Coaching Skinny (Tips)

11/03/2021

Coaching Tip 2: 📝 'Coaching Cycle' Checkpoints Along The Way

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Coaching Tip 2: 📝
 

'Coaching Cycle' Checkpoints Along the Way
 

Dear Coach Sam,

I've started working with teachers and we have gotten off to a great start in setting goals. A trend I am seeing in my coaching work is that oftentimes we fall short with having a plan of action; where we embed various checkpoints along the way. When I say checkpoints, I mean having a way for us to see how the work is going in order to determine if we are making progress towards the goal.

What would having checkpoints along the way look like? How often would or should we have them? What process can be used to get them started?

Looking for Ideas,

Charlene


Dear Charlene,

You are definitely on to something BIG with your question! I want to start by prefacing that I see ‘coaching cycles’ as a simple cyclical set of conversations that a coach and teacher engage in over a duration of time. I want to relate the idea of ‘coaching checkpoints’ to teaching, in that it takes place over time like a unit plan. 

When coaches backwards design units with teachers, we have them think through what their students are going to learn then determine how they are going to know if they learned it. We discuss how we are going to know if they learned it, we talk about the success criteria of the learning and determine what assessments can be used to formatively and summatively assess their learning throughout the unit. 

Well, I see this as the same thing for coaches when working through a ‘coaching cycle’ with their teachers. Once the coach and teacher work through all the logistical components of the coaching partnership, they can then put important dates on the calendar. 

Start by printing out a blank calendar, where together you can ‘map out’ the work that will transpire when working towards the goal. Determine a tentative duration of the work you will engage in together (i.e., 2 weeks, 3 weeks, 4 weeks, etc). From there, add additional dates, such as dates that can be used as ‘formative assessment days’- AKA your checkpoints. These will stand for the times that you both agree to collect data or information, which will be used to inform the coaching goal’s progress. 

Embedding a few dates into your calendar ahead of time to collect data, will set the partnership up for success; allowing both parties to know when they will be able to think through what's working, determine what pivots may need to be made, and when possible adjustments can be made to the goal and strategies (if applicable). 

Pro Tips: Additional dates to calendar ahead of time in order to be proactive may include, established dates for when coaching style work will occur, predetermined days for meeting & planning, and predetermined debriefing days/times that will follow the coaching style work that takes place. 

It is also important that both parties understand that what is put on the calendar is crucial to the success of the goal, but that in some rare occasions, there may be interruptions that require adjustments to be made to the calendar.

You may even consider using a simple platform like Your Coaches Corner, which allows you to ‘start and end,’ both formal and informal coaching cycles! When you start coaching cycles in the platform, for either your educators or groups of educators, there is space for you to add a tentative duration, the focal point of the work (i.e., teacher or student focused), the preferred coaching model, and the goal. As time goes on, the platform allows the coach to add additional goals to show how it has been ‘refined or modified’ overtime. Starting a coaching cycle in the platform provides a unique place to add events, touchpoints, notes, and resources that pertain to a specific cycle! 

Using Your Coaches Corner gives you an authentic way to track and organize your coaching work!  EVERYTHING you do during coaching cycles is shown within the educator’s or group’s detail page; storing historical coaching evidence overtime.

Best of Luck,

Coach Sam


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