Professional Development and Coaching Toolkit
A Coaching Vision
Social leaders are usually those who present themselves as a society has indicated some need for change, these leaders are the ones who have learned the relevant skill sets and stories needed to convey by analogy the utility of social change. A transformational coaching opportunity is that in which a community has expressed a need and sought a solution, transformational coaching skills are the ones needed to effect the needed changes that the client population is seeking by establishing effective learning relationships with all stakeholders in a client population. In order to be one of the leaders who create effective transformational change, a resolute self-awareness based on effective core values must be created, and an awareness of the values of the receiving audience must also be maintained throughout the experience.
Aguilar (2013), creates a system for well understanding coaching relationships with clients that can adapt to the needs of each individual client through an appropriate understanding of the audience and the specific needs of each stakeholder in a community of educators. Beyond that, effective coaches have established a larger worldview and vision for the outcomes of effective education, a system of beliefs which can be arrived at through the development of a personal portfolio of coaching experiences and outcomes. For this encompassing system of values I looked to the United Nations. The United Nations has adopted an awareness that equal access to fair and quality education is a foundation for sustainable development in the global economy, and an inalienable human right for global citizens (UNSDN, 2014).
My statement reads:
"I strive to promote free quality education in a way that is mutually benevolent to all learners, in a way that is representative of equality and social justice, while promoting social welfare and civic engagement. I seek to provide educators with the means to collaborate and to lead the teaching profession, and to be self-empowered; this is in a way that maintains the highest quality, efficiency, accuracy, and equality for all citizens worldwide. I provide education without biases, is inclusive of all stakeholders, and is provided as a fundamental human right in the global milieu.".
This statement is an example, and is at the heart of a system of beliefs and analogies that I can represent through the process of transformational coaching, which allows me to share the message of equality and social justice through fair and effective teaching.
Coaching begins with a rapid self-assessment of core values, this is in order for the coach to be able to understand her or his worldview and unique perspective when addressing the coaching scenario. A worksheet is available which can help rapidly identify core values for the purpose of reflecting on the most pertinent needs that an individual educator might have that can be met through the process of social change. Educators should take a moment to identify the top ten values presented and analyze the impact that these values have on any coaching scenario by writing a brief statement from each related to coaching.
Core Values Worksheet (Aguilar, 2013).
An example of the core values exercise is provided in this at-a-glance resource:
Fig 1. Core Values Infographic (Hixson, 2016a).
In any kind of helping relationship the rapid establishment of positive rapport and a working trust relationship with clients is essential. In crisis intervention the rapid establishment of rapport in the helping relationship comes from authenticity, genuineness, and a willingness to understand the entire situation in order to create a plan for meeting the needs that the crisis situation creates; this plan can include existing skills presented by clients and always includes a rapid assessment of the situation and immediate needs (Roberts & Yeager, 2009). Coaching situations in academic settings follow the same analogy, and a rapid establishment of a trusting and communicating relationship with clients is needed first. An approach to the mutual needs that the coaches and the stakeholders have is one of the first tasks in a coaching scenario, and maintenance and building of a trusting relationship over time within the audience of stakeholders is a consistent part of the coaching process. Aguilar (2013), establishes several ways to identify skills and activities which will benefit the client as the coach assesses the situation, and explores evidence and data that exists in the coaching environment as opening steps.
One of the things that a coach needs to know in terms of skill sets, is to be flexible in terms of perceptions and in terms of the cognitive schemas which influence the organizational changes being sought in the coaching relationship. Throughout the Aguilar (2013) text, the author refers to shifting perceptive schemas, whether from the approaches between facilitative and directive activities mentioned later in this writing, or in the context of frameworks that facilitate the understanding of the problems which the client organization seeks to solve. Aguilar (2013), presents an innovative way of mentally representing the dynamics in the change process referred to as lenses, and in this system a composite of three of these frameworks is represented in each case plan. It should be mentioned that coaching is not the same kind of casework as counseling, but it is a helping relationship designed to operationalize the process of social change within a learning organization, in order to achieve optimal learning outcomes for professionals as well as for students.
