs. Your unique approach is what sets you apart from other coaches and is what has educators gravitating to YOU!

What's Your Coach Approach: 

Use Your Uniqueness to Stand Out as a Coach!

When thinking about the coaching approaches that are discussed in this blog, it will vary from the coaching approaches that other experts in the instructional coaching field often refer to. Jim Knight, author of Instructional Coaching : A Partnership Approach to Improving Instruction, has coaching approaches that he refers to which capture the ‘assumption’ coaches work from in regards to what educators know and are already able to do. The approaches he refers to are: the dialogical approach, a facilitative approach, and a directive approach. These specific approaches set the stage for how you interact and how you communicate with the educators you work with. Based on the educator and their level of experience, you [the coach] my weave in and out of these approaches when supporting educators. As a coach you may gravitate or aspire to live by one of these approaches most of the time, but it may vary on occasion.

For this blog we are referring to the coaching approach you take when thinking about how you are going to approach the problem or goal the educator wants to work towards. This is the type of approach you embody and use when showing up as a coach. It is who you naturally are. Thus, your approach is the way you get people to connect with you and how you get people to enjoy working with you. This approach is what makes working with you so unique, different, and special for your educators. It makes you memorable!

When a coach sits down to start a new partnership or coaching cycle with an educator, based on that educator and their unique goal, the coach will metacognitively determine the correct approach type to take. However, each of our unique personalities already has a specific type of approach that we naturally gravitate to or that we highly rely on when coaching others. 

I came across Megan Yelaney’s “What’s Your Unique Coaching Approach Quiz” on Facebook one day. I was intrigued when I saw the title because I have spent lots of time and hours trying to really dig deeper to understand who I am as a coach and how it makes working with me different from working with other coaches. I found after taking the quiz that I emboy a Mindset Approach when coaching others, but often think from a strategic approach as well (I’ll explain more about this approach later in the blog post). 

I came to realize after taking the quiz that each and every one of us [coaches] are different in how we interact and how we approach helping others solve problems and achieve their goals. Have you ever wondered why a specific educator may not want to work with you or why they may prefer to work with another coach? Have you ever spent time comparing yourself to other coaches, wondering what they have that you don’t? STOP IT! No more comparing yourself to other coaches! What I want you to understand is that everyone connects with different people for different reasons. You may naturally take a certain approach when supporting educators that may not work for what that educator is looking for when solving that problem. It isn’t about ‘who’ is better at what they do, but rather finding the coach who connects and takes an approach that meets the needs of that educator.

Think about this! We are all attracted to different people and what attracted us to our significant other, did not attract someone else. When educators are looking for a coach to support them, they are looking for their coach-soulmate (is that a term?). They are looking for who they naturally connect with, who utilizes an approach structure that embraces their personality and values. The coach also does the same thing! You [the coach] look for educators who share similar values as you, who connects with you on various levels, and who you can relate to. You are not just looking for the ideal coaching cycle partner, but rather someone who will help you grow as well. 

Now let me give you a little information about the different types of coaching approaches that Megan Yelaney shared. Let me preface, these approaches do not tell you ‘the type of coach you are’, but rather ‘the perspective you take’ when coaching.” Your unique approach is the #secretsauce of what makes working with YOU unique. 

Strategic Approach

Megan shared that a strategic coach is someone that is driven by data. Someone that is very intellectual, very smart, and driven by logic. Coaches that take the strategic approach often support educators based on research and are respected and known for this. They are strategic or are strategized with the moves they take to help educators achieve their goal. If you take this approach, when you first sit down with an educator to start discussing the problem or the goal they want to achieve, you tend to start out by asking and identifying the strategic action steps that they have already taken. One thing I learned from Megan was that you can rely heavily on a mindset approach (see below) AND within that be very strategic in the steps you take to get them there. Basically, you utilize a mindset approach, but you are very strategic in how you go about doing it. 

Mindset Approach

Now, a mindset coach (which is what I gravitate to), is someone who works to encourage mindset shifts. You approach your educator’s problems or goals by thinking about the ‘thinking that got them there.’ Rather than beginning by tossing out different strategies that can be used to solve the problem or reach the goal, you seek to help them understand the mindset that has brought them there. You are unique in that you recognize that the mindset someone holds is a key component in achieving desired results. Those that take the mindset approach desire to inspire others to shift their mindset, to be a leader, and to go after their ambitions and dreams bringing out the best versions of themselves. You dig deep to help educators uncover the thought patterns and the thinking that went into the steps taken to reach their goal. By changing their mindset or their thinking about the problem or goal, you naturally encourage change. 

Aspirational Approach

Coaches who tend to take the aspirational approach tend to use their personality to their advantage. They showcase and leverage who they are, which is what attracts educators to them. If you take an aspirational approach, you tend to inspire others through fun and entertaining methods, and tend to lead by example. Those who interact with you may see you as a crowd pleaser, who inspires others to take action. If you take the aspirational approach, you also live life to the fullest and enjoy sharing it with others. You enjoy sharing how life ‘can be’ and sharing your lifestyle. When working with educators to solve their problems and reach their goals you start by thinking about how much they embody what it is that they are trying to achieve. 

Spiritual Approach

Maybe you’re a coach who uses your inner guidance and spiritual practices to support educators. Those who rely heavily on the spiritual approach share and use their intuition, inner wisdom, and spirituality when supporting others in solving their problems and reaching their goals. If this is you, you may value self-love, forgiveness, and often start by first helping educators address their problems or goals by utilizing spiritual practices.  

When thinking about these approaches, you may see that you could possibly rely on more than one approach when working with educators. That is indeed correct! You can have overlapping tendencies of some approaches, but there is one approach that you naturally gravitate and rely on. If you’re curious about which unique coaching approach you rely on, take the “What’s Your Unique Coaching Approach Quiz” to see which approach best represents your coaching style.

Coaching Approach Tips

  1. Educators may need a different type of approach than the type of approach you use. Therefore, they may need a different coach to support them in reaching their goals or solving their problems.

  2. You can be a blend of approaches, but you have one approach that you usually navigate to in your coaching. 

  3. Your approach is the lens that which you take when coaching others.

  4. Your approach makes working with you different and unique from working with other coaches.

  5. There is no need to compare yourself to other coaches. Each educator needs a different approach or connection to help them achieve their goals and solve their problems.

More to Come Related to this Topic

Now that you know about the different ways coaches can approach their coaching or the perspective that they can take, stay tuned to learn more about how you can use your coaching approach to your advantage when crafting coaching content or coaching opportunities for educators to engage in. 

Also, stick around to learn about a strategy that you can use to identify what makes you unique and how you can use your uniqueness to connect with educators or other coaches to form ideal partnerships.  

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