When you think of a "coach", what comes to mind? I think of an athletic coach. But what about coaches in context of literacy instruction or fidelity of implementation? This past week, I participated in training new implementation coaches who were recently hired to oversee schools implementing the Reading Horizons program. At the beginning of the training, we discussed the implementation coach vision by identifying characteristics of a good coach. Note how these characteristics apply to both athletic coaches and implementation coaches in educational contexts.
…gains the trust of those they work with. And if they trust you, they will listen.
Characteristics of a Good Coach
A good coach…
…takes you back to the basics. A good coach knows that the best way to learn and improve is by doing.
…knows that if you want to get better at something, it takes practice…a lot of it.
…breaks the process into steps, and then pinpoints specific areas needing work.
…focuses on proper form early on to ensure the development of good habits.
…helps you master one thing at a time.
…diligently watches over, looking for ways to suggest improvement.
…identifies individual needs and makes suggestions for change and improvement.
…provides encouragement and appropriate “pep talks” when needed to counteract discouragement.
…develops a positive rapport by taking time to communicate.
…provides feedback on performance.
…provides positive reinforcement, tells you what you’re doing well, and makes you believe you can succeed.
…celebrates successes, big or small.
…takes their work seriously and truly cares about others’ success.
Essentially, educators of all disciplines are coaches. They guide, instruct, correct, and validate. They teach, encourage, redirect, and communicate. As once quoted on CNN, "Coaching is the universal language of change and learning."