The lens of systemic oppression.
Perceiving social change processes through the lens of systemic oppression assumes that clients in the organizational context are striving to overcome a systemic problem that is analogous to the sociological framework referred to as feminism. Feminism is best understood as a sociological framework for understanding the systemic pressures that exist and inhibit success among working women in the United States culture (Taylor & Jasinski, 2011). Feminism as a framework is a good example of the application of the lens of systemic oppression.
The lens of adult learning.
The lens of adult framework is applied when it is known that client in a coaching scenario present existing skill sets and bring previous experience to the table in the context of solving the organizational problems presented by the coaching scenario. The best analogy for the lens of adult learning is the assessment of existing skills which a coach must do as a part of exploring the solution to the coaching scenario. In terms of crisis intervention techniques an adult learning approach is taken in order to rapidly assess the clients' existing skills for meeting the needs of the situation (Roberts & Yeager, 2009). In the context of coaching this perception also assumes that clients are intrinsically motivated and eager to meet the demands of the situation.
The lens of change management.
The lens of change management assumes that the status quo within the context of a coaching scenario presents some comfort but that the client population is aware that change is needed and has recruited the means of a helping relationship in order to manage change. Change is catalyzed by the evolving pressures that exist between overlapping needs in a coaching situation, and change management is meant to identify the needs of all stakeholders and facilitate the process of mutually benevolent change by managing the needs of stakeholders and facilitating the change process through catharsis or through catalystic change that enables stakeholders to create solutions toward meeting the mutually conflicting needs in an organizational environment.
The lens of systems thinking.
Systems thinking is a way of building a continually more complex image of a social change situation by considering all dynamics in a situation and incorporating the effect of all stakeholders as potential influences in the scenario. By using this lens, change leaders begin to understand the reciprocal influences between all stakeholders as a system, and the framework is created in order to understand inputs from all possible groups in the context of a systemic view. In this way the process of change is operationalized as a whole-thing or a Gestalt, and the lens contributes to the understanding of the roles of all stakeholders as a part of the larger community. A great example of systems thinking for social change is available as a text (Stroh, 2015).
The lens of emotional intelligence.
Intelligence can be viewed from multiple schemas, in one system intelligence is viewed as the ability to be harmonious within an existing ecology and contribute to the success of the larger ecosystem through a benevolent relationship within the system (Goleman, 2009). The lens of emotional intelligence assumes clients are capable of understanding the emotional investment which exists in a change scenario and are capable of effecting change through emotional catharsis or catalyst as feelings associated with problems in the context of social change are processed and become cognitively available to clients.
The lens of inquiry.
The lens of inquiry assumes that clients in a change scenario are willing to commit cognitive resources toward the resolution of a change process, and are able to independently acquire the data needed to understand the change process as a part of facilitating inquiry and understanding. Change through inquiry is well recognized in academics as a motivating factor, and communities of inquiry learning is cited as an optimal system for the development of a cognitively and epistemically engaged community process for learning (Shea & Bidjerano, 2009; 2010).
Considerations to Investigate Before Accepting a Coaching Position
This first template which was created for the foregoing toolkit presented is one which enables the educator to identify the relevant information to begin building a case file for coaching. The frameworks for understanding the clients’ needs are filled out and some initial first steps are created in terms of solidifying the initial mutually held, and clearly stated, expectations for the outcomes of coaching. Filling out this template allows the coach to begin the casework that is needed to move into the exploration phase of coaching. The exploration phase of coaching involves collecting all available data about the clients’ needs and the intended outcomes in the scenario that are first established when entering the coaching scenario (Aguilar, 2013).
Seven Standards of Professional Development (Learningforward.org, n.d.).
(Clicking the images in this document opens the associated template files)
(The author suggests using the download button to store the complete file)
Fig 1. Coaching Plan Template (Hixson, 2016b).
