My coaching platform is based on my belief that positive changes are possible when people work together to achieve a common goal. As a coach, I will help teachers reach their goals by building on their strengths and keeping them accountable for taking steps towards their success. I believe that supporting people who are committed to their own growth will contribute to the greater good within our organizations and communities.
I am one of those fortunate people who found their professional calling, and mine is Early Childhood Education. I strongly believe that working with children is one of the most important and fulfilling jobs in the world. I have reached a point in my career where my practice is more and more devoted to mentorship and working with adults. I am in the process of creating my own “coaching toolbox” that will help me guide others through the process of positive, impactful change.
This change is often a result of an interplay between acquiring new skills, applying them in practice, reflecting on results, and adjusting course. It takes time and commitment on the teacher’s part to continually grow, personally and professionally. It also takes courage to start something new in the field that is heavily regulated and to try new approaches when the results can affect relationships with children, families, and co-workers. Because of that, supporting teachers through the process of change is crucial for the achievement of our collective dreams and hopes, for creating positive, supportive, inclusive environments, and for providing quality care and exciting learning opportunities for our youngest learners.
Personal and Professional Values and Beliefs
My coaching platform is rooted in my sense of optimism, positive thinking, and my belief that most human beings are intrinsically good. I recognize that every person has a need to be accepted and valued for who they are, that we all have our stories, and that we connect with others when we feel that our stories have been heard. I value different perspectives because they paint a richer picture of reality, viewed from multiple angles. I believe that bringing people’s individual strengths, hopes, and aspirations creates a powerful force — where the whole is bigger than the sum of its parts — and it can transform families, workplaces, and communities.
I am excited to use Appreciative Inquiry (AI) as a general framework for inspiring and supporting positive change based on strengths of individuals and cooperative efforts within teams. Appreciative Inquiry in its heart is looking into the desirable future; it focuses on what is possible and builds upon success stories of the past and practices that work. The philosophical principles of AI help us understand the importance of stories we tell, the power of words, and the effect of focusing our attention on what we want to grow. They also make us aware that the change often begins with a meaningful question, and that giving people freedom to be positive and engaged inspires them to be their best and do their best. Using a 4D cycle, we can see how the inquiry works starting from an Affirmative Topic, and followed by the process of collective Discovery, Dream, Design, and Destiny. The beauty of this process is that it is universal, can be scaled up or down and applied to various organizations, teams, individuals, and even specific goals.
Coaching Tools and Techniques for the 4D cycle
My focus will be on building relationships with the teachers, earning their trust and creating safe spaces for honest conversations. I will fully engage in the process of listening, with an open mind, to create a human, emotional connection. I will ask them about their goals, hopes, and dreams and use reflective questions that will help us uncover the deeper motivations and highlight possible roadblocks to reaching their goals. I will use positive questions that will help teachers envision their desirable future. I plan to use Appreciative Interview as a tool to collect information about past successes and positive self-reflection. This tool will be useful during the Discover stage of AI.
Brainstorming is a tried and true method for generating ideas where imagination flows freely, and new connections appear between ideas that hasn’t been connected before. Letting go of the limitations of reality allows for a more daring vision to emerge. I will use brainstorming together with the Appreciative Interview during the Dream stage of AI.
Design stage allows us to distill all new and wonderful ideas into a concrete plan and help us answer the question “How does it look?” If focusing on reality brings about negative vibes, I will use “the flip” to co-join our attention on the positive and on the possible. At this stage, setting SMART goals will help us translate a vision into manageable, measurable, achievable tasks. Gradual yet steady progression is often achieved in small steps.
Destiny is the process of implementation, and for it to be successful, teachers need to be accountable for applying their ideas into practice. At this stage, check-ins and follow-ups, as well as celebrating their successes will help keep people on track.
… And then the cycle starts again, when we discover the positive effects of the latest change and build upon the momentum of individual and collective growth.
Appreciative Inquiry in a one-on-one coaching will focus on individual’s strengths, dispositions, skills, abilities, good intentions, and past successes (positive core). I will use the Lenses of Empathy and Inclusion during the interview and my own self-reflection as a coach.
My Personal Commitment to Growth
I will use the strategies of transformational leadership and strive to demonstrate integrity and consistency in my coaching role. I am committed to studying coaching techniques that will ultimately help teachers uncover their potential for the benefit of children, their families, and teachers themselves. I am excited to dive deeper and use my coaching toolbox in my daily practice.
This Coaching Strategy was developed based on Susan MacDonald’s course Strength-Based Coaching to Support Professional Growth