Aguilar (2013), establishes three characteristic frameworks for approaching clients in a coaching relationship. The reader is encouraged to explore the Aguilar (2013) text, as the text cites many examples from coaching experience that help the coach determine the best way to approach a coaching scenario. Remember that by and large, coaching clients are seeking to solve a problem in a scenario where conflicting mutual needs may exist between stakeholders, these three frameworks help to establish the approach to conflicts which may exist in the workspace and the mental framework which a coach can employ depending on the needs of the client. Mayer (2012), establishes a functional framework for understanding the dynamic needs present between groups in social space, which can also help in terms of approaching and engaging problem solving skills in communities where the needs of stakeholders may overlap.
There are two distinct coaching skill sets, and tip sheets for employing the skill sets which follow, the related skills are well described in the text about each skill (Aguilar, 2013). Facilitative coaching helps to guide stakeholders in terms of mobilizing existing resources toward discovering the solution to problems presented in the coaching scenario, the goal of the coach is to facilitate change within the organization as stakeholders become aware of the need for change. Directive coaching is a more prescriptive form of coaching which applies most when stakeholders do not wish to commit a large amount of internal resources to solving a problem, if solutions to the same problem had already been presented to other educators, clients may wish to be prescribed a solution in a way that directs change. Tip sheets for holding conversations in each style follow:
Fig 2. Facilitative Coaching Tip Sheet (Hixson, 2016c).
Fig 3. Directive Coaching Tip Sheet (Hixson, 2016c).
Lastly, transformational coaching seeks to develop the internal skills of each organization to effect long-term change that is implemented by the client agency or institution. The goal of the Aguilar (2013) text, is to catalyze long lasting social change that develops education as a system in a way that promotes equality and increases quality and positive outcomes for all stakeholders in the community. The goal of transformational coaching is to leave the client agency having been transformed in a way that meets the goals of the client agency through implementation and development that is communally agreed upon in collaboration with all stakeholders. Finally, the author wishes to express the need future coaches may have in addition to this guide, to acquire a version of the Aguilar (2013) text, in order to fully understand the skills within the skill sets described in these tips.
The Work Plan
The following template is provided for the development of inservice training and learning activity for groups within the larger coaching scenario. The template provides a means for developing individual learning activities and aligning them to content standards, the standard for the coaching scenario, and the coach's vision statement.
Fig 4. Work Plan Template (Hixson, 2016d).
This section describes resources for academic coaches to be aware of and to utilize throughout coaching development.
AGUILAR, E. (2013). The art of coaching: Effective
strategies for school transformation.
San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.
Aguilar presents a definition of coaching in an education setting which is dedicated toward
transformative leadership and engagement for education administrators and teachers within a
given coaching scenario. Agular successfully describes the nature of coaching relationships as
they exist between transformative coaches and administrators in a public school setting, citing
examples from experience in the field.
GOODWIN, B. & HUBBELL, E. (2013). The 12
touchstones of good teaching: A checklist for staying
focused every day. Denver, CO: McREL.
The checklist format for teachers also presents an accurate formula and technique for teaching class to a mutually agreed upon standard. The text formalizes the process of breaking down agreed upon education standards and presenting them to students through the use of rubrics for grading that are objective and are not influenced by factors other than the academic performance of the student, according to clearly defined mutual expectations. The checklist objectifies the teaching process in a way that is more accurately operationalized for accountability measures.
LOEB, P. R. (2010). Soul of a citizen: Living with
conviction in challenging times (2nd ed.). New York,
NY: St. Martin’s Press.
A system for understanding processes of social change and social action are presented in the work, which details a concept referred to as social capital, which becomes a shared resource among social groups and represents the potential for social change. The work is written from a voice of experience in the area of social change and contains many examples of successful social change innovations throughout the course of the material.
MAYER, B. (2012). The dynamics of conflict: A guide to
engagement and intervention (2nd ed). San Francisco,
In this work all interpersonal conflict is operationalized according to a series of conflicting mutual needs that can be represented in each type of conflict. Conflict resolution then becomes a series of strategies for resolving the dialectics present in the dynamics presented as mutually conflicting needs in social groups.
PRANIS, K. (2005). The little book of circle processes: A
new/old approach to peacemaking. Intercourse, PA:
In handbook format Pranis describes a system for regulating group processing and intragroup conflict mediation in order to facilitate group discussion. The text contains best practices for forming discussion talking circles based on traditional methods for peacemaking. The less than 100 page text accurately describes a set of microskills and techniques for managing group discussion processes.
ROBERTS, A. & YEAGER, K. (2009). Pocket guide to
crisis intervention. New York, NY: Oxford University
This work is a handbook that details a number of essential microskills for counseling and crisis intervention, the handbook discusses approaches that individuals can take to successfully assess a crisis and rapidly establish rapport with individuals dealing with difficult circumstances. The work is concise and ideal for understanding communication with individuals in a variety of stressful or critical conditions.
SHEA, P. & BIDJERANO, T. (2009). Community of
inquiry as a theoretical framework to foster “epistemic
engagement” and “cognitive presence” in online
education. Computers & Education, 52, 543-553.
In the introductory article the authors present the thesis that online learning environments function as self-regulating communities of inquiry, which then foster epistemic engagement as described by the authors’ synthesis of research.
SHEA, P. & BIDJERANO, T. (2010). Learning presence:
Towards a theory of self-efficacy, self-regulation, and
the development of a communities of inquiry in online
and blended learning environments. Computers &
Education, 55, 1721-1731.
In continuing research the authors include blended learning formats on instruction in the communities of inquiry classroom instruction model, and further develop the idea of community epistemic engagement.
WIGGINS, G. & MCTIGHE, J. (2005). Understanding by
design. Alexandria, VA: ASCD.
Understanding by design represents a system for developing lesson plans and classroom materials that have been developed by professional educator Grant Wiggins in order to better facilitate effective classroom instruction. The text contains templates and best practices for the design of instructional activities. The system described increases accountability in instruction by ensuring that coursework is developed toward a unified standard that is agreed upon by the education community. The series of templates created improves an instructor’s ability to clearly meet mutually defined standards for the learning which occurs in the classroom system presented.
ZINKER, J. (1977). Creative process in Gestalt therapy.
New York, NY: Vintage.
In the popularized version of Joseph Zinker’s epistemology for human experience, he presents learning as a process of human metabolism that brings together simultaneously the need for knowledge and the experience which meets the human need. Zinker also describes the meta-cognitive process of analogy and creativity in the theory of human experience and motivation which presumes that human beings consistently flux between not objectively knowing, learning, and then resolving what is known; which is a cyclical human experience termed the Gestalt cycle of experience.
AGUILAR, E. (2013). The art of coaching: Effective strategies for school
transformation. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.
Goleman, D. (2009). Ecological intelligence. New York, NY: Broadway.
Hixson, S. (2016a). Core values infographic. [Course deliverable for course OTL-
515]. School of Education, Colorado State University Global Campus
Hixson, S. (2016b). Coaching plan template. [Course deliverable for course OTL-
515]. School of Education, Colorado State University Global Campus
Hixson, S. (2016c). Coaching conversations. [Course deliverable for course OTL-
515]. School of Education, Colorado State University Global Campus
Hixson, S. (2016d). Work plan template. [Course deliverable for course OTL-
515]. School of Education, Colorado State University Global Campus
Learningforward.org. (n.d.). Standards reference guide. Retrieved July 24, 2016 from: https://learningforward.org/docs/pdf/standardsreferenceguide.pdf?sfvrsn=0
ROBERTS, A. & YEAGER, K. (2009). Pocket guide to crisis intervention. New York, NY:
Oxford University Press.
Stroh, D. P. (2015). Systems thinking for social change: A practical guide to
solving complex problems, avoiding unintended consequences, and achieving
lasting results. White River Junction, VT: Chelsea Green.
Taylor, R., & Jasinski, J. L. (2011). Femicide and the feminist perspective.
Homicide Studies, 15(4), 341-362.
UNSDN. (2014, September 25). UN officials call for ensuring 'fundamental human
right' to quality education. [Web Log]. Retrieved July 24, 